Let the Festivities Begin

Several members of the 1985 Championship Bears team gathered on Tuesday at Mike Ditka's Restaurant to announce the details of a yearlong celebration of the 20th anniversary of their Super Bowl season. A special NFL approved anniversary Bears logo that will appear on merchandise, limited edition memorabilia, and other merchandise was also unveiled.

Shaun Gayle, the former co-captain of the team was the primary organizer of the team's collective efforts, which include participation by every member as well as the active involvement of all of the coaches.

"It's important to us that this anniversary be commemorated in some meaningful way," Gayle said. "It's our way to thank the people of Chicago for their years of support and to reconnect with the city through a variety of events that will occur throughout this calendar year."

Gayle hopes that the spotlight will remain on loyal Bears fans during the succession of events.

"They are the centerpiece of everything that we plan to accomplish this year, even though all of us have moved in different directions, we have not forgotten the compassion, dedication and support that we received from each and every one of our fans," Gayle continued. "Without their active enthusiasm, we would have never reached the Championship. They gave something extra to this team that carried us through the 1985 season and beyond."

Brian McCaskey, senior director of business development for the Bears, was in attendance to voice the organization's appreciation of the efforts of the ‘85 team both during their championship season.

"We are very excited about the celebration and look forward to participating in it," McCaskey said. "These players represent the best of the Bears and we are pleased that they will be honored throughout 2005."

Negotiations between the Bears and members of the '85 team were not going well, but a compromise was made with nearly 30 players to appear at the team's fan convention this weekend in exchange for use of the logo. The ‘85 team will be honored during the convention's opening ceremonies on Friday night.

Members of the team present at the press conference included Richard Dent, Gary Fencik, Dennis McKinnon, Jim Morrissey, Steve McMichael, Thomas Sanders and Otis Wilson.

Wilson was particularly pleased to be reunited with his former teammates.

"It's such a wonderful thing for all of us to get the chance to be together again," Wilson said. "The last time this happened was at Walter Payton's funeral. This time, instead of sadness, we are embracing this as a joyful occasion. It's a way to thank our fans and to lend support through our events to some worthwhile charities here in the Chicago area."

Charities designated to benefit from events hosted by the ‘85 Bears team include After School Matters, a non profit organization partnered with the City of Chicago and other groups to expand out of school opportunities for teens; the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation which provides support for abused and neglected children and teens; and Misericordia, which provides support for those with developmental disabilities.

The team has also aligned with the City of Chicago and other city groups to participate in events throughout 2005 including appearances at games and the Taste of Chicago.

For further information on events, visit www.85worldchamps.com

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