One of the great teams in NFL history missed out on one of the coolest traditions in American sports. But Friday, the 1985 Chicago Bears finally got to visit the White House.
The Bears, who won Super Bowl XX, had their 1986 White House trip canceled in the wake of the space shuttle Challenger disaster.
But after two years of negotiating between the NFL and the White House, the 1985 team, minus a few key members, met with President Barack Obama, a Bears fan.
The team flew in 100 players, coaches and staff. Among the attendees were coach Mike Ditka, quarterback Jim McMahon and defensive end Richard Dent.
One of the team’s more popular players — defensive lineman William “Refrigerator” Perry — didn’t make the trip. He has an immune disorder that makes it difficult to travel. Defensive tackle Dan Hampton didn’t attend for political and personal reasons.
Two players from the team — running back Walter Payton and safety Dave Duerson — are deceased.
■ PLEASE STAY — With Missouri contemplating a move to the Southeastern Conference, an entity called the Kansas City Sports Commission took out an ad Friday in the Kansas City Star basically begging the Tigers to remain in the Big 12.
The open letter to Mizzou chancellor Brady Deaton extolled the virtues of standing pat, mostly reminding Missouri of its history as a Big Eight/Big 12 member.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self probably is not a member of the commission. Self said he wouldn’t feel obligated to schedule Missouri should the Tigers bolt the Big 12.
“We’ll do whatever we feel like we should do and what’s best,” Self told KCSP Radio in Kansas City this week. “I’m not obligated to do anything, just like they’re not obligated to do anything. Who would know if they would want to continue to play Kansas? Certainly I would feel no obligation to do so.”
■ INDYCAR HISTORY — Longtime Las Vegas residents likely remember when live horse racing was in town. And while Las Vegas Park long since has vanished since its brief stint in 1954, it also hosted an IndyCar race during the seven months it existed.
The 100-lap, 100-mile Silver State Century was held Nov. 14, 1954, at Las Vegas Park. The one-mile dirt track was located off Paradise Road near Desert Inn Road and featured a pink stucco clubhouse and grandstand. Jimmy Bryan won the race, averaging 85 mph.
Things have changed since then. The Izod IndyCar Series pulls into the ultra-modern Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend, and the cars will be going more than twice as fast as Bryan’s did in 1954.
■ YANKEE ANGST — When the New York Yankees bowed out of the playoffs Thursday, their fans weren’t the only ones upset. A memorabilia dealer claims he lost more than $1 million with no chance of the Yankees playing in the World Series.
Brandon Steiner, CEO of Steiner Sports Marketing, said not having the Yankees still playing is bad for his business. Steiner claims Yankees and Red Sox memorabilia are his two biggest sellers.
“It’s a seven-figure miss,” Steiner told Bloomberg News. “Now I really have to start working for a living.”
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL