Want to grab a Beer?
It’s such a simple question that opens the door to good stories and forging of a friendship. For those of you who indulge in such frothy beverages, think back to the last time you shared a pint at a local watering hole with an old friend or a new business associate. After the pleasantries are exchanged and a few ounces are slurped off the top, the stories and laughs usually follow in quick succession.
Answering the questions of what current or former Chicago Bear to have a beer with is no easy task. This storied franchise has been around since 1920 and boasts a league leading 27 Hall of Famers who primarily played their careers in Chicago. So, I’m going to cheat a little bit and break it out into 3 answers.
The Chicago Bear who is no longer living. This is like the old question, if you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would be at your dinner party, except it is better because it’s beer and Bears players. Here are my basic considerations: The player is a Hall of Fame player, have their number retired, and won at least one championship. Pretty simple.
George Halas is a good choice, maybe even the obvious one, but he only played on one championship team, 1921, and I’m positive he’d stick me with the bill. Halas was a world famous curser, so at least that would be a ton of fun to hear.
Bronko Nagurski and Red Grange are both potential choices. Both were part of the 1932 and 1933 championships and Nagurski returned for the 1943 run. Nagurski could link some of the original stars like George Trafton, the stereotypical throwback brawler, with the 1940’s greats of Sid Luckman, Joe Stydahar, and Bulldog Turner. Luckman and Turner would be great choices as well.
More contemporary choices, men who died young, include Bill George, the “meanest Bear ever” and Walter Payton, aka Sweetness. George could discuss the ’63 championship and basically inventing the middle linebacker position. Sweetness could discuss being the GOAT.
In the end, I’m picking Nagurski. Did I mention he famously spat with George Halas over his contract and left his football career for a traveling band of professional wrestlers only to come back for the 1943 championship? Beer of choice for #3? I’m sure the native born Canadian would enjoy the Bear Paw Honey Lager from Whistler Brewing Company in Canada.
Living but retired Chicago Bear. It comes down to this – someone from the 1963 team or someone from the 1985 team…and with everything from that ’85 team, I’m convinced that’s where I need to go.
Jim McMahon, Matt Suhey, Willie Gault, or any of the starting offensive linemen are fine choices. However, this team was famous for its vicious defense.
I don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with anyone from the defensive side of the ball but I’ll tell you that I’ve met Mike Singletary in person and he scared the absolute daylights out of me. He gave me the big eyes like he was going to spear me and I’m pretty sure he could still break some bones. I’m ruling him out.
Contenders playing the majority of their career in Chicago include: Gary Fencik, Otis Wilson, Dan Hampton, Richard Dent, Steve McMichael, and William Perry.
Fencik would probably give the clearest accounting of this team, but sometimes you want the most outlandish and craziest stories and I’m pretty sure Fencik made curfew every night. In the end, I’m picking Steve McMichael, aka Mongo, because I’m 100% positive that he’s going to be the most entertaining (but I’m hoping Dan Hampton shows up too). Did I mention that he also did some professional wrestling, commentating, coaching, and even made a failed run for Mayor of Romeoville, Illinois? This dude can talk. Beer of choice for #76? Chicago’s Off Color Brewery has an excellent selection including one called “Bare Bear” that I think is appropriate here.
Current Chicago Bears player. This one is a little different because I’m now older than everyone on the team, so that’s weird. Pernell McPhee is a self-proclaimed violent man and maybe it’s just something about linebackers but it seems like it could go wrong quickly with him and his fellow pack of linebackers.
I’ll settle for what I suspect is the obvious answer – Kyle Long. He’s arguably the best player on this team right now and comes from a famous football family. He’s an entertaining follow on Twitter and likes to relax by playing videogames, which is more my speed.
He’s also basically living my dream – Long plays the position I played and wears the same number. Beer of choice for #75? The big offensive lineman would no doubt appreciate Renegade Brewing’s “Pancakes, Maple Porter.”
Who are you sharing a beer with?