Guess who wore #18 for the Bears a while back? Mike Tomczak.
Reminds me of an old Ditka/Tomczak story.... The team was in the locker room at half time, after getting their asses wupped. Ditka knew he had to fire the team up. So he tears into the guys, calling them a bunch of ricecakes and other not-so-nice names. Then he tells the team you gotta be tough. "Tough like me. I'll show you pansies." So he drops his drawers, grabs a snapping turtle and lets it clamp down on his private parts for two minutes. Then he pokes it in the eye to make it let go and says: Any of you puffballs tough enough to do that?"
After a couple minutes of stunned silence, Mike Tomczak stood up and said "Coach, I think I can do that, but please, don't poke me in the eye!"
Although he was not drafted in the 1987 NFL Draft, Payton tried out for the Kansas City Chiefs for one day. In 1987, he played quarterback for the Chicago Bruisers and Pittsburgh Gladiators during the inaugural season of the Arena Football League, before his rights were sold for $1,000.00 to the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League. He was also a member of the Chicago Bears squad of strikebreaking replacement players, known as the "Spare Bears", during the 1987 NFL players strike. In 3 games he completed 8 of 23 passes (34.8%), for 79 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT, a passer rating of 27.3. He was also sacked 7 times for 47 yards and had one rush attempt for 28 yards. Coincidentally, his one interception came against the New Orleans Saints, the team he would later go on to coach to a Super Bowl victory.
A Spare Bear? Reminds me of an old Ditka golfing story (not really sure of that connection myself, but, MSU)...
Ditka once played 18 holes of golf using the tail of a lion and a marshmallow. He had no opponents because the lion running around the course without his tail scared everybody else away.
Halas, who had doubts the small school Musso could make it in the NFL, offered Musso a $90 a game contract (this was half rate for regular players at that time). Musso agreed and, although he struggled at first, became the centerpiece of the Bears line for 12 years. One reason the Bears of that era were called "Monsters of the Midway" was their imposing size—Musso, who played professionally at 270 pounds, was one of the largest Bears and one of the largest players in the league. His teammates called him "Moose." He played offensive tackle until 1937 when he moved to guard. He was the first to win All-NFL at two positions; tackle (1935), and guard (1937). He played middle guard or nose tackle on defense his entire career. Musso captained the Chicago Bears for nine seasons, playing on the line with other NFL notables as Link Lyman, Joe Kopcha, Walt Kiesling, Bulldog Turner, Joe Stydahar, and Danny Fortmann. He played in seven NFL championship games, with the Bears winning four (1933, 1940, 1941, and 1943). He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982. Of note, in 1935 as an NFL lineman, Musso played against Gerald Ford of Michigan in the 1935 College All-Star game. Without a doubt, Musso is the only NFL player, to have played against two U.S. Presidents. (He played against Ronald Reagan in a college game)
On a side note, Musso reminds me of Butkus. He never went to the dentist because his teeth were unbreakable. His opponents never went to the dentist because they had no teeth.
15. A lot of no-name players wore #15. Let's go with Mike Phipps for no real reason.
Phipps was traded to the Bears (from the Browns) for a first round draft pick in 1978, which turned out to be Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome. He saw minimal action during the 1977 NFL season, threw for two touchdowns (along with 10 interceptions) the next year, but saw his most extensive action in 1979. During that year, he threw for 1,535 yards and nine touchdowns, as he battled teammates Bob Avellini and Vince Evans for playing time.
Phipps threw for a pair of touchdowns in each of the next two seasons, but his limited role and the arrival of both quarterback Jim McMahon in the 1982 NFL draft and new coach Mike Ditka resulted in his release.
On a side note, Phipps certainly was no Ditka. He wasn't even a superhero. My reasoning? A superhero saves the day. Ditka saves superheros.