36th Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game since 1979
Bears 12, Packers 10: November 23, 1986
Would the 2-9 Green Bay Packers be able to make it a game, playing at Soldier Field against the conference-leading 9-2 Chicago Bears? Being a Bears-Packers game in the 1980′s, of course they would.
But one Packer had an additional twist to show the Bears in this contest. Defensive end Charles Martin displayed throughout the game a towel hanging from his pants, which apparently constituted a “hit list.” On the towel were written in permanent marker the numbers 9, 34, 29, and 83, assumed to mean he would be going after Jim McMahon, Walter Payton, Dennis Gentry and Willie Gault.
Midway through the game, with the Bears leading 9-0, McMahon threw a pass that was intercepted. As the quarterback was trotting down the field watching the interception return, Martin picked up McMahon from behind and slammed him to the hard Soldier Field Astroturf. McMahon’s shoulder was injured to the degree that it may not have healed fully until the 1988 season, and may still never have been the same.
The Bears won the game, but as their offense was inept in 1986 when McMahon wasn’t piloting it, his removal for the remainder of the season at the hands of a Packer may have spoiled Chicago’s chances of returning to the Super Bowl.