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updated: 10/8/2011 3:05 AM

1985 Bears get their White House visit

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  • President Barack Obama, left, looks toward quarterback Jim McMahon, right, wearing headband, as he honors the 1985 Super Bowl XX Champions Chicago Bears football team during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.

      President Barack Obama, left, looks toward quarterback Jim McMahon, right, wearing headband, as he honors the 1985 Super Bowl XX Champions Chicago Bears football team during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
    Associated Press

  • Video: The Super Bowl Shuffle

  • Video: The '85 Bears White House ceremony

 
By Jessica Sabbah, SHFWire

WASHINGTON -- Twenty-five years after winning Super Bowl XX, the 1985 Chicago Bears finally got their day at the White House.

In 1986, after the Bears took home the Super Bowl XX trophy for beating the New England Patriots 46-10 on Jan. 26, plans for the team's visit to the White House to see President Ronald Reagan were postponed when the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff days after their victory. Six astronauts and a teacher died.

The event was never rescheduled.

So President Barack Obama, from Chicago and a Bears fan, welcomed the legendary team at a South Lawn ceremony.

"This is as much fun as I will have as president of the United States, right here," Obama said.

Obama said that shortly after he took office, someone at the NFL realized there's a "big Bears fan living in the White House" and called his staff to see if the event could happen.

Former head coach Mike Ditka and former defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan stood next to Obama while many of the members of the 1985 Chicago Bears stood behind them. More than 100 people attended the event.

Obama reminisced about that season, shortly after he moved to Chicago.

"None of us had ever seen what happened that fall," Obama said. "Nobody had ever seen anything like it. This city was invigorated and brought together by this team. This team ruled the city. It riveted the country."

Obama said what made this team so captivating was not just that it won, but the way it won.

"Yes, they were punishing," Obama said. "Yes, they were dominant. But they also had a lot of fun. And you could tell they enjoyed playing together."

Ditka presented the president with a No. 85 Chicago Bears jersey.

"We're very proud that you honored us by bringing us here," Ditka said. "It's only 26 years after the fact, and five administrations, but thank you."

The 1985 Bears' Super Bowl XX win was the culmination of their playoff run that followed a 15-1 regular season. They lost only to the Miami Dolphins, the team that went undefeated in 1972. The New England Patriots went undefeated in the 2007 regular season, but they lost the Super Bowl.

Former Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent said in a brief news conference after the president's remarks that he was honored to be invited to the White House.

"To me this is just like a Super Bowl," he said.

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