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1985 Bears Coverage: Deliverance, Refrigerator-style

Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Deliverance, Refrigerator-style

Brian Hewitt

Originally published Nov. 18, 1985

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. But in the case of William “Refrigerator” Perry that’s the way the rookie rumbles.

Perry was uproariously guilty of illegal use of the hands on third-and-goal from the Cowboy 2 late in the third period. The Bears had inserted Perry in the backfield to block for Walter Payton.

He buried the first Cowboy defender who was in his way. But when other Cowboys stacked Payton up at the line of scrimmage, the 308-pound Perry took matters into his own massive hands by hoisting Payton and attempting to throw him across the goal-line.

“I was trying to pull some of those people off him,” Perry insisted. “When I got to Walter, I wanted to help him, too.”

When he got back to the sideline, his teammates explained the problem. “They told me I couldn’t do that,” he said.

The penalty pushed the Bears back to the 12-yard line, and they eventually had to settle for a Kevin Butler field goal.

“I’m sure I’ve been carried into the end zone before,” said Payton. “But never by anyone of Perry’s stature. I didn’t even know it was him. He said he was kind of trying to keep the defensive players off of me. I appreciate that.”

Bear personnel director Bill Tobin appreciates Perry, period. “He may be the strongest player between the hips and the knees who ever played the game,” Tobin said.

“I guess William just figures he can carry the ball or the ball carrier into the end zone,” said center Jay Hilgenberg. “It shows the determination he has.”

“I thought it was extra effort,” Bear coach Mike Ditka said wryly.

Perry finished with one carry for one yard, no receptions, no touchdowns and only one tackle. But that didn’t keep away reporters.

“I’m just having fun,” said Perry reiterating the stock line that sums up the bizarre chain of events that transformed him from a struggling rookie into a national celebrity. “I was in the quarterback’s face a majority of the game.”