WGN’s coverage of the 1985 Bears’ NFC Championship game win


CHICAGO – Over the course of 2023, WGN Television is proudly celebrating its 75th anniversary of being “Chicago’s Very Own.”

A lot of that history concerns sports in the city, which have been featured either on live broadcasts of games or on the news since the station came on the air in 1948.

In a salute to that, WGN News Now is reflecting on the coverage that we had of some major sports moments in Chicago history in “Channel 9 Was There.” We’ll spotlight some of the big games or happenings that have made a major impact on the sporting landscape.

Thursday’s edition goes back 37 years ago exactly to a triumphant day at Soldier Field.

(AP Photo/Fred Jewell)

On January 12, 1986, the Bears took on the Rams in the NFC Championship at Soldier Field, hoping to advance to their first Super Bowl after failing to do so the year before.

A 23-0 loss at the hands of the 49ers in the conference title game the year before motivated the 1985 team as they went 15-1, dominating a number of games they played along the way.

That wouldn’t change on this winter day along the lakefront as the Bears were in control the entire way against their opponent from Los Angeles. Quarterback Jim McMahon ran in a touchdown in the first quarter and threw another to Willie Gault in the third with a Kevin Butler field goal mixed in.

Those points were more than enough for a dominant defense that recorded a second-straight playoff shutout, holding the Rams to just 130 total yards and forcing three turnovers. The last of those was an iconic moment in team history, as Wilbur Marshall recovered a fumble around midfield and returned it for a touchdown as the snow started to fly.

The 24-0 victory clinched the Bears a spot in Super Bowl XX, where they would beat the Patriots 46-10.

Larry Hawley takes a look back at his iconic moment in “Channel 9 Was There” as part of WGN’s 75 anniversary celebration, and you can see that in the vide oabove.

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