Despite his on-field success with the Chicago Bears, Steve McMichael has yet to receive a call welcoming him to Canton, Ohio, as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One of his former teammates is now trying to make that happen.
Jim McMahon, the Bears’ quarterback from 1982-88, has helped launch a petition to help McMichael’s Hall of Fame cause. The petition’s goal is to get 15,000 signatures; there were nearly 12,500 as of this writing. McMichael announced last spring that he is battling ALS.
“I think it’d be awesome,” McMahon said about McMichael being inducted into the Hall of Fame, via WGN Radio. “He was an awesome teammate. He brought it every day. I mean he practiced like he played. He made our team better because of that. He made our offensive guys work and that’s what teammates are supposed to do. Make each other better and he did that.”
One of best players on the Bears’ vaunted “46” defense, McMichael earned his first of three consecutive Pro Bowl honors in 1985 while helping Chicago capture its only Lombardi Trophy. A two-time All-Pro, McMichael had 92.5 career sacks for Chicago, second in franchise history. McMichael and Dan Hampton (a 2002 Hall of Fame inductee) formed one of the greatest defensive duos in NFL history, a duo that totaled 88.5 sacks from 1984-88.
“Those two guys at the point of attack were as good as anything I’ve ever been around coaching or playing,” former teammate and current Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera told The Athletic in July of 2020.
McMichael’s presence helped the ’85 Bears lead the NFL in scoring defense. After shutting out the Giants and Rams in the playoffs, Chicago held the Patriots to just 123 total yards (including just seven rushing yards) while forcing six turnovers in the Bears’ 46-10 win in Super Bowl XX.
“People view that team as a life event,” McMichael said during a 2019 interview with Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune. “On both ends of the spectrum, good life event or bad life event, people remember everything. You remember exactly where you were sitting. You can see the tchotchkes in the room. Most of life fades. But life events? … What people experienced with that team, they will never forget.”
A fan favorite during — and long after — his playing days, McMichael never missed a game during his 13 years with the Bears. He holds the franchise record for consecutive games played at 191.
“That’s resolve,” McMichael said of his streak. “You find out who you are, my friend. And when that adrenaline is flowing, baby, that’s the painkiller that can’t be matched anywhere in the world. That’s the juice you’re going to miss when you can’t do it anymore.”
McMichael, 64, was first diagnosed in January of 2021. A second opinion later confirmed the diagnosis. The Bears provided him with a customized wheelchair; McMichael’s wife, Misty, has also helped him navigate through his physical limitations. A GoFundMe page has been created to help cover the cost of medical care.
“I’m glad, in my life, I never held back anything,” McMichael said when he announced his ALS diagnosis. “I went at it full bore and did a lot of things in my life.”
McMahon and McMichael’s publicist, Betsy Shepherd, is hoping the petition will help open the door for McMichael to join several of his former teammates in the Hall of Fame.
“He needs to see this,” Shepherd said during a recent radio interview. “He needs to know that he made it, finally.”