Throwback Thursday: When the Chicago Bears Sang "The Super Bowl Shuffle"
Former wide receiver Willie Gault says of the song's Grammy loss: "If you're going to lose, who better to lose to than Prince?"
This story first appeared in the Feb. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
In the 1985 season, the Chicago Bears were Windy City gods: They went 15-1, trounced the New England Patriots 46-10 in the Super Bowl and became the first (and last) Bears team to win an NFL title since 1963. And if that wasn't enough, there was the Grammy nomination. "The Super Bowl Shuffle," a rap song performed by team members, sold a half-million copies, reached No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and lost the best R&B vocal performance by a duo or group Grammy to "Kiss" by Prince & The Revolution. "If you're going to lose," says former Bears wide receiver Willie Gault today, "who better to lose to than Prince?"
The journey to the Grammys began a few games into the '85 season, when Red Label Records owner and Bears fan Dick Meyer brought Gault the idea of doing a choreographed rap video and song whose lyrics would tie in with each player's skills. "I had the dubious job of getting guys to do it," says Gault, who signed up 10 team members, including Hall of Famer Walter Payton, quarterback Jim McMahon and media favorite William "The Refrigerator" Perry. A notable couplet in the chorus went, "We're so bad we know we're good/Blowin' your mind like we knew we would."
The song's $300,000 in profits went to the Chicago Community Trust to assist local families in need. (In 2014, Gault and five other players filed a lawsuit that alleged proceeds from the song had not gone properly to charity. The suit is pending.) Gault, now 54, left the NFL in 1994 after 11 seasons. He now works as a financier and as an actor (he played a Secret Service agent in four episodes of The West Wing). "What amazes me is the song is still played during the Super Bowl," adds Gault, who will say only that he's rooting for "a good game" when the Seahawks battle the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1. "That season was lightning in a bottle."