Bear down! ‘Monsters of the Midway’ are back

It has been an awfully long time since the Chicago Bears have looked this good. In fact, it was a generation ago, 21 seasons to be exact. There are several of us still around who remember that 1985 Super Bowl championship team. Is it too early to start making comparisons? I don’t think so.

The defense of both this year’s squad and the ’85 team have been dominant. The defensive line of the 2006 team may very well be the best since their ancestors from the ’85 team: Richard Dent, Steve McMichael, Dan Hampton and William “The Fridge” Perry. The main difference is I think this year’s guys are even faster. Since arriving in Chicago, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher has been compared to Mike Singletary.

This year’s offense is led by quarterback Rex Grossman. He seems to possess the same air of confidence that former “punky” QB Jim McMahon had, just maybe not quite as brash or offensive. McMahon had the very capable Steve Fuller as his backup. Grossman has a very capable backup of his own, Brian Griese.

The most glaring difference on offense between then and now is there is no Walter Payton in this year’s backfield. Even without a Hall of Famer in the backfield, the 2006 running game is starting to do pretty well. Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s OK to use two guys to try to take Payton’s place.

In last week’s 40-7 home win over the Buffalo Bills, 2006 kicker Robbie Gould broke Kevin Butler’s 1985 record for most consecutive field goals to start a season. Butler started the Super Bowl season with 16 straight; Gould made it 17 in a row last Sunday. Is that a coincidence, or good karma and a hint of things to come? I’m going with the latter.

I’m not sure this year’s team will be able to match the 15-1 record of their predecessors, but it may finally be time to see if you can find your old copy of the “Super Bowl Shuffle.”

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Oct. 11-17, 2006, issue

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