Taking me back to Jimmy Mac

Not even all-time favorite Jim McMahon could inspire the quarterback excitement Justin Fields can offer.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields played with poise and authority Sunday against the Cowboys. Jim McMahon (inset) would have been proud.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields played with poise and authority Sunday against the Cowboys. Jim McMahon would have been proud.

Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

While watching Justin Fields dazzle in Dallas and filling my bowl full of candy for trick-or-treaters, I was hit with a bit of nostalgia. Let me take you back to the 1980s.

I grew up in the Roseland neighborhood on the Far South Side. My parents are retired Chicago Public Schools teachers. They worked hard, and we were very lucky. Growing up, my brother and I had all the things we needed and occasionally a couple of the things we wanted. For me, that usually meant a trip to Evergreen Plaza for comics. For my brother, it meant record shopping. I never owned a pair of Jordans, and the only jerseys I had were ones I earned at St. Thaddeus grammar school or playing Little League for Jackie Robinson West.

I guess I wanted to be some sort of combination of Scottie Pippen, Ryne Sandberg and Carlton Fisk. But my favorite — my absolute favorite — was Jim McMahon.

Before school, we would play two-hand touch football in St. Thaddeus’ parking lot, and I would imagine myself as Jimmy Mac. I had the ‘‘Mad Mac’’ poster. I had the ‘‘Chicago Vice’’ poster with Mac and ‘‘Sweetness’’ doing their best Crockett and Tubbs impersonation. McMahon was magnetic because he was cool, flamboyant and defiant. He did whatever it took to get the job done. The dude was a boss, and I was trying to follow in his footsteps.

In 1985, I told my parents I wanted to be Jim McMahon for Halloween. That meant having some shades, a headband and a jersey. Sunglasses and a headband were easy to find, especially in the ’80s. The jersey, not so much. My mother explained there wasn’t enough money for that, but she could make me a representative jersey. So I had a blue-and-orange, long-sleeved T-shirt with a ‘‘9’’ on the front and back and ‘‘McMahon” on the top and strutted into school thinking I was the man.

I say all that to tell you McMahon always has been my favorite Bears quarterback, but I’ve never been more excited about a Bears QB than I am about Justin Fields.

If you’re thinking I’m romanticizing the position, let me assure you that I’m not.

When I started covering the Bears, my fandom went out the window. It still hasn’t quite rebounded. I’ve covered everybody from Kordell Stewart to Mitch Trubisky. Rex Grossman was the nicest guy to have that job. Craig Krenzel might have been the smartest and Kyle Orton the most interesting. Jay Cutler was a talented fugazi that left us all disappointed.

Sadly, none of those guys panned out.

It’s possible Fields won’t live up to expectations. The odds are stacked against his success, but we’ve seen enough in the last four weeks to start thinking bigger.

His glimpses of brilliance against the Vikings immediately came under suspicion because the next game against the Commanders was a disaster. Fields’ performance in a victory against the Patriots felt like an arrival, but could he follow it up against the Cowboys’ maulers? This was a road game against one of the best defenses in the league. The difficulty level was high.

Fields more than looked the part. He was in complete control of himself and coordinator Luke Getsy’s offense. As the season has progressed, Fields has found a balance between winning in the pocket and getting out on the move. He’s ‘‘Weapon X’’ now, and the league has taken notice.

On Sunday, the Bears scored more points against the Cowboys (29) than any other team had this season. Fields had career highs in passer rating (120.0), completion percentage (74%) and total touchdowns (three). It was the rare moral victory wrapped inside a blowout loss.

Somewhere in Roseland, Rogers Park, K-Town or Arlington Heights, there were kids who were inspired by what they saw. They’ll be in awe of Fields, like I was with McMahon. Hopefully Fields will turn out to be worthy of that adoration. Whomever these kids are, I hope they get a Fields jersey. And if it’s not in the cards financially, I hope they have someone who loves them enough to make them one.

You can hear Laurence Holmes talk Chicago sports Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 670 The Score with Dan Bernstein.

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