By Chad Bonham
Super Bowl XX (January 26, 1986): Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10
Throughout the 1985 season, the Chicago Bears captured the imaginations of football fans across the country while dominating its opponents en route to a near-perfect 15-1 record. With colorful and equally talented figures like Jim McMahon, Walter Payton, William “The Refrigerator” Perry, Buddy Ryan, and Mike Ditka, no one could stop the storied franchise’s inevitable rise to NFL glory.
At Super Bowl XX, the upstart New England Patriots were no match for the Bears offensive firepower and defensive stinginess. In one of the most lopsided NFL Championship games ever, Chicago walked away with a convincing 46-10 victory.
Anchoring the Bears’ smothering defense was linebacker Mike Singletary or “Samurai Mike,” as teammates and fans often called him. Arguably one of the greatest linebackers to play the game, Singletary finished his career an eight-time All-Pro, nine-time All-NFC selection, 10-time Pro Bowl selection, and two-time Defensive Player of the Year. He was later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Singletary was also one of the NFL’s most intense competitors and became known for his iconic, intimidating wide-eyed stares across the line of scrimmage.
But several months after achieving his dream of winning a Super Bowl title, Singletary couldn’t understand why he wasn’t happy. Despite experiencing the best season of his professional career, he was frustrated, angry and depressed. It took some intense soul searching and a biblical message to help the NFL star move forward.
“At that time I was lukewarm,” Singletary said. “I was a Christian around Christians and I was somebody else on the football field. I was somebody else at home. The Lord was just calling me out and allowing me to see myself for who I was. God was saying, ‘You need to walk with me or get the heck away from me.’”
Singletary’s revelation was inspired by the apostle John’s message to the early Christians in Laodicea, a city that is located in present-day western Turkey. The church there had grown complacent and lost its passion for preaching the gospel.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)
From that moment on, Singletary made the decision to be more committed to his Christian faith.
“I took that challenge,” he explained. “I began to look at myself and recognize that I was hypocritical and that I was judgmental. I was very shallow. I had to deal with those things. I had to talk to my wife. I had to talk to my father and go through that whole process of forgiveness and really come to grips with the ugliness of my life. And as I began to do that, the Lord and I began to trade. I gave Him my ugliness in exchange for His wholeness and beauty and all of the things that He created me to be.”
This devotional is brought to you by Museum of the Bible, a 430,000 square foot museum being constructed 3 blocks south of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is set to open in November of 2017.
(Photos: AP Photo/NFL; Maria L. Taylor)