Let’s Watch A Music Video: Super Bowl Shuffle

The NFL football season is still young, and after months of waiting, I’m glad I can watch my Chicago Bears take the field.  I consider the 2014 season to be the first of which I am “all in” as a fan of a team I can call my own.   Last season, I had an interest in the team, but didn’t follow them very closely.

I decided to become a full-time Bears backer shortly after the Super Bowl.  Why I waited until then is beyond me.  It helped make this off-season longer than any I can remember.  I’d do my best to keep the team on my radar by following their drafting and free agent signings, grabbing the odd trinket or collectible of the team, and I’d do some reading up and looking into their history.  By most accounts, the year that shines brightest in the team’s existence history is 1985.

1985 was as notable a year as any in that decade.  The Discovery Channel first launched their educational programming into American living rooms, the Live Aid concerts rocked the world’s eardrums for a good cause, and the remains of the Titanic were discovered.  Oh, and I was born that year.  It may not have been as Earth-shaking an event as the launch of New Coke, but certainly not without any significance.  For football fans, though, it was undoubtedly the year of the Bears.

Sure, their offense was entertaining to fans, with running back Walter Payton being the focal point, but this season they were known for their utter dominance on defense.  Among their defensive highlights was ranking first in the league with the fewest points surrendered (198), holding 11 teams to 10 or fewer points in the regular season, and shutting out two of the three teams they faced in the post-season (The Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants).   They only lost one game all season, and capped it off by their 46-10 thrashing of the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.   They knew it must have been destiny, because weeks prior to their arrival in Super Bowl XX they took part in the ultimate brag. And you know what they say: it ain’t bragging if you can back it up.

 

(Watch The Super Bowl Shuffle video here)

 

superbowlshuffle

 

This video was the launching point for a seemingly endless stream of sports teams getting behind the mike, and singing as if nobody was watching.  They ranged from basketball, to hockey, and back to football teams, many of which didn’t get close the Bears’ level of success.   It had been done before, and it’s been done since, but the Super Bowl Shuffle is by far the most iconic.  The song’s legacy is further cemented by the mass of parodies that it continues to inspire to date.  In spite of all of this, it is arguably just the second most popular shuffle of the year.

Some laid back in the backing band (with cornerback / sax “player” Calvin Thomas stealing the show), and there were a few no-shows (including future Hall of Fame defensive tackle Dan Hampton), so only a handful got to sing lead.

I’m a fan of rap and hip-hop, and I’m also a fan of taking light-hearted lyrics far too literally.  That being said, indulge me as I walk through the Super Bowl Shuffle starting lineup.  In order of appearance, let’s see how they fared.

(Lyric transcription source: http://www.metrolyrics.com/super-bowl-shuffle-lyrics-1985-chicago-bears.html  )

Walter Payton (running back #34)

walterpayton

Notable On-Field Achievements:

Two-time NFL Most Valuable Player

Nine-time Pro Bowl Selection

Retired #1 all-time leader in rushing yards (now #2 behind Emmitt Smith)

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993

Named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team

I could go on all day

Notable Off-Field Achievements:

Co-hosted Saturday Night Live with fellow NFLer Joe Montana.  This is the only video I could find, but this photo of him as Michael Jackson is much more amusing.

The Rap:

Well, they call me Sweetness,
And I like to dance.
Runnin’ the ball is like makin’ romance.
We’ve had the goal since training camp
To give Chicago a Super Bowl Champ.
And we’re not doin’ this
Because we’re greedy.
The Bears are doin’ it to feed the needy.
We didn’t come here to look for trouble,
We just came here to do
The Super Bowl Shuffle.

Thoughts:

Based on some analogies, I question Mr. Payton’s idea of a good time in the bedroom. How to compare being a running back to making love?   You cradle the ball, so that might be close. But you cradle a baby, not a woman. The act of running itself I see no connection.

Why run with the football?   The objective would be to score (oh yeah!!) a touchdown. But to get a touchdown, you try to minimize body contact and, ideally, avoid it altogether. That doesn’t sound all that romantic to me.  At best, I’m seeing a little boy all tense, tight-lipped, and with his eyes closed awaiting a dreaded kiss from an elderly relative.  Other images that spring to mind include artificial insemination and making out through the dividing glass during a prison visit.

I don’t think anybody would’ve question their greed for this spectacle. If this song wasn’t for charity, the rumours of the recording alone would bankrupt a record label. I doubt there were any expectations for these guys to bust into the rap game, especially with the likes of Public Enemy and N.W.A. about to break out. If that was Payton’s intention, I don’t think there’d be a sweat band in the world that could contain that head.

 

Willie Gault (wide receiver #83)

williegault

Notable On-Field Achievements:

All-American (1982)

Notable Off-Field Achievement:

He had a bit of an acting career, but what’s more impressive is his post-football athletics.  He was a notable collegiate track athlete, and he continues to make his mark on the sport in his fifties.

The Rap:

This is Speedy Willie, and I’m world class.
I like runnin’ but i love to get the pass.
I practice all day and dance all night,
I got to get ready for the Sunday fight.
Now I’m as smooth as a chocolate swirl,
I dance a little funky, so watch me girl.
There’s not one here that does it like me,
My Super Bowl Shuffle will set you free.

Thoughts:

We get off to a roaring start, revealing a nickname a bitter ex-girlfriend must’ve given him.  I like seeing him get all caught up in the song, living up to his spoken enthusiasm for dance.  He appears to be the only Bear here that isn’t moving like he’s trying to awaken a numb foot.

It’s too bad that this dancing of his will lead to trouble.  If he’s up dancing all night, that would rob from his effectiveness come game time.  If he’s doing so out in the clubs, he’s breaking the team’s curfew.  Being as smooth as a chocolate swirl can’t get you out of that sort of trouble.  The only kind of swirl he’d be seeing is a career going down the drain.

 

Mike Singletary (linebacker #50)

mikesingletary

Notable On-Field Achievements:

10-time Pro Bowl selection

9-time All-Pro selection (8 First Team, 1 Second Team)

2-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1985, 1989)

Named to the NFL 1980’s All-Decade Team

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998

Notable Off-Field Achievement:

This classic press conference.

The Rap:

I’m Samurai Mike I stop’em cold.
Part of the defense, big and bold,
I’ve been jammin’ for quite a while,
Doin’ what’s right and settin’ the style,
Give me a chance, I’ll rock you good,
Nobody messin’ in my neighborhood.
I didn’t come here lookin’ for trouble,
I just came to do The Super Bowl Shuffle

Thoughts:

Damn that’s a deep voice!  And so distinct!  He should have done voice-over work.  Surely the Island of Misfit Toys could’ve found a home for a character as lovable as Samurai Mike, the the sweet little warrior who’s afraid of his own shadow.   For any fact-checkers out there, I know Mike Singletary was just six years old when that TV special first aired, but I take his “jammin’ for quite a while” claim as gospel.  He could’ve put down his Mr. Potato Head for a second to churn out a few lines.

Everyone has shared a nickname thus far. I’m still not fully versed in my Bears history, but I’m going to assume at least a few of these originated from this song.  It was mandatory that you had a memorable nickname or else you’d be relegated to cowbell duty like Maury “Midnight Cowboy” Buford, congas like Reggie “The Accountant” Phillips, or an unsung background vocalist like Leslie “Sleeps With A Nightlight” Frazier.

They got a bit lazy here.   The last two lines are practically the same as Walter Payton’s. There’s plenty of words that make a better rhyme for shuffle than trouble.  Some suggestions, if I may:

I put my pads into a duffel

Before I go and do the Super Bowl Shuffle

or

My ego got me in a scuffle

I lost, and was forced to sing the Super Bowl Shuffle

or

With your last breath, the truth sounds muffled

“I wish I learned to do the Super Bowl Shuffle”

 

Depending on the tone your after.

 

Jim McMahon (quarterback #9)

jimmcmahon

Notable On-Field Achievements:

Two-time All-American

Winner of both the Davey O’Brien Award and Sammy Baugh Trophy in 1981

Inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999

1985 Pro Bowl selection

1991 NFL Comeback Player of The Year

Notable Off-Field Achievements:

He runs an apparel business, Swang Wear, with proceeds going towards the Lynda McMahon Ferguson Foundation to help expand literacy.

The Rap:

I’m the punky QB, known as McMahon.
When I hit the turf, I’ve got no plan.
I just throw my body all over the field.
I can’t dance, but I can throw the pill.
I motivate the cats, I like to tease.
I play so cool, I aim to please.
That’s why you all got here on the double
To catch me doin’ the Super Bowl Shuffle.

Thoughts:

If I didn’t know better, I would never have thought Jim McMahon had ever played a game of football in his life. Apparently, his more improvised style gave coach Ditka headaches and left him tearing his hair out (and what hair!!).  Surely there’s some game planning on his part, for Ditka’s sake at least, and he put some hours in watching game film.  And as much as I wish it, Jim, this doesn’t count.

And listen to these terms he throws around. Cats?   He’s hip with the jazz lingo, but how’s that going to help him when Charles Martin bears down on him?

Pill? I know that the pill is slang for a football, but I fear for the children on this one. I’m not sure exactly what the NFL’s drug policy was at the time, but this could have given kids the wrong impression of how athletes prepare for games. I mean, did they even consider putting pigskin in the rhyming scheme?

It’s of no help to the viewer that McMahon (and Payton) were projected into the video after the initial shoot, giving them the appearance of ghost-like figures against an even more horrifying backdrop.  I’m sure kids would love having hallucinations where their football heroes bust forth from their TVs, and since they seldom televised this video in the following years, some kids might have gone to extraordinary measures to bring that magic back into their lives.  God bless them, though, as I want to believe one of them was the first to synchronize The Wizard of Oz with The Dark Side of The Moon.

 

Otis Wilson (linebacker #55)

otiswilson

Notable On-Field Achievements:

Pro Bowl selection (1985)

Two All-Pro selections (1984, 1985)

Notable Off-Field Achievements:

Long retired from football, he now spends his days tackling moving companies that don’t play fair.

The Rap:

I’m mama’s boy Otis, one of a kind.
The ladies all love me
For my body and my mind.
I’m slick on the floor as I can be
But ain’t no sucker gonna get past me.
Some guys are jealous
Of my style and class,
That’s why some end up on their -,
I didn’t come here lookin’ for trouble,
I just get down to The Super Bowl Shuffle.

Thoughts:

What’s not to like about a nickname like “Mama’s Boy”? Sounds like a well-adjusted guy already (cough Norman Bates cough).

We’ve got a bit of censorship here with Otis.  Blow the whistle all you want, but I want to know where the flag is.  Let’s keep this true to the sport.  “Unsportsmanlike conduct, number 55, five-line penalty, please don’t repeat first chorus.”  And, yes, I knew that joke would turn out lame before I even finished it.

And what reason is there for the profanity?  All because a few guys have a little envy, he threatens violence against them.  Over-react much?  Otis, they just want to know who tailors your suits.  They aren’t asking for your first-born child.  Now they’ve got no chance of competing from a hospital bed with tubes sticking out their noses.  Is that really the way you want to win here?

Now we have the third guy using the same closing rhymes. I’m not even going to attempt to give him recommendations.  I’m writing this thing as if they could time-travel and right some of the wrongs I point out.  I’ll admit if that was in the realm of possibility for them, they’d seek advice from someone other than some cynical, semi-regular blogger from Canada.  Or they’d at least look for one that played a little football in high school.

 

Steve Fuller (quarterback #4)

stevefuller

Notable On-Field Achievements:

ACC Player of The Year (1978)

Inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame, and had his jersey number retired by the school

Notable Off-Field Achievements:

Google was not my friend with Mr. Fuller.  I’d like to think the fact his 1980 Topps rookie card is worth every cent of the $1.10 CDN it sells for on eBay not for his playing career, but because he’s such a good neighbour.

The Rap:

They say Jimbo is our man.
If Jimmy can’t do it, I sure can.
This is Steve, and it’s no wonder
I run like lightnin’, pass like thunder.
So bring on Atlanta, bring on Dallas,
This is for Mike and Papa Bear Halas.
I’m not here to feather his ruffle,
I just came here to do
The Super Bowl Shuffle.

Thoughts:

Oh, boy! I’m going to dwell on this one for a while.

Interesting choice giving the backup QB a verse.  He did see some significant playing time that year, but still.  Rapping about being a backup is about as credible as rapping about being a substitute teacher.  Heck, they even gave third string QB Mike Tomczak a guitar, so the powers that be must’ve either not trusted the rest of the Bears starters to do an effective job or they just wanted to get a few more white guys involved.   At least the dude took appropriate lessons in air guitaring.  He must’ve learned from the best.

He was a challenge to grab an appropriate screen capture since he won’t hold still.  He’s bobbing his head back and forth to his right with the reluctance of someone doing this on a dare or with the giddy playfulness of a drunken co-worker at an office Christmas party.

Pass like thunder?   Lightning’s quick, so I’d see that as a valid line.  Thunder is a noise, which I’d associate more with negative things like the sound of an incomplete pass hitting a receiver down by his shoelaces, a throw to a well-covered player taking on a big hit, or the roar from the crowd at Lambeau Field when a Packer intercepts the ball for a pick-six.

Brave to call out Atlanta and Dallas, Stevie.  They beat these teams in the regular season by a combined score of 80-0 on consecutive games.  Atlanta (4-12) and Dallas (10-6) weren’t much of a threat to the 15-1 Bears.  Way to pick your battles!  Why not bring up Miami?  Better yet, why not challenge a good team that you never had the chance to meet that season like the Raiders?  Call ’em out WWF promo style by putting your championship belt (or ring, in his case) on the line.

Feather his ruffle is thinking a bit outside of the box for lyrics, but it comes across as nonsensical Yoda-speak.   He was just aching to step away from that mic, and turn it over to the next guy.   For that, I won’t hate on his butchering of a sci-fi icon.

 

Mike Richardson (cornerback #27)

mikerichardson

Notable On-Field Achievement:

All-Pro selection (1986)

Notable Off-Field Achievement:

He seems to have been the only one here affected by a Madden Curse level of tragedy in his post-playing career, but his team-mates have nothing but positive things to say about him and he has seemed to recover from his hardships nicely.

The Rap:

I’m L.A. Mike, and I play it cool.
They don’t sneak by me ’cause I’m no fool.
I fly on the field and get on down.
Everybody knows I don’t mess around.
I can break’em, shake’em,
Any time of day.
I like to steal it and make ’em pay,
So please don’t cry to beat my hustle
‘Cause I’m just here to do
The Super Bowl Shuffle.

Thoughts:

He sounds a little nervous here, with his voice changing pitch and cracking a few times.   It’s almost as if he’s trying to impersonate someone, and he keeps trying to make adjustments so he can get it right.  Be yourself, Mikey!   You’ll shine through. Just look at your competition.

Aside from that, I can’t really fault most of his lyrics. They all make immediate sense to me, but hearing break’em and shake’em next to each other always reminds me of a dinnertime staple growing up, Shake n Bake.  It’s not his fault that my mind goes there, and certainly not his intent, but thanks for the nostalgia trip.

I’m scratching my head on how crying would assist you in beating a hustle.  If he hustles well enough to pick off a pass, do you think he’s going to hand the ball over to Jerry Rice just because Joe Montana starts to get a little dewy-eyed?  Not only would that show a good heart (matched with a bad brain), but also impeccable vision.  If I had the ability to spot tear drops 20 yards down field… the possibilities… Waldo‘s whereabouts would never be in question.

Thankfully, the lyrics I found were incorrect, and he said “try” rather than “cry”.  Damned internet lets me down yet again.  I should have listened more closely, but I also should have been sceptical about a website that thinks listening to Len will instantly put me in a good mood.  I find Napalm Death works best.

 

Richard Dent (defensive lineman #95)

richarddent

Notable On-Field Achievements:

Named MVP of Super Bowl XX

137.5 career sacks

Four-time Pro Bowl and Five-time All-Pro selection

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011

Notable Off-Field Achievement:

In spite of what artistic merit this song does or doesn’t have, Richard Dent was a college art major, and is an art hobbyist through both collecting and creating his own work.

The Rap:

The sackman’s comin’, I’m your man Dent.
if the quarterback’s slow,
He’s gonna get bent.
We stop the run, we stop the pass,
I like to dump guys on their -.
We love to play for the world’s best fans,
You better start makin’
Your Super Bowl plans.
But don’t get ready or go to any trouble
Unless you practice
The Super Bowl Shuffle.

Thoughts:

It’s little known that Dent acquired the Sackman moniker prior to joining the Bears.  Fraternity initiations can be so cruel.

I picked the saddest frame of the whole video for Dent’s screen capture. It was the first attempt, and I see no reason to change it.   I imagine he had a similar look of disappointment on his face when he arrived at this video shoot and was stunned to see someone chose the same outfit as him.  He’s also hoping that such ill-timed fashion faux pas don’t occur in the future.

Here we have the second case of censorship in the video. The whistle was put to work twice on the same word. I’ll try to whip up a few fresh rhymes for him to choose from for their next reunion.

My tackling skills make them want to duck

Do what you want I don’t give a f***

or

If my skills make you want to quit

Deep down, you’ll learn your life ain’t sh**

 

Today, you can say “ass” on basic cable, and I don’t think it was that different 29 years ago.  If you’re going to be bleeped, nothing makes it more worthwhile than to kick a man while he’s down.  Even if that man is better at battle-rap, it’s a risk worth taking.

Gary Fencik (safety #45)

garyfencik

Notable On-Field Achievements:

All-Pro 1st Team selection (1981)

All-Pro 2nd Team selection (1985)

Two-time Pro Bowl selection (1980, 1981)

Bears all-time interceptions leader (38)

Notable Off-Field Achievement:

He was apparently considered quite the photogenic man, being featured in notable magazines including the cover of GQ and in an issue of Playboy (though who’d be looking at him when he’s next to her?).

The Rap:

It’s Gary here, and I’m Mr.Clean.
They call me “hit man,”
Don’t know what they mean.
They throw it long and watch me run,
I’m on my man, one-on-one.
Buddy’s guys cover it down to the bone,
That’s why they call us the 46 zone.
Come on everybody let’s scream and yell,
We’re goin’ to do the Shuffle,
Then ring your bell.

Thoughts:

He can’t even determine where such an obvious football nickname was derived from.  In hindsight, this must have been a ploy to brush off those rumours of a solo career.  There’s also no need to point out to him which of the lines above is sexually ambiguous because he wouldn’t know what that means either.

Gary sounds like he’s delivering every line like he’s asking a question.  This is the reason that I maintain the players should have written their own lyrics.  There’d be no need for someone to get all silly and start sticking it to “the man” by coming off all sarcastic with his vocals.   Allowing for creative input from the players would do wonders for some of the more listless soliloquies.  Furthermore, they’d get more street cred here by injecting some of the trash-talk they’re used to on the field.

He closes it off with the most effeminate finger point I’ve ever seen a football player gesture.  If you ask me, I think he’s doing it to mock the choreographer.

 

William “Refrigerator” Perry (defensive lineman#72)

williamperry

Notable On-Field Achievement:

Consensus first-team All-American (1983)

Notable Off-Field Achievement:

He may have accumulated more notoriety for his work away from football.  While appearing in an episode of The A-Team and being in the WWE Hall of Fame are nice, who wouldn’t want to have their own G.I. Joe figure?

The Rap:

You’re lookin’ at the Fridge,
I’m the rookie.
I may be large, but I’m no dumb cookie.
You’ve seen me hit, you’ve seen me run,
When I kick and pass, we’ll have more fun.
I can dance, you will see
The others, they all learn from me.
I don’t come here lookin’ for trouble,
I just came here to do
The Super Bowl Shuffle.

Thoughts:

That rookie/cookie pairing is pretty cute, but I don’t keep my cookies in the refrigerator.  They’ll get too moist, soggy, and stick together if they’re covered in frosting.  I’m just saying that there’s plenty of food that benefits more from some time in the fridge.  Not dumb cookies, but smarter choices like eggs, milk, and fresh strawberry jam.  I find celery with a touch of peanut butter also makes for a very satisfying snack.  I don’t mind if you keep the PB in the cupboard, but always, and I mean always, store your celery in the vegetable crisper.

There seems to be some controversy among the Bears as to who’s the better dancer.  I believe the saying “Those who can’t, teach.” applies here.  It looks like he’s attempting some form of “raising the roof”, but he could either be trying to signal for rescue, demonstrate how to shake off cobwebs or how to fend yourself against a swarm of bees.  Doing arm stuff while dancing is a tactic to distract from the fact your legs aren’t doing much at all.  It’s sort of like how mimes exaggerate physical movements to make up for their lack of props and sounds, or how people that talk with their hands always have bad teeth.

 

And there we have it.  Hopefully, you are now better off for witnessing the true meaning of teamwork.  I hope none of the players involved are bothered by my little curiosities about this most ultimate of curiosities.  In the case they are, I can wedgie myself.  I had plenty of practice going through that in high school.  Don’t ask me how, though.  I wasn’t even bullied.

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