The 1985 Bears complete a big two weeks with a new Hall of Famer-Dick Stanfel
SAN FRANCISCO – For a team that is celebrated for its attitude as much as it’s play, the pomp and circumstance of these past two weeks has been unparalleled since their crowning achievement.
A 30th anniversary celebration of the 1985 Bears Super Bowl championship included a reunion at Soldier Field and the release of a new film about their journey that season and since. It’s generated perhaps the most attention on the team since they brought home Chicago’s last championship on January 26, 1986.
With Super Bowl 50 being played on Sunday, the official celebration of the team effectively comes to an end. But once again, these two weeks of praise for the team has one last gift.
On Saturday night the offensive line coach for that team, the late Dick Stanfel, was among those named to the 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame. The former player and coach, who died June 22nd last year in Libertyville, becomes the sixth member of the team’s roster or coaching staff to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
He was one of two former Bears to be elected to the Class of 2016, though admittedly it might be a stretch with offensive lineman Orlando Pace who played just one season in Chicago back in 2009.
But Stanfel’s impact on the franchise and its greatest team was significant. Hired from the New Orleans Saints in 1981, Stanfel was one of the few coaches retained when Neil Armstrong was fired after that season. He stayed on new head coach Mike Ditka’s staff and under his guidance the Bears build one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
Under Stanfel’s tutelage the Bears rushed for 2,761 yards rushing in that 1985 season along with 27 touchdowns on the ground and a 4.5 yards per carry average. The “Black And Blues Brothers” line that included Keith Van Horne, Jimbo Covert, Jay Hilgenberg, Mark Bortz and Tom Thayer would help the Bears lead the league in rushing from 1983-1986 as Walter Payton gained over 1,000 yards on the ground in each of those seasons.
Stanfel would stay on Ditka’s staff until the coaching staff was replaced following the 1992 season. It was his final coaching job.
While successful with the Bears Stanfel also enjoyed a standout playing career as an offensive guard for the Lions and the Redskins from 1952-1958. He was a five-time first team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection and also helped the Lions to the 1952 and 1953 NFL Championship. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1950s.