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A song you can’t get out of your head

“The Super Bowl Shuffle” remains the 1985 Bears’ most dominant work.

From left: Running back Dennis Gentry on bass, guard Stefan Humphries on drums and running back Calvin Thomas on saxophone during the music video for “The Super Bowl Shuffle.”
From left: Running back Dennis Gentry on bass, guard Stefan Humphries on drums and running back Calvin Thomas on saxophone during the music video for “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” which was released in December 1985 and has come to define the character and confidence of the 1985 Bears.
Sun-Times file photo

Few teams have dominated the NFL like the 1985 Bears.

They won 15 of their 16 regular-season games and shut out the Giants and Rams in the playoffs before defeating the Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX.

Their defense was so commanding, ranking first in the NFL in points and yards allowed — that they revived the “Monsters of the Midway” nickname.

But it’s what the Bears’ last Super Bowl-winning team did off the field that truly transcended sports and culture.

“ ‘The Super Bowl Shuffle’ — for as much grief as I’ve taken over the past 30 years proving I can’t sing or dance — that really became part of the era of development in interest in sports off the field, not just on the field,” former Bears safety Gary Fencik said during the Bears100 Celebration Weekend in June. “In some ways, it was kind of an interesting evolution for all of you in the [sports media] business you’re in.”

The ’85 Bears became the first sports team to have their own rap video. Several other teams in sports tried to imitate “The Super Bowl Shuffle” following its release, but none duplicated its success. The song became a mainstream hit, and the Bears were nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B performance by a duo or group — eventually losing to Prince and the Revolution’s “Kiss.”

What makes “The Super Bowl Shuffle” even more impressive is that it was released nearly two months before the Bears won their first NFL championship in 22 years — a move akin to Babe Ruth pointing to center field during Game 3 of the 1932 World Series.

“Gutsy, very gutsy,” said former Bears defensive end Richard Dent, the Super Bowl XX MVP. “When you see the dream and you know what you’re doing, it’s all about being about it.”

The Bears remember the less glamorous side of doing the song: long hours recording their verses and filming the video, being called arrogant and getting ripped off in their contract.

“It was a pain in the ass to do back then,” former quarterback Jim McMahon said. “And every time I hear it now, it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, that song just won’t go away.’ But people seemed to love it, and they still talk about it. You know, the punky QB — I get called [that], and I didn’t write those lyrics. But at the time, it was pretty innovative and pretty ballsy.”

Former Bears linebacker Otis Wilson asked, “When are you ever [again] going to see an NFL team nominated for a Grammy, get a gold record [and] a platinum video in one year and make a little money at the same time?”

The answer: Probably never again. It’s hard seeing anyone else replicating the 1985 Bears’ success and impact both on and off the field — making them one of the most unique teams in NFL history.