Nola Lopez for SI
Nola Lopez for SI

‘The Super Bowl Shuffle’

The MMQB presents NFL 95, a special project running through mid-July detailing 95 artifacts that tell the story of the NFL, as the league prepares to enter its 95th season. See the entire series here.

There will be eternal debate about the greatest NFL team of all time, but the ’85 Bears can claim one thing no other can: They produced a hit single.

Superstition be damned, the so-called Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew recorded the catchy “Super Bowl Shuffle” and accompanying video months before Super Bowl XX. Cocky? Sure. But that’s the way the ’85 Bears played, rattling off a 15-1 record with Walter Payton and perhaps the greatest defense ever. Receiver Willie Gault (and his swerving hips) spearheaded the music project with Red Label Records, recruiting nearly half the roster to join as rappers, back-up dancers or the band. Payton was darn good at spitting rhyme, and most of the Bears were pretty bad at dancing. The jingle caught on, rising to No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling around a half-million copies, with the profits designated for charity. But the Shuffle wouldn’t have its endearing place in history if the team hadn’t backed it up on the field. The Bears did so in convincing fashion, beating the Patriots by a historically lopsided score of 46-10 “to give Chicago,” as Payton had rapped, “a Super Bowl champ.”

The Shuffle’s success spawned a slew of imitators in subsequent years, from Mike Ditka’s Coach-tastic “Grabowski Shuffle” (in which Ditka extols the virtues of the common fan) to Key & Peele’s fabulous East/West Bowl Rap. But there’s just nothing to compare to the original.

— Jenny Vrentas


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