Steve 'Mongo' McMichael: NFL Star and Wrestling Icon
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Steve McMichael, nicknamed "Mongo," is a former NFL defensive tackle and professional wrestler who played 15 seasons in the league, primarily with the Chicago Bears. Recently selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2024, McMichael's career was marked by his toughness, durability, and impact on the field, including a Super Bowl victory with the Bears in 1985.


Steve McMichael's Texas Roots and Accolades
Steve McMichael was born on October 17, 1957, in Houston, Texas. He attended Freer High School in Texas, where he demonstrated exceptional athletic abilities across multiple sports, including football, basketball, baseball, track, tennis, and golf. McMichael's collegiate career was spent at the University of Texas at Austin, where he played football from 1976 to 1979. During his time with the Longhorns, McMichael distinguished himself as an All-American defensive tackle, showcasing the skills that would later define his professional career. His outstanding performance in college football set the stage for his entry into the NFL, where he would go on to become a key player for the Chicago Bears and earn his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. favicon favicon favicon
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Steve McMichael's NFL Journey: Drafted by the Patriots in 1980
Steve McMichael entered the NFL when the New England Patriots selected him in the third round (73rd overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft. Despite his college success, McMichael's tenure with the Patriots was short-lived. He played in only six regular-season games for New England before being released prior to the start of the 1981 season. McMichael's aggressive playing style and off-field behavior reportedly clashed with the Patriots' expectations. As he later recalled, "I would fight in practice and I would stay out all night in the Combat Zone," referring to Boston's adult entertainment district. The Patriots coaches told him, "Steve, we think you might be able to be a second-stringer in the league, but we think you're the criminal element, so get out." This early setback, however, paved the way for McMichael's legendary career with the Chicago Bears, who signed him as a free agent in 1981. favicon favicon favicon
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Steve McMichael Joins the Chicago Bears as a Free Agent in 1981
Steve McMichael's career with the Chicago Bears began in 1981 when they signed him as a free agent, initially as a backup to Hall of Famer Alan Page. McMichael quickly established himself as a cornerstone of the Bears' defense, playing 13 seasons and setting a franchise record with 191 consecutive games played. His durability and consistent performance earned him two Pro Bowl selections (1986, 1987) and three consecutive first-team All-Pro honors (1985-1987). McMichael was a key contributor to the Bears' dominant defense of the 1980s, helping the team win six division championships and Super Bowl XX in 1986. He finished his Bears career with 92.5 sacks, second only to Hall of Famer Richard Dent in team history, and led the team in sacks twice (1988 and 1992). McMichael's impact on the field and his ability to adapt to the Bears' aggressive style of play made him an integral part of one of the most formidable defenses in NFL history. favicon favicon favicon
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Steve McMichael's Final Season with Packers
Steve McMichael concluded his illustrious NFL career with a surprising one-year stint with the Green Bay Packers in 1994. After 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears, McMichael signed a one-year contract with the Packers on June 8, 1994, in what was described as "the most outrageous turn yet of an unconventional career". During his final season, McMichael played in all 16 games for the Packers, recording 2.5 sacks. Despite his long-standing rivalry with Green Bay as a Bear, McMichael later humorously reflected on his time with the Packers, saying, "For 13 years, I helped the Bears beat the Packers every year. I whupped their ass, right? So the last year, I went up there on my last leg and I wasn't any good anymore. So I stole their money and whipped their ass again!" This final chapter in McMichael's career showcased his enduring competitiveness and wit, even as he transitioned away from his iconic tenure with the Bears. favicon favicon favicon
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The 'Mongo' Nickname Origin

The nickname "Mongo" for Steve McMichael originated from the character Mongo in the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy film "Blazing Saddles." In the movie, Mongo was a large, powerful, and somewhat dim-witted character played by former NFL player Alex Karras. The nickname was likely given to McMichael due to his imposing physical presence and strength on the football field, drawing parallels to the film character's attributes. Interestingly, the name "Mongo" has been used in various contexts, including as a nickname for other individuals and even as inspiration for naming products like the MongoDB database, though in the latter case it was derived from "humongous" rather than the film character. favicon favicon favicon
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Legendary Bears Defensive Tackle

McMichael's Role in the 1985 Bears Defense

Steve McMichael played a crucial role in the legendary 1985 Chicago Bears defense, widely considered one of the greatest defensive units in NFL history. As a defensive tackle, McMichael was part of a formidable defensive line that included fellow Hall of Famers Dan Hampton and Richard Dent. The Bears' defense dominated the league that year, leading in several major categories including points allowed, interceptions, and rushing yards allowed. McMichael's consistency and ability to occupy blockers allowed linebackers like Mike Singletary to make plays, contributing to the team's overall defensive success. This dominant defense propelled the Bears to a Super Bowl XX victory, where they forced five turnovers and held the New England Patriots to just 123 total yards. McMichael's performance earned him All-Pro honors in 1985, solidifying his place as a key component of this historic defensive unit. favicon favicon favicon
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Impressive Stats and Records: Steve McMichael's NFL Career Highlights

Steve McMichael's NFL career was marked by impressive statistics and records, particularly during his tenure with the Chicago Bears. Here's a concise overview of some of his notable career achievements:
Games Played213
Consecutive Games (Bears)191
Total Tackles847
Forced Fumbles13
Fumble Recoveries17
Pro Bowl Selections2 (1986, 1987)
All-Pro Selections5
Super Bowl Wins1 (XX)
McMichael's durability and consistent performance are evident in his franchise record of 191 consecutive games played for the Bears. He ranks second in Bears history with 92.5 sacks, behind only Hall of Famer Richard Dent. His career total of 95 sacks places him fourth all-time among defensive tackles in NFL history. These statistics underscore McMichael's impact as a key player in one of the most dominant defenses in NFL history. favicon favicon favicon
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Mongo's Gridiron Legacy (Interviews)


Steve McMichael's Post-Football Career: Transition to Professional Wrestling
After retiring from football, Steve McMichael transitioned to professional wrestling, initially appearing in the WWF as an enforcer for Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania XI. He then joined WCW in 1995 as a commentator before becoming an active wrestler. McMichael's most notable wrestling achievement came when he joined the legendary Four Horsemen stable, led by Ric Flair. As a member of the Horsemen, McMichael won his first and only championship in pro wrestling, defeating Jeff Jarrett for the WCW United States Title in 1997. Despite being a novice in the ring, McMichael was known for his entertaining personality and received respect from his peers for his effort and dedication to the craft. favicon favicon favicon
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Coaching and Political Pursuits
After his football and wrestling careers, Steve McMichael continued to stay involved in sports and public life. In 2007, he became the head coach of the Chicago Slaughter, an indoor football team in the Continental Indoor Football League. McMichael led the team for several years, with his tenure extending to 2013. During his time as coach, the Slaughter experienced success, including an undefeated season in 2009. McMichael's coaching style was characterized by his passion for the game and his ability to motivate players, drawing from his experiences as a professional athlete. In addition to coaching, McMichael pursued opportunities in media, working as a sports radio commentator in Chicago. His colorful personality and deep knowledge of football made him a popular figure in local sports media. In 2013, McMichael ventured into politics, running for mayor of Romeoville, Illinois, though his campaign was ultimately unsuccessful. These diverse post-career endeavors showcased McMichael's versatility and his continued desire to remain in the public eye and contribute to his community. favicon favicon favicon
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Steve McMichael's Family and ALS Battle
Steve McMichael's personal life has been marked by both joy and challenges. He has been married twice, with his current wife Misty playing a crucial role in his recent health struggles. McMichael was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in January 2021, a devastating condition that has significantly impacted his mobility and speech. Despite these challenges, Misty has been a tireless advocate for her husband, spearheading efforts to get him inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The couple's resilience was evident when Misty lifted Steve's do-not-resuscitate order in August 2023, determined to see him live to witness his Hall of Fame induction. McMichael's battle with ALS has garnered significant public support, with former teammates and fans rallying around the Bears legend. In February 2024, McMichael was hospitalized for pneumonia but was subsequently released, demonstrating his ongoing fight against the disease. favicon favicon favicon
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Steve McMichael Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024
Steve McMichael was selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2024, a long-awaited recognition of his exceptional NFL career. McMichael, who played 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears from 1981-93, was chosen as one of three Senior finalists and received the required 80 percent of votes from the 50-member Selection Committee. His selection is particularly poignant given his ongoing battle with ALS, diagnosed in April 2021. McMichael's wife, Misty, has been instrumental in advocating for his induction and plans to help him attend the ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on August 3, 2024, despite the challenges posed by his condition. This honor solidifies McMichael's legacy as one of the greatest defensive tackles in NFL history, with his 95.0 career sacks ranking fourth all-time for his position. favicon favicon favicon
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Steve McMichael's Enduring Legacy

Steve McMichael's legacy extends far beyond his impressive statistics and accolades on the football field. His toughness, durability, and relentless spirit embodied the essence of the Chicago Bears and the city they represent. As a key member of the legendary 1985 Bears defense, McMichael helped redefine defensive dominance in the NFL, cementing his place in football history. Off the field, McMichael's larger-than-life personality and his successful transition to professional wrestling further endeared him to fans. His induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2024 serves as a fitting tribute to his impact on the game and his enduring legacy. However, it is McMichael's ongoing battle with ALS that has truly showcased the strength of his character and the unwavering support of his loved ones, particularly his wife Misty. As he continues to fight this devastating disease, the football community has rallied around him, demonstrating the profound impact he has had on his teammates, coaches, and fans alike. Steve McMichael's journey, from his Texas roots to his days as a Bears legend and beyond, is a testament to his resilience, passion, and the indelible mark he has left on the sport of football. His legacy will forever be celebrated in Chicago and enshrined in Canton, Ohio, as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024. favicon favicon favicon
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What made Steve McMichael a standout defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears
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