Answer by Mike Tomczak, NFL quarterback for 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears:
Well, first off, I have to say it started with our head coach. Mike Ditka was extremely electric; he wanted accountability, he wanted a strong work ethic, and when I joined that franchise in 1985, they had a lot of parts in place that could bring a championship to Chicago.
It appeared to me early in training camp that there was a love for teammates, a trust, a love, an understanding that you had to be accountable for your job and your actions on and off the field. We had a hierarchy of guys like Leslie Frazier, Walter Payton, Mike Singletary, Jim McMahon, Matt Suhey, and Jay Hilgenberg who carried that out in the locker room.
I was just given an opportunity. I was an undrafted free agent, so I entered into an environment where a lot of pockets of relationships had already formed, and there were some new bloods coming in trying to add value to the team.
Growing up in Chicago, I wasn't going to let that opportunity slide away. I got to know the offensive line as quickly as possible, because they're the most trusted guys; the way they played allowed me to play better. And there were some of the veterans, like Payton, who took me under his wing at an early stage of my career and brought me into the right circles.
We needed to win our division to win a world championship, and that was emphasized and echoed throughout the locker room every day. We started to snowball, and I made the team. We got a good run, 12–0, and we go down to Miami and fall short in that game.
Weeks before that, there had been discussions about putting together this video called the Super Bowl Shuffle, and the rest is history. Willie Gault brought it to a number of players. We were the background crew; I had no singing part except for chorus, and I played this air guitar.
The timing was impeccable. Somebody had a watch on us, whether it was Papa Bear Halas or somebody else who had a beacon over us. When this came to fruition, not only did we help out a lot of families through the charity dollars, but we gained national exposure. With the addition of MTV and all the video outlets, that song was playing constantly in the Chicago market once it was released, and we fulfilled the prophecy of winning a Super Bowl and sold more than 1 million copies.
Still, today, they're doing stories about it. Still, today, they talk about my role. I have a picture in my office that I'm looking at right now of the six guys who played an instrument in that "band," and it's one of the highlights from my early career.
More questions on Super Bowl:
TODAY IN SLATE
Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case
The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race
How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster
The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented
Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada
You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney
Or at least trade it for something.
- Texas Lab Worker on Cruise Tests Negative for Ebola as Dallas Hospital Apologizes
- Police Use Tear Gas to Break Up College Pumpkin Festival Turned Violent
- Racist Rancher Cliven Bundy Challenges Eric Holder in Bizarre Campaign Ad
- Supreme Court Allows Texas Law That Accepts Handgun Permits but not College IDs to Vote
An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.