Credit: Chicago Sun-Times

The sports world’s longest winning streak shows no sign of ending anytime soon. For the 30th straight year, the 1985 Chicago Bears have won Super Bowl XX, and our town has gone a little bit crazy. The Sun-Times wrapped its Tuesday paper in a “30th Anniversary Commemorative Cover Edition” fronted by a reprint of its front page on January 27, 1986, the one with the banner headline that screamed NUMBER 1! 

Inside was a “featured column” from Mike Ditka. Online there’s a Sun-Times URL that is nothing but ’85 Bears.

The Tribune that landed on my porch Tuesday made do with a column by Bernie Lincicome looking back on “the treasure in Chicago’s sports attic that gets dusted and adored, forgiven and refreshed.” Lincicome was wrestling with the truth—once inconvenient but by now somehow essential—that this most immortal of immortal teams somehow won only that one Super Bowl and nothing more. “Two or three more Lombardi trophies and they would just be shiny clutter,” Lincicome reasoned. “It is tidier this way.”

Online, I see the Tribune going a lot crazier. Its “exclusive glossy” Super Bowl XX “Bears bring it home” front-page poster is available for $25, “expedited shipping available.” There’s a link to a Super Bowl XX photo gallery. Football writer Ed Sherman has a piece that begins with a joke—”Even the 1985 Bears are tired talking about the 1985 Bears”—and then gets serious: it seems the upcoming ESPN documentary on the ’85 Bears was supposed to run 90 minutes, but had to be stretched to two hours because everyone had so much to say.

Sherman points out that HBO looked at the ’85 Bears just last year. And let me add that just two years ago I was touting Rich Cohen’s Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football as “pretty close to perfect.” 

It should be noted that prior to the 30 straight years when the ’85 Bears won Super Bowl XX all over again in the local and national media, there was the January 26, 1986 Super Bowl in which the ’85 Bears took the field and won it in the first place. Some cities put a championship behind them by winning another; even Chicago has managed this feat with the Bulls and Blackhawks. Its relentless giddiness over Super Bowl XX has no parallel in American sports; the closest approximation I can think of is the 1969 Chicago Cubs, who every year until 2003 almost won the ’69 National League pennant, or at least the East Division title. Since 2003 it has been that year’s Cubs, who annually come within fan interference down the left field line of winning the 2003 pennant.

Though the ’85 Bears are generally expected to win Super Bowl XX not quite so emphatically next year—as 31st anniversaries generally don’t draw a lot of attention—the occasion will certainly be marked. It’s become an annual event. Here, for example, is WGN radio in 2015 celebrating the ’85 Bears’ 29th straight retrospective victory in Super Bowl XX by interviewing defensive tackle Dan Hampton. Here’s blogger Alan Rubenstein celebrating in 2013. “The 1985 Bears were loud, proud and unapologetic,” said Rubenstein. “They would beat you and beat you up.”

And every year, like clockwork, they emerge from the clammy fog of time.