Among the many bright personalities the Chicago Bears had during that magical 1985 season was quarterback Jim McMahon who earned the nickname “The Punky QB” out of BYU. McMahon was an instant sensation in the Windy City and helped lead the team to a big Super Bowl XX win over New England.
But before the game, McMahon had his share of involvement in storylines that followed the team.
A radio host in New Orleans claimed that McMahon called the women of New Orleans “Sluts”, death threats followed and the media spotlight grew bigger. However, it wasn’t the only threat issued to the quarterback the week of the game.
Two of McMahon’s teammates, Dan Hampton and Steve McMichael, weren’t afraid to speak their minds when it came to the team or heck, anything. That’s exactly what they did to McMahon.
Per Dan Pompei of The Athletic, the two defensive linemen made it clear that McMahon’s antics on Bourbon Street leading into the game didn’t carry over to the field:
Hampton thought quarterback Jim McMahon was soft. He told him as much, and he shared the opinion with the media.
When death threats were made against McMahon after he had been accused of calling the women of New Orleans “sluts,” most of his teammates kept their distance from him during an outdoor practice leading up to the Super Bowl. The King and Ming did not.
“Don’t worry about that death threat,” Hampton told him. “But if you don’t play well on Sunday, the two of us will kill you.”
McMahon got the message and didn’t let the antics impact his play. The quarterback was 12-for-20 for 256 yards in the game and had two rushing touchdowns. It’s safe to say that McMahon earned some respect that day.
Make sure to read Pompei’s piece on Hampton and McMichael in The Athletic, it’s a must-read.