It’s been 30 years since the Chicago Bears 1985-86 team dominated the NFL, and won the only super bowl in franchise history to date. To celebrate this, ESPN and producer/actor Vince Vaughn created a 30 for 30 documentary on the team full of talent and character.
The almost 2 hour long documentary follows the team, from the building period to the time it all fell apart, and most importantly, the greatness in between. It contains all the great stories you’ve heard before, Walter Payton, Mike Ditka, and Singletary. The dominating defense, and the crazy coach.
But it also dives deeper than that. Into Jim Mcmahon’s quabble with authority, and his struggle with brain damage in the aftermath. Into the divide between the offense and the defense, and into the love some of the meanest people in football had for their coach Buddy Ryan.
The documentary is like a roller coaster, going from somber to playful and back again. It shows exciting highlights, and shares reminiscent stories from the players themselves. It opens with a letter from the defense of a bears team that has had to deal with bad coaching and a worse offense.
The letter is to owner George Halas, defending the job of defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Halas complied, and only fired the head coach. He then brought on Mike Ditka, and the championship run began.
There are so many stories to be told about this entertaining team, and ESPN does a great job of touching on the well known ones, and putting a focus on some of the underlying stories.
Every interview, highlight, and narration brings more interest and emotion for the audience. Those who watched this team will feel memories come flooding back, and the younger generation will try to imagine a team like this one playing in the NFL today. It’s not easy to do. Between the vicious hits of the defense, and the antics of the offense (specifically QB Jim Mcmahon), the fines would be astronomical. If Roger Goodell thinks the Patriots and Tom Brady are hard to handle I can’t imagine what his approach would be to this phenom.
Almost every player could be seen on a commercial, and even the coach took to the screens. William Perry, AKA The refrigerator, was a massive man who became famous overnight thanks to 1 goal line carry, which resulted in a touchdown. The team even became rock stars, with the hit single Super Bowl Shuffle. This song made it all the way to number 41 on billboard’s top 100.
The film ends with a heart wrencher, guaranteed to force tears into the eyes of even the most macho die hard bears fans. Overall, while the credits role, the audience is left to reminisce, deep in thought about what was, and what could have been. The film is put together beautifully, and in my opinion, it is the greatest 30 for 30 yet.