Chicago never really stopped celebrating the Super Bowl XX champions.
Tuesday night, 30 years to the day after the Bears’ 46-10 victory against the Patriots, the players toasted their iconic win yet again.
They arrived to the party as though they were headed to a game, stepping off shuttle buses in the Soldier Field parking lot. Otis Wilson barked like a dog, the way he did 30 years ago. Steve McMichael spoke with the gusto of a professional wrestler. William “Refrigerator” Perry smiled easily, and Jim McMahon joked.
Some of the Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew actually shuffle now. In other ways, though, the Super Bowl victory doesn’t seem 30 years old.
Asked when the city might stop memorializing the victory, McMahon was blunt.
“Probably,” the former quarterback said, “not until they win again.”
Until then, Bears fans — and their former players — are left with nostalgia. About 40 players were in attendance Tuesday night at the Soldier Field party organized by former linebacker Jim Morrissey and liquor company RumChata. Notably absent, of course, was Ron Rivera, whose Panthers are preparing for the Super Bowl. The head coach was expected to call in to say hello.
“This is really the first chance I’ve had a chance to come back,” former linebacker Mike Singletary said. “I can’t wait to see the other guys I haven’t seen.”
Many last saw each other when they visited the White House as a team in 2011.
“The public remembers the ‘Super Bowl Shuffle’ and the shenanigans, but I remember the family in the backyard at the picnic,” McMichael said. “We’re family, man.
“You know, when a team wins like that, you become a family. And you know how you are with your family — you might fight in the backyard at the picnic for the last beer. But nobody else better mess with your family, right?”
Players were most excited to mingle with Perry, who was sent to the hospital to treat diabetes after attending the Bears’ season finale.
“I just want to talk to ‘Fridge,’” Wilson said. “Make sure he’s O.K.”
Perry said Tuesday his health was improved and that he was “just fighting through it.”
“My health is great,” he said. “It’s good that people worry about you and stuff, but I’m doing wonderful. …
“You just want to come in, show up and see the guys. Sit around and talk and mingle and see what’s going on with them, and they can see what’s going on with me.”
McMahon has struggled publicly with his health, too, admitting to bouts of depression, dementia and headaches. He said he’s improved since New York doctors found his top two vertebrae were misaligned, causing his cerebral spinal fluid to be blocked.
His last appointment two months ago found more fluid on his brain than the previous time, he said, but he’s happy to have a treatment plan.
“Thank God those doctors in New York found the problem,” he said. “Had I gone to a neurosurgeon, they probably would have drilled a hole in my head to drain the fluid and not find the problem. So these guys at least found the problem.”
McMahon saw the movie “Concussion,” and suggested the NFL had a role in stunting its popularity after its release. He wants to meet Dr. Bennet Omalu, who Will Smith played in the movie.
Tuesday, though, he was anxious to spend time with his old teammates, who sounded ready to celebrate the way they did 30 years earlier.
After conducting interviews, McMahon, with a smile, wondered where the bar was.
“These guys are a lot of fun to be hanging around with,” he said. I enjoy seeing them when I can. …
“It’s just great to see the old guys again.”
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