I was recently provided with a review copy of a new book called Da Bears: How the 1985 Monsters of the Midway Became the Greatest Team in NFL History. I told the publicist I would certainly read it and post a review.
I have to admit, honestly, my initial reaction was “how could someone possibly write another 1985 Chicago Bears book?” Seriously, how could they? I think I’ve probably read five, six, seven books either directly or indirectly about the ’85 team and didn’t see how anyone could possibly write the story again without it being more of the same.
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Delsohn is a Chicago native and an ESPN television reporter. While he tells the same story we have all read before: “Platteville to the Minnesota game to San Francisco to Fridge Mania to Dallas Drubbing to Super Bowl Shuffle to Playoff Shutouts to World Champions to How it Unraveled”…he lined up some great, and seemingly more candid interviews with many of the players to dig fairly deep and release potentially more information on some of the many sidebars from that era than I have read before.
I know I’m missing some or many, but individuals interviewed and who told their story fairly candidly and graphically for the book include Mike Ditka, Jim McMahon, Gary Fencik, Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton, Dave Duerson, Kurt Becker and Tom Thayer.
You will have to purchase the book to read more, but just one small example of a passage I thoroughly enjoyed was Fencik talking about when he and Doug Plank combined to form the most feared safety tandem in the league. This would have been several years before 1985, as Plank left the team in 1982.
Fencik recounts that a receiver from another team laid him out and hovered over him, taunting him by getting in his face and saying BOO! Fencik and Plank then discussed the plan to exact revenge on this person. Not long afterward, Fencik got up from the ground and looked over to see the receiver lying on the ground motionless (Fencik didn’t see Plank’s hit that put the receiver there). Fencik rushed over to return that players’ taunt in kind by yelling BOO in his face, but as he arrived he noticed the receiver was unconscious for the most part from Plank’s hit. So Fencik at that point probably figured it would be better to find a medical professional.
For someone that came of age and started watching the Bears at 8 years old in 1979, a story like that resonates and brings me back to my youth.
So again, I was pleased to see Delsohn’s treatment of the subject matter that so many have been over ad nauseum (Ditka has what, his 3rd or 4th book out this fall?).
And I have to give thanks to Delsohn-I have a lot of respect for him. My Bears websites have been blatantly ripped off several times by members of the “real” media. I suppose they think that because I am a web writer not working for a mainstream publication as they are, it’s OK to throw ethics out the window and lift the information I worked hard on from my site without acknowledging where it came from. In his acknowledgments for his book, Delsohn does cite www.bearshistory.com, which is most refreshing to see.
You can purchase Da Bears: How the 1985 Monsters of the Midway Became the Greatest Team in NFL History by clicking the link.