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1985 Bears Coverage: Mayor can taste a Bears victory

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.

Mayor can taste a Bears victory

Ernest Tucker

Originally published Jan. 1, 1986

Mayor Washington is betting a Taste of Chicago meal on the Bears, but New York Mayor Edward I. Koch has yet to name his bet on the Giants for Sunday’s playoff game in Soldier Field.

While the mayors are free to gamble, Police Supt. Fred Rice has nixed all such action by his troops, including taking a “friendly wager” from the East Rutherford, N.J., police, who offered to bet 28 baseball caps and T-shirts on behalf of the home city of Giants Stadium.

Both Washington and Koch have agreed to their wager, but Koch hasn’t laid down his terms yet, Washington spokesman Alton Miller said.

“It’s gotten so they’re importing everything from us anyway,” said Miller. “It is so completely unlikely that we will have to deliver, it becomes important what they are going to send us.”

Washington’s last public sporting gesture was his Nov. 17 bet when the Bears mauled the Cowboys and he collected a $300 Resistol cowboy hat from Dallas Mayor A. Starke Taylor. The mayor’s Taste of Chicago part of the wager remained safely in Chicago kitchens.

As for Rice’s order, Miller said, “Supt. Rice is a consummate philospher. We would not second guess him; he must have his reasons.”

The topic quickly turned to oddsmaking, and Miller said, “The mayor is representing the spirit of Chicago in assuring the mayor of New York that his football team will be successful.”

Explaining Rice’s directive, spokeswoman Janice Redmond said, “We enforce gambling laws.”

Redmond denied that there’s any contradiction between Rice’s position and the mayor’s, and police Lt. Jack Seamans confirmed that the bet is off. “We’ve been told to drop it,” he said.

However, Detective Mike Burke, a member of the East Rutherford force, said, “As far as we know, it’s on.” Six East Rutherford officers are hoping to fly here this weekend to deliver the winnings or collect the booty: caps and T-shirts with Chicago police insignia.

The department emphasized the innocence of its gambling.

“It started last week, when the East Rutherford and Foxboro, Mass., home of the New England Patriots police bet. We thought we’d extend the courtesy to Chicago,” Detective Ken Felten said. The Pats beat the Jets, and now the Jersey cops have to fly some caps up to Massachusetts.

Undaunted, they tried to place a bet with San Francisco, the Giants’ first playoff foe, but couldn’t. They would have won that one, so their only chance to get even was to bet on the Bears game.

“Chicago’s more like our type,” said Felten.

Don’t bet on it.