It was a long time coming.
And though President Barack Obama did not dance the Super Bowl Shuffle, he acknowledged the 1985 Bears' special knack for bringing their personalities into pop culture.
"This team ruled the city," Obama said during a ceremony honoring the Super Bowl XX champs nearly 26 years after their victory over New England. "It riveted the country. They were everywhere. They were like the Beatles."
Cynics, Obama said, might think he invited the Bears to the White House because rivals Green Bay Packers recently made an appearance with Super Bowl rings. But the 1985 team had it coming, he said.
Their visit was delayed when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded two days after the win. On Friday, Bears fan Obama made it right.
"Welcome to the White House," he said, "for this well-deserved and long-overdue recognition."
Obama gave nods to the rock-and-rock stylings of Jim McMahon (who gave Obama a white headband that Obama did not wear), the smooth moves of Willie Gault, the greatest hits of the late Dave Duerson and the legacy of Walter Payton.
"Chicago still loves Sweetness. He was without question one of the greatest to ever play the game."
The Super Bowl Shuffle was remembered, as was the team's record and the big January win.
"This team changed everything for every team that came on after -- on and off the field," he said. "They changed the laws of football. They were gritty, they were gutsy, they were hard-working, they were fun-loving, sort of how Chicagoans like to think of themselves."
But Obama couldn't get by without a nod to this season's team, and the hope they'll get to visit sooner than 26 years.
"We want today's Bears to come to the White House with the championship as well," he said.
Alicia Duerson made an appearance for her late ex-husband, Dave Duerson, who passed away in February from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
One player was notably absent, however.
Dan Hampton told WLS this week he was skipping the ceremony because his family isn't allowed to go and because he isn't a fan of the president. Hampton, a member of the NBC Chicago team, also commented that the win was 25 years ago. "Let it go,” he said.
|Glory Days: Legends of the '85 Bears|