President Obama honors 1985 Chicago Bears
Just two days after they beat the New England Patriots, 46-10, their planned White House reception was thwarted by the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, which killed the entire crew.
On Friday, they finally received their presidential welcome -- it was from Obama instead of Ronald Reagan.
"This is as much fun as I will have as president of the United States," Obama said to the 100 players, coaches and staff who were brought to Washington via a chartered plane.
Then-Bears Coach Mike Ditka was in attendance. In 2004, he turned down Republican pleas for him to run against Obama for the Senate.
Good thing, Obama joked, "I would have been terrible on ESPN."
Star running back Walter Payton died of cancer in 1999. Free safety Dave Duerson shot himself this year after struggling with a brain disease linked to traumatic hits to the head. William "Refrigerator"' Perry, who suffers from an immune disorder, was unable to attend.
In memory of the team, here's a video of their "Super Bowl shuffle," a dance the Bears recorded before they won football's ultimate crown.
At the time, they received criticism for being presumptuous. In retrospect, perhaps their timing was just right.
-- Melissa Rohlin
Photo: The 1985 Chicago Bears are honored by President Obama. Credit: Michael Reynolds / EPA