Super Bowl week lets us shuffle back to Bears glory

Fans from Chicago flocked to New Orleans and devoured Cajun culture, then watched their team devour the Patriots.

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Bears coach Mike Ditka is carried off the field after leading the team to a win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX in New Orleans on Jan. 26, 1986.

Sun-Times files

Fake apologies.

Fake news

C’mon.

Take a timeout! Forget the clickbait of fake.

Let’s segue to the pigskin version of the fake and quarterback sneak by blinking back 35 years to the greatest day in Bears history.

It was Jan. 26, 1986, and Chicago was on the verge of gridiron glory.

It was the day the Great Grabowski, Bears coach Mike Ditka, led his extraordinary team onto a field of dreams in New Orleans and won Super Bowl XX.

The Goliaths had done it Chicago style!

Voila!

In the week’s lead-up to victory, the French Quarter suddenly developed a Chicago accent; the dance floor at Tipitina’s interspersed zydeco with a whisper of the “Super Bowl Shuffle;” and beer served at the legendary Pat O’Brien’s flowed like a river.

It became a new playing field for the deluge of Chicago fans heading south to host a party in someone else’s backyard.

Being handed a reporter’s ticket to ride the tsunami of hijinks leading up to the Bears’ 46-10 slaughter of the New England Patriots became the trip of a lifetime.

Assigned to cover the fauna and fun of a football frenzy was a get-out-of-jail card.

What a happening! Chicago football fans were actually eating oysters?

Life was bar high unless you were falling off a table in an attempt to come up for a gulp of air; and when the Bears won the Super Bowl, the city came up for air and still had enough wind to yell “Woof woof! while scouting for Bears players on Bourbon Street.

Who knew? Who cared?

Everyone was 25, maybe 30. Everyone had energy; even if they didn’t. There was always fuel enough for everyone in the City of the Saints.

What a perch to view sports history. What a party invite. What a shuffle back to an era when an entire team, soon to be branded the “Greatest team in football history,” had nicknames well known to the country as “Sweetness” and “Fridge” and the “Punky QB.”

Star quarterback Jim McMahon was rotating fancy headbands (one decked out in blinking lights) while giving interviews in between arriving at the Superdome in a cab rather than a team bus.

Chicago fans had become cash cows; sports writers netted enough salmon for a year of bear.

When the game ended, there was momentary sadness that supernova Walter “Sweetness” Payton had been denied a Super Bowl touchdown given to the “Fridge.”

In the end, the Bears victory over the Patriots would go down in history as one of the most impressive Super Bowls.

Ditka, who claims he feels great for being 81 and “plays some golf at least four days a week,” tells Sneed he plans to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday from his Florida home.

“I’ll watch it with a few buddies and a cigar,” said Da Coach, despite having heart surgery a while back.

“To be honest, I don’t really think too much about my Super Bowl win,” he said.

“But that was a hell of a team we had and the credit goes all to the players. It was a group of guys like you’ve never seen before. We played tough and did a great job all season. You don’t have that type of season without a tough group of guys leading the way.

“But you also need luck, something the Bears didn’t have this year.”

Then he signed off with “Go Bears!”

The Super Bowl Shuffle lyrics were correct.

The Bears were so bad, they knew they were good and they certainly shuffled their way into sports history and my reporter’s notebook.

A COVID update . . .

Dear Aunt Blabby:

Whew!

It finally happened.

I got shot.

Well, I got THE shot.

Thankfully, the COVID-19 vaccine finally made it into my 77-year-old right arm on Friday despite weeks of playing Russian roulette on my computer.

So thanks to Dave and Mary and Carol and Tom and Erin and Dia and Gloria and Dean and Jim and John and Kenneth and Philip and Phil and Ken and all those Sneed readers who logged online with suggestions on how to hook up with the vaccine following my plea for pandemic advice last Sunday from dear old “Aunt Blabby,” my trusty alter ego.

Unfortunately, there is an unintended consequence to my computer Cha-Cha navigation dance due to my newly flexible computer fingers.

Alas, my fingers began keying in merchandise order sites!

Yikes? Anyone interested in a pair of pachyderm-sized Bombas socks?

Sneedlings . . .

Following in Dad’s footsteps. To wit: Politico’s Marc Caputo, who appears on MSNBC, is son of Pulitzer Prize winning /former Chicago newspaper reporter Phil Caputo, author of the best-selling Vietnam War book “A Rumor of War.” Saturday’s birthdays: Tinashe, 28; Allison Holker, 33; and Rick Astley, 55. . . . Sunday’s birthdays:Chris Rock, 56; Isaiah Thomas, 32; and Garth Brooks, 59.

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