The Super Bowl Shuffle: A GIF-Heavy Ranking of Every Verse

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Super Bowl Sunday is nearly upon us, and if you’re a dejected Bears fan like me, you’ll no doubt spend the day watching commercials and crying into your snack tray over what might have been. I have no horse in this year’s race, and so instead, I forced Shane Ryan to revisit the greatest Bears team in history with me and muse about their legendary contribution to the sports-rap canon, “The Super Bowl Shuffle.”

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To recap: THIS THING WAS NOMINATED FOR A GRAMMY. That’s right. The ‘85 Bears recorded a novelty rap about how they were going to the Super Bowl—before, I might add, they even knew that they’d be going to the Super Bowl—it sold over a half a million copies, and they were nominated for a Grammy for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance By A Duo or Group and lost to Prince and the Revolution’s “Kiss.”

Take a moment to rewatch it in all its glory here (note: I did this 13 times at work over the course of two days without telling anyone it was for this article, and none of my coworkers once questioned why—I’m not sure if this says more about them or me), and then join us as we rank each player’s verse.

10. Mike Richardson (“LA Mike”)

I’m L.A. Mike, and I play it cool.
They don’t sneak by me ‘cause I’m no fool.
I fly on the field and get on down.
Everybody knows I don’t mess around.
I can break’em, shake’em,
Any time of day.
I like to steal it and make ‘em pay,
So please don’t try to beat my hustle
‘Cause I’m just here to do
The Super Bowl Shuffle.

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Shane: Good ranking here by Bonnie. Sub-par dance moves, lame lyrics, and very little enthusiasm. Also, he never says that he’s not here looking for trouble at the end of his verse like a lot of the other guys! How am I supposed to know he doesn’t want trouble if he doesn’t explicitly state it, Bonnie?! Is Richardson a threat!?

Bonnie: He does warn us—with the weirdest inflection ever—that “I DON’T mess around,” though. Also, what is he doing with his hands?

Interlude: The High Five

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Bonnie: Look at Steve Fuller, swooping in and hijacking the Fridge’s high-five! Second-string quarterback, but a starter when it comes to slapping palms.

Shane: And a third grade dropout when it comes to dancing, as we’ll soon see.

9. Richard Dent (“Dent”)

The sackman’s comin’, I’m your man Dent.
if the quarterback’s slow,
He’s gonna get bent.
We stop the run, we stop the pass,
I like to dump guys on their -.
We love to play for the world’s best fans,
You better start makin’
Your Super Bowl plans.
But don’t get ready or go to any trouble
Unless you practice
The Super Bowl Shuffle.

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Bonnie: This one’s not terrible per se, but it’s just sort of generally unremarkable. At this point, we’ve already seen the “ass” whistle censorship with Otis Wilson, so we don’t even have that as a standout from this verse. C’mon, guys. This is the man who led the NFL in sacks and would go on to be Super Bowl MVP. We can do better than this.

Shane: Can we give him some points for the Shakira-esque way he juts out his ass, all sexy-like, at the end of this .gif, though? Way ahead of his time in terms of alluring dance moves.

Bonnie: This might be weird, but it actually kind of reminded me of that SNL sketch with the boss who has the body of a baby.

Interlude: The Lean-and-Point

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Shane: Nothing snarky to say here, this is just wonderful choreography.

8. Steve Fuller (“Steve”)

They say Jimbo is our man.
If Jimmy can’t do it, I sure can.
This is Steve, and it’s no wonder
I run like lightnin’, pass like thunder.
So bring on Atlanta, bring on Dallas,
This is for Mike and Papa Bear Halas.
I’m not here to feathers ruffle,
I just came here to do
The Super Bowl Shuffle.

Shane: My God. Bonnie, if it were up to me, this guy would be dead last, because the dancing is just insanely bad and awkward (see also: “Bad Dancing” Interlude). He’s got that dopey grin going, and you know his brain is in “dear God, get me out of here” mode. Even today, I like to think that Fuller is the guy who most wishes this video had never made it public.

Bonnie: I don’t have the heart to rank this one last because the “Bring on Atlanta, bring on Dallas, this is for Mike and Papa Bear Halas” line is a classic. And because the way his voice cracks on the word “Super” after he awkwardly declares that he’s “not here to feathers ruffle” makes me feel bad for the guy. That dopey grin looks more like a grimace to me. He knows this is bad.

Interlude: The Cowbell

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Bonnie: So, according to Grantland’s excellent oral history of the Super Bowl Shuffle, punter Maury Buford brought this hat he had in his car because “I thought I’d put on a hat and shades and look like a cool rocker.” I repeat: He had. This Hat. In his car.

Shane: Wait, that’s not an actual cool rocker? Had me fooled.

7. Gary Fencik (“Gary”)

It’s Gary here, and I’m Mr.Clean.
They call me “hit man,”
Don’t know what they mean.
They throw it long and watch me run,
I’m on my man, one-on-one.
Buddy’s guys cover it down to the bone,
That’s why they call us the 46 zone.
Come on everybody let’s scream and yell,
We’re goin’ to do the Shuffle,
Then ring your bell.

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Bonnie: File this one under “so bad it’s good.” I love this so much. First of all, while nearly everyone else identifies themselves by a nickname in the Super Bowl Shuffle, Fencik—who had a nickname he could have used (he and Doug Plank were The Hit Men)—starts off his verse by saying, “It’s Gary here, and I’m Mr. Clean. They call me ‘hit man,’ don’t know what they mean.” Really, Gar’? Could it be that you’re the safety and thus are a man primarily responsible for making hits?

Shane: I also loved the “don’t know what they mean” line. I wish he had continued, like, “seriously, I’ve been living with this nickname for a long time, and I really have no concept of what anyone is talking about. If anybody can help me, I would really, really appreciate it. I’m not even that clean!” However, I do have to give Gary a huge amount of respect for the expressive way he rapped. Most of these guys just go for the dumb-jock monotone, but he takes this seriously. Right from the moment he announces his name, you realize he’s going to perform with EMPHASIS.

Interlude: Dr. Saxophone

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Shane: Oh, this dude’s probably not going to play the sax, right? He’s just going to hold it like a completely different instrument and groove along to the beats?

WRONG.

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6. Jim McMahon (“the punky QB”)

I’m the punky QB, known as McMahon.
When I hit the turf, I’ve got no plan.
I just throw my body all over the field.
I can’t dance, but I can throw the pill.
I motivate the cats, I like to tease.
I play so cool, I aim to please.
That’s why you all got here on the double
To catch me doin’ the Super Bowl Shuffle.

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Shane: I just want to point out that in a video where literally everyone else mostly comes across as awkward, Jim McMahon still manages to seem like a smug asshole. He’s the punky QB, and his hate-ability stands the test of time!

Bonnie: McMahon is definitely the gold standard for “Chicago Bears Quarterbacks Who Give Approximately Zero Shits About What You Think of Them.” A proto-Jay Cutler, if you will.

Interlude: Bad Dancing

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Bonnie: Here we see No. 53 doing what appears to be some awful precursor to the Carlton Dance.

Shane: I just want to point out quickly how out-of-sync Steve is in that second clip in what might be the most basic dance ever. I have a feeling they had to simplify whichever move they had originally choreographed just for Steve’s sake, and he still couldn’t pull it off.

5. Otis Wilson (“mama’s boy Otis”)

I’m mama’s boy Otis, one of a kind.
The ladies all love me
For my body and my mind.
I’m slick on the floor as I can be
But ain’t no sucker gonna get past me.
Some guys are jealous
Of my style and class,
That’s why some end up on their -,
I didn’t come here lookin’ for trouble,
I just get down to The Super Bowl Shuffle.

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Bonnie: “Mama’s boy Otis” is definitely one of the best nicknames in this song, and Wilson overall does a pretty good job here, but I have to dock some points for the cheesy referee-whistle censorship of the word “ass.”

Shane: The two things I like here are how happy-go-lucky he seems, and the surprising tuck-and-roll move at the end. As an awkward dancer myself, I can confirm that there’s nothing better than when a bad dancer plays it really safe the whole time, and then breaks out with a bold move at the very end just the for the hell of it. Does it work? Not necessarily. And yet, it does…it just does.

Interlude: Me, Me, You, You

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Shane: So hypnotic. I’m defenseless. I’m seduced.

4. Walter Payton (“Sweetness”)

Well, they call me Sweetness,
And I like to dance.
Runnin’ the ball is like makin’ romance.
We’ve had the goal since training camp
To give Chicago a Super Bowl Champ.
And we’re not doin’ this
Because we’re greedy.
The Bears are doin’ it to feed the needy.
We didn’t come here to look for trouble,
We just came here to do
The Super Bowl Shuffle.

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Shane: Not only is Payton the greatest running back of all time (sorry, Barry Sanders fans), but he seems the most self-assured here, doesn’t he? I feel like he could actually be the lead singer of a Earth, Wind, & Fire-type ‘80s band. You can’t tell me “Sweetness” couldn’t pull off something like this.

Bonnie: It is a testament to Walter Payton’s incomparable greatness that I don’t even care how many times he does that weird “palms outstretched upward” move. He’s like this emoticon ¯\(?)/¯ come to life, but I DON’T CARE, PAYTON CAN DANCE HOWEVER HE WANTS.

Interlude: Drums, Cool Guitar Guy

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Bonnie: You know what? I feel bad for those guys in the back. Everyone else gets instruments and they seem to have just been told to stand in the back and pretend to be The Pips.

3. William “Refrigerator” Perry (“the Fridge”)

You’re lookin’ at the Fridge,
I’m the rookie.
I may be large, but I’m no dumb cookie.
You’ve seen me hit, you’ve seen me run,
When I kick and pass, we’ll have more fun.
I can dance, you will see
The others, they all learn from me.
I don’t come here lookin’ for trouble,
I just came here to do
The Super Bowl Shuffle.

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Bonnie: Listen, it goes against every fiber of my being to speak ill of The Fridge. He hangs in a place of honor on my fridge, and if my roommate (owner of this, the greatest magnet of all time) found out about this, she’d never forgive me, but….I was expecting more from this verse. The lyrics leave a lot to be desired, and the awkwardness is palpable, but I do like the way he goes for it at the end with those arm waves. And that triumphant high-five to cap it off? Totally redeeming. Can’t stay mad atcha, Fridge.

Shane: Fake it ‘til you make it, Bonnie. When I saw the Fridge snap off that high-five like he’d just dropped a world historical rap, I totally forgot everything that came before. As far as I know, this was a terrific performance, and I’ll go to my grave believing that. The Fridge has me convinced—he’s no dumb cookie.

Interlude: The Referee

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Shane: This woman appears twice, both times when a player says the word “ass” during the rap. I can’t tell if it’s a planned part of the video, or if future commissioner Roger Goodell was already desperately trying to cover up the seedy side of the NFL.

2. Mike Singletary (“Samurai Mike”)

I’m Samurai Mike I stop ‘em cold.
Part of the defense, big and bold,
I’ve been jammin’ for quite a while,
Doin’ what’s right and settin’ the style,
Give me a chance, I’ll rock you good,
Nobody messin’ in my neighborhood.
I didn’t come here lookin’ for trouble,
I just came to do The Super Bowl Shuffle

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Shane: Singletary, with those glasses, is the coolest nerd on the planet. He looks like a librarian, but the kind who could direct you to an obscure book and then chase you down and kick your ass (cue: Referee woman) if you tried to steal it. I don’t know about “Samurai” as a nickname, though…I’m thinking “respectable dad” works better.

Bonnie: No no, “Samurai” is the perfect nickname for a cool nerd! It sounds like someone who is obsessed with Mortal Kombat but also probably knows how to kill you in real life. And can we talk about how he has an amazing voice for this kind of thing?

Interlude: Mr. Double Keys

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Bonnie: This guy is FEELING IT.

Shane: If you’re going to play a fake instrument, you might as well go all out and pretend to play two keyboards at the same time, one with each hand.

Bonnie: That’s a real thing that real musicians do, though. He was probably just trying to look authentic.

1. Willie Gault (“Speedy Willie”)

This is Speedy Willie, and I’m world class.
I like runnin’ but I love to get the pass.
I practice all day and dance all night,
I got to get ready for the Sunday fight.
Now I’m as smooth as a chocolate swirl,
I dance a little funky, so watch me girl.
There’s not one here that does it like me,
My Super Bowl Shuffle will set you free.

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Bonnie: Speedy Willie seems to be far and away the most comfortable with this whole thing, which makes sense, given that he’s the mastermind behind it. Gault goes big here, making the bold artistic choice to mime all the lyrics to his verse as he raps them. And while most of the other Bears’ verses deal strictly with on-field material, Willie reminds us you don’t need to be a football player to be a leading scorer (I’ll show myself out) with lines like “Now I’m as smooth as a chocolate swirl, I dance a little funky, so watch me girl. There’s not one here that does it like me. My Super Bowl Shuffle will set you free” and that extended pelvic thrust solo at the end.

Shane: I have no more to say, for I have been set free.

Happy Super Bowl weekend, everyone. We’ll leave you with one last image of what we consider the greatest football-themed rap in world history. When in doubt, lean and point.

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