Judge Dave Ryan is his own shufflin' crew, shufflin' on down, doin' it for you.
"#8 Maury Buford—Cowbell"
This is a DVD version of the 1985 Chicago Bears "Super Bowl Shuffle" music video.
Okay, now that you're the only ones still reading this—a big hello to all our Verdict readers in the greater Chicagoland area! I'm Dave. Nice to meet you all! I've twice had the occasion to visit your fine city on the banks of Lake Michigan, and enjoyed the experience each time. Thanks to my good friend Mike (hey, do you guys know Mike?), I was able to take in a Cubs game (from the bleachers, of course!), which they duly lost. We walked home from the game. Walked home! What a great thing! I've also visited the Page Museum, where I saw the fantastic Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton that's been named "Sue." I stayed in a lovely hotel by the Chicago River, near the Navy Pier (and ironically, right near where my friend Marc was living at the time). I even ran into Geraldo Rivera and Ben Kingsley at a toney whiskey bar on Michigan Avenue. And you people—what a nice bunch of folks. Didn't meet a single unfriendly person. All in all—great city; made a great impression on me.
Oh, by the way—I'm also a fan of the Patriots. You remember us—you beat us 46-10 in Super Bowl XX. Now don't get me wrong—we knew you were the better team. Hell, everyone in the world knew that. We just wanted to play hard, maybe keep the score close, and who knew—maybe we could actually steal the game if we were lucky. You know, good clean football entertainment involving two great sports towns who mirror each other in so many ways.
Okay, things were looking bad for us right off the bat, when tight end Lin Dawson—one of the few guys on the team who actually stood a chance of blocking one of your Bears linebackers—broke his arm early in the first quarter. But really—did you have to run up the score by letting William "The Refrigerator" Perry score a running touchdown? I mean, come on. The 39-10 lead just wasn't good enough for you? Are you all happy now? Huh?
Well, let me tell you—the Football Gods do not look kindly on such things. They generally exact a revenge. For example, the Bears haven't won squat since that Super Bowl. And now, everyone in the world again gets to see that legendary Bears team, chock full of Hall-of-Fame caliber players, cavorting to bad '80s synth-dance music while performing a "rap" for charity.
Yes, thanks to the good folks at MPI (a Chicago-based company, of course), you too can now own all six minutes of the masterpiece that is "The Super Bowl Shuffle." Thrill as Steve Fuller awkwardly raps! Gasp as you realize that Mike Singletary's glasses weren't fashionable even in 1985! Vomit as you remember what an absolute dick Jim McMahon was! Cry as you fear that the classy and talented, and sadly late, Walter Payton may somehow have his image tainted by his participation in this! Cheer as grown men dance like frightened fifth graders at a cotillion! Rock out to Mike Tomczak's fake guitar solo! Tremble as you witness the overpowering good looks of Gary Fencik, dater of hot Playboy playmates! Puzzle as you try to figure out who the hell Keith Ortego was! Gasp, puzzle, and vomit as you watch the "director" attempt to demonstrate how the players should be dancing!
Although this is nominally the "20th Anniversary Collector's Edition" of the Shuffle, I feel that it is my duty to point out that 1985 was actually only 19 years ago. (I mean to cast no aspersions on the mathematical abilities of the people of Chicago, however.) Regardless of the one year difference, time has not been kind to this performance. Lacking a budget, the video also lacks any semblance of production values. The Bears rap in front of a blue curtain, festooned with naught but a plywood "The Super Bowl Shuffle" sign. Nor does the talent these men showed on the gridiron necessarily translate into singing or rapping skills. With the exception of organizer/wide receiver (and former Olympic sprinter) Willie Gault, who actually isn't all that bad, these guys are just not very good. The music is (to steal a quote from my buddy Derek) "apparently one of the rejected themes from Beverly Hills Cop." (It does strike quite a Harold Faltermeyer tone, in fact.) All in all, there is nothing entertaining here—except for the laughable awfulness of the whole thing.
To pad out their offering, MPI adds over 20 minutes of "behind-the-scenes" footage (all of it without any narration), that includes some very short interviews with some of the players. The extra material does, indeed, take us behind the scenes of the making of the video. It took, like, all day to make! And—hold on to your seats, folks—some of the players weren't all that enthusiastic about the project! Perhaps they foresaw this day, in 2004, when their young children or grandchildren would confront them with this DVD and ask, with tears welling up in their innocent little eyes, "Daddy/Granddad, why do you suck so much on this disc?"
Of course if I know one thing in this world, it's that there are many, many people who will rush out to buy this disc just because it's a Bears-related product. (Those "Superfan" sketches they used to do on Saturday Night Live aren't far from the truth, kids.) For you folks: Sorry, but this package is Ditka-free. And for the record, I commend these Bears players for using their celebrity to help those less fortunate in Chicago. Laughably bad it is; but "The Super Bowl Shuffle" demonstrably helped to improve people's lives, and for that it just barely gets a passing grade.
I love Brian Piccolo. And tonight, when you get down on your knees to pray, I hope you ask God to love him too. And while you're at it, thank Him for sparing poor Brian and Gayle Sayers from the fate of having to appear in anything like "The Super Bowl Shuffle."
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• The Making of The Super Bowl Shuffle
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