1985 Bears Coverage: Rowdy Bears fans penalized

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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.

Rowdy Bears fans penalized

Michael Gillis

Originally published Nov. 30, 1985

About 60 rowdy Chicago Bears fans bound for a weekend in Miami were penalized for illegal procedure at O’Hare Airport last night when they refused to settle down as their plane prepared to take off.

United Airlines canceled Flight 976 to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which was supposed to depart at 7:55 p.m.

“A number of them were disorderly, loud and very uncooperative,” said Tom Germuska, a United spokesman.

“They simply would not stay in their seats or settle down.”

The Bears play the Miami Dolphins in the Orange Bowl Monday night.

After repeated attempts to pacify the fans, the flight crew threw a penalty flag on their play, called Chicago police and sent all 147 passengers to the locker rooms.

A substitute flight departed at 9:10, but 48 passengers from the original flight didn’t make the cut.

Germuska said he wasn’t sure whether the 48 were ejected from the game by police or simply couldn’t find the new plane, which left from a different gate.

“I’m told they had been drinking,” he said.

Police made three arrests in the boarding area after the passengers got off the plane.

One officer said Bears fans have become a problem at O’Hare recently, especially after the game at Dallas Nov. 17. Police met a planeload of rowdy fans returning from that game and made 15 arrests.

The fans last night apparently had booked their flight through the same travel agency, and a lot of them knew one another, Germuska said.

He said he’s sure this has happened before, “But I wouldn’t say it’s a daily occurrence.”

“Generally, when passengers on a flight are rowdy, the pilot just asks them to quiet down and they cooperate,” he said. “This time, they didn’t cooperate.”

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