Published September 22, 2011
The memorable Chicago Bears team that won the Super Bowl more than 25 years ago missed out on a visit to the White House when the space shuttle Challenger exploded just days after their triumph in January 1986.
But President Obama has sent a belated invitation to his hometown team for a ceremony on Oct. 7.
At least one key player won’t be there: running back great Walter Payton, who died in 1999 from a rare liver disease.
The 1985 Bears captured the hearts and minds of football fans with their superb play on the field and utter silliness off the field. The team was filled with a number of colorful characters, including quarterback Jim McMahon, defensive back William “The Refrigerator” Perry, coach Mike Ditka and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. The team recorded a popular music video called the “Super Bowl Shuffle.”
In 1996, McMahon, who was a member of the Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers that was invited to the White House, honored his old team by wearing a Bears jersey.
Obama missed out on a chance to invite the modern day Bears last year when they lost to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game.
Obama reluctantly hosted the Bears' rival, the Green Bay Packers, at the White House this year after their Super Bowl win.