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Author Rich Cohen Discusses MONSTERS: The 1985 Chicago Bears And the Wild Heart of Football [AUDIO]

| November 20th, 2013

85bears

NOTE: RICH COHEN WILL BE APPEARING AT OUR CHARITY EVENT WITH OTIS WILSON ON SUNDAY NIGHT, DECEMBER 8TH AND RAFFLING OFF BOOKS. PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT THIS WORTHY CAUSE. FULL DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE BY CLICKING HERE.

Rich Cohen’s Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football is one of the best sports book I’ve ever read. It is not only the story of the Bears in the time surrounding their only Super Bowl title. It is the tracing of a man’s descent in the madness of fandom. Not to sound like a cliche but every single person who reads this site more than likely has a relative who would love this book as a holiday gift. I don’t vouch for many books on here. I can’t vouch enough for this one.

To purchase the book from Amazon, CLICK HERE.

Here’s my discussion with Rich. It is the most fun I’ve ever had doing one of these podcasts.

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  • DaMurph

    I downloaded a sample of the book. Not too far in, the author refers to Mcmichael as a defensive end and Hampton as a defensive tackle. In the beginning of the book are rosters listing the correct positions for those two players. I can’t read a book where a couple of the most basic facts are fucked up in the first few pages. It’s kind of a sacred part of Bears history and must be accurate. I’m surprised you didn’t catch that Jeff, it so basic I can’t believe he fucked it up and you didn’t catch it.

    • DaBearsBlog

      Hampton has defensive tackle/defensive end listed on his HoF bust. Not really an error. He lined up inside a ton. And McMichael rotated outside. Other than Richard Dent who spent most snaps on the edge, you can call the DL anything you want.

      • as long as you don’t call ’em late for dinner!

        http://instantrimshot.com/index.php?sound=rimshot&play=true

      • SC Dave

        McMichael was not a DE by any stretch,Jeff. Hampton, of course, played both and started out as a DT.

        • EnderWiggin

          Am I the only one who thinks McMichael is just as much of a Hall of Famer as Dent? It could be left over 80s Homerism, but I think Steve was more than solid for almost a decade. My father thinks it is because McMichael was not very media friendly.

          • SC Dave

            Steve McMichael is very underrated outside of Chicago IMO. In 1989, he had 108 tackles playing DT. That is an insane number – almost 7 tackles per game – when you really think about it.

            I don’t know how many DTs had 838 tackles and 95 sacks, but those numbers impress the hell out of me. I did look a bit, and the only pure DT with more sacks is Warren Sapp with 96.5. Not sure about Kevin Carter and John Randle (who I remember most as a DE) that are listed as DT/DE in pro-fb-ref.

            (that site is dangerous for me… went off on a tangent looking at Harlon Hill, who had an amazing start in the NFL… e.g. 32 TD receptions in his first 36 games…
            http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/H/HillHa00.htm
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlon_Hill)

          • Trac

            Actually McMichael was cut by the Patriots before the Bears signed him. He played with an unquenchable hunger to destroy his opponents in order to conquer his previous failures. The man was impressive but I don’t think he’ll ever make Canton.

          • DaMurph

            I’ve said that since I’ve been on this blog. In fact when everyone was sucking Tommie Harris’ dick, I’d point out he wasn’t shit compared to Mongo.

        • DaMurph

          He started out as an end SC. He was mentored and ended up replacing Tommy Hart who was a great pass rusher with the 9,ers and was acquired by the Bears. Buddy played Hampton inside at times by necessity because of injury or for the disruption he could create.

          • SC Dave

            Ah… I thought it was the other way around. Appreciate the history lesson, Murph 🙂

      • DaMurph

        Mongo never rotated outside Jeff, not ever like I explained in my reply to SC, Hampton played inside and hated it, but did it out of necessity. Corey Wooten is doing similar stuff, out of necessity. So in that respect I can understand, but to refer to Mongo as an end, no fuckin way.

        • gpldan

          Murph is right, Mongo stayed inside.

          And yeah, he wasn’t media savvy like Dan, so he’s been shafted by history. He was every bit as dominant as Hampton, for nearly as long.

    • Big Mike

      I will blaspheme here and report that I’m tired of the 85 Bears. I believe the 85 Bears were both the best and the worst event in the last 50 years of Chicago sports. Best.. is obvious. Worst is because every team in every sport is held to that unrealistic standard. Good, or even Very Good is rarely embraced. The 2006 SB team is proof.

      And .. Ditka was a great leader. But he was only a so/so coach. Buddy Ryan was the innovator.

      The GM of the Bears Jim Finks up to 1982 deserves some credit, but the unsung hero in the whole thing is his successor Jerry Vainisi. In his 3 drafts leading up to the Super Bowl Season, Vainisi hit on:

      Jimbo Covert
      Willie Gault
      Mike Richardson
      Dave Duerson
      Tom Thayer
      Richard Dent
      Wilber Marshall
      Ron Rivera
      Shaun Gayle
      William Perry
      Kevin Butler
      (yes I looked these up to confirm)..http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/chi/draft.htm

      • gpldan

        Vainisi hurt his legacy by going to the Lions. Period.

        Same as Larravee. He’ll never be in the Chicago broadcasting HOF, and we know why.

        • Big Mike

          Doesn’t change the fact that for three years he ruled the draft and made the 85 Bears possible. I believe more so than Ditka’s coaching. Ditka’s leadership up to the Super Bowl and the following year are legendary. After the 86 campaign, (which I think may have been a better team than the 85 squad), Ditka became a caricature of himself. His act wore off. A great coach changes his act to match his team. Ditka did not.

  • SC Dave

    Cohen puts his finger big time on why I will never consider Ditka a good coach; i.e. that Ditka was a QB destroyer.

    • Trac

      That’s just it Dave, he was more than just than just a Coach, he brought a city alive. I can’t think of any coach that had as big of an impact on Americana than him.

      • Shady

        How about George Halas or Vince Lombardi?

        • Trac

          In today’s landscape, Ditka still carry’s the day. Sure Halas and Lombardi had greater contributions to the NFL but Ditka’s personality is bigger than even theirs.

          • Shady

            I would say both Halas and Lombardi have had a greater impact on Americana than coach.

          • Trac

            I guess what I’m saying is when you think of Halas and Lombardi you think of football. When you think of Ditka, you think of Ditka. And yeah, you are right, I should have used another word there.

      • SC Dave

        True, but the whole title of “Da Coach” implies that he was actually good at it, which it debatable.

  • MB30SD

    not to take away from this interview, which was really cool to listen to… but I just happened on this: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1831178-the-inside-story-of-how-the-nfls-plan-for-a-1st-openly-gay-player-fell-apart?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=cnn-sports-bin&hpt=hp_bn15

    Fucking WOW… just fucking WOW.

    30-40 guys!? That has to be way above average… wonder why? Ridiculous this didn’t happen. The world is SO ready now. Stop being Victorian NFL. Totally silly.

    • MB30SD

      So why haven’t we gone after K.Rhodes. He’s a bad ass, no? Does he have a big injury history? Anyone?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerry_Rhodes

      • Ghost of Waffle

        why?
        he wants big money, he’s gay and he doesn’t fill our main quota which is to bring on average, non black corners and turn them into safeties.

        • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

          correction, injury prone non-black safeties.

          • MB30SD

            thank you for the correction sir

        • SC Dave

          Or bring up better-than-average non black safeties and turn them into linebackers.

          • MB30SD

            I’d MUCH rather continue doing this than yonny’s above. We’re MUCH better at the latter, and turrible at the former.

          • Ghost of Waffle

            lol, if you’re referring to Urlacher, a consensus All American, and New Mexico’s Male athlete of the year who has a local holiday named after him, as a better than average safety then……….
            Now, Dom Decicco would be a more accurate description of that model….

        • MB30SD

          So he’d rather be chillin at home being out of FB for a year rather than playing and keeping sharp and his name on everyone’s list for a little less money?

          I personally don’t get that… and I don’t give a rat’s ass if he’s gay, he’s about 10X the safety that conte and wright are put together. SMFH

          • Ghost of Waffle

            maybe he’s being blackballed (NTTAWWT)

  • MB30SD

    Oh, and if you have an extra $100k just kickin around, you should buy: this http://www.starwoodjeeps.com/jeep-full-metal-jacket.php

    I don’t get the concept of a bullet-proof open jeep, but it looks bad ass.

  • MB30SD
    • MB30SD

      Hey traaaaac….

      read this part…. hee hee

      “Detroit Lions (6-4) If you were wondering when Lions head coach Jim Schwartz would make his first … “interesting” decision of the 2013 season, wonder no more. Schwartz called for a disastrous fake field goal in his team’s 37-27 loss to the Steelers on Sunday, and defended it for all it was worth. The Lions have all the talent in the world, especially on offense, but one always wonders when their impulse control will get the better of them.

      • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

        Douche’s always revert back to their true nature.

        http://youtu.be/l2p8o77xJEI

      • Trac

        If the Bears win the division, it will be because they are the better team. Do you believe they are the better team? I do.

        • SC Dave

          At full strength there would be no debate, but I’m not sure I agree with the team that remains now.

    • Ghost of Waffle

      Doug Farrar looks like a villain from “24”.

  • MB30SD

    I don’t know, things just feel…. different.

    • Big Mike

      gaaa

  • MB30SD
  • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

    Perhaps the best interview so far, Jeff.

    Not just about the ’85 Bears (can’t go wrong there), but also touching the broader ramifications of a puritan NFL product.

    I’ve always thought that athletes were too mechanized. The result? Tiger Woods.

    I mean, Johnny Football drank some beers? Give me a break. Marino dropped down the draft because he was riding the white horse and probably banging every girl in PA.

    We no longer have teams, but products. We got a PG-13 version of football now where individuality is treated like a disease that must be eradicated.

    Could you imagine if Brees or Brady mooned the press? Twitter would break.

    Moss half-assed mooned, and Joe Buck’s virgin vagina almost exploded.

    • MB30SD

      speaking of pounding ass…

      http://instinctmagazine.com/post/hot-speedo-clad-football-fan-captures-ire-security-during-game

      Wait, who has the worst (or best) fans again yonny?

      • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

        haha…I would have those fans would be in SF, but perhaps it’s a bit too nippy in SF for speedos (NTTAWWT).

        Also, c’mon Chicagoans! You dudes are letting me down. How could you not support the fine arts and great artist (NSFW, unless you just listen to it, in which case your boss will give you a raise for exhibiting such fine taste).

        http://retelly.com/lol/michelle-lamour-performs-butthovens-5th-symphony

    • Ghost of Waffle

      I agree with almost all of your post but there has been a huge culture shift since the 80’s and early 90’s and if we let these athletes express their true individuality we’d probably have a bunch of hick ass hill billy Cowboys running around screaming “git them negra’s!!” and gangsters actually incorporating their gang colors into their standard issue uniforms.
      (tongue partially inserted into cheek)

      • gpldan

        If LA gets a team again, the colors should just be red and blue.

        No white, just red, blue and black. And at games, you can select either red bandannas or blue ones to tie on your head.

        • Ghost of Waffle

          Ah, the true interactive NFL experience. I see Fantasy Football minds dreaming up new ways to monetize.

  • Jokey

    I’m looking forward to listening to this when I have more time. My wife bought me the Cohen book for my birthday and it’s been a fun read.

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