Jim McMahon is widely known for two things in his NFL career. He was the leader of the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl winning team and always wore a headband. While the headband didn’t sound like a big deal, it ended up getting her in trouble. It was his trademark – and it was expensive – because it led to fines until he found a way around it.
The headband has always been a registered trademark of Jim McMahon
McMahon was drafted by BYU in the 1982 NFL Draft. The Bears selected the quarterback with the fifth overall pick. During his rookie season, he started seven games, posting a 3-4 record. It was the only losing season McMahon has seen in his seven years with the team.
McMahon has always been a free-spirited guy. His image grew when he guided the Bears to a 15-1 record and a convincing victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 20. He always said what he thought, and he usually said it was that band around his forehead.
“Ever since I entered the league I wore a blindfold,” McMahon said on the Fat Mike’s Sports Show in Chicago back in April. “Then Adidas came out with a headband, I think it was maybe ’84 or ’85 at the start, and I had worn it all year. I never got a word or a letter or anything from the commissioner or the league about the blindfold.
Jim McMahon was stunned to be fined for wearing his blindfold
The 1985 Bears sailed throughout the season, going 15-1 in the regular season. The only loss came in a game McMahon did not start. While this Bears team is widely known for their defense, McMahon was the face of the franchise. He was outspoken. He got a little more vocal, at least through his headband, as the season wore on.
McMahon was fined by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle for wearing the headband with Adidas written on it. He therefore came out with the commissioner’s last name written in capital letters on the banner.
“The first playoff game I wore it, I was fined $ 5,000,” said McMahon. “I wondered why I got this fine. I later found out that I shouldn’t have been fined because they just made it up. Five thousand was a lot of money for me at the time. I was playing for Chicago so I wasn’t paid very well.
“I couldn’t afford another fine, so the following week I wore the Adidas one during the pre-match warm-up. Then you come home right before kick-off for that five minutes or whatever and I think about what I can put on my head. I wanted to put something else in front of “ROZELLE” but I couldn’t put everything in there so I just decided to put her name there and see what happens.
When I went out, and everyone saw this – I remember John Madden making fun of his ass. I did not receive a fine that week. I got a phone call from Pete saying thank you for the free publicity. I said you made a big stench out of it, and there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t wear this.
McMahon’s loophole even made the head referee laugh
McMahon said he found out that Adidas was not paying the NFL at the time, but he didn’t care. He said he has been wearing the product since entering the league and it was not his problem.
“I’ve been wearing Adidas since I was in the league, and nobody has had a problem,” he recalls, “and now all of a sudden we’re in the playoffs and that’s a big deal. ”
McMahon came up with a special Super Bowl plan.
“I decided that I was going to carry all the charities,” he said. “I thought if they accepted charity they would look like idiots. Adidas offered me a lot of money at the time to wear the headband. I said OK, I’ll wear it, but it might not be on my head. I got my hands on the rulebook and realized these guys were kidding me and I’m going to get them back.
“Throughout the pre-game warm-up during the Super Bowl, I wore the Adidas headband, and the head referee kept chasing me, saying I couldn’t leave you on the field. I said yes I know. As soon as the hymn ends, I stand next to Walter (Payton) and the Head Referee is next to me. As soon as the anthem was over I went to put on my helmet and he grabbed me and said I couldn’t leave you on the pitch.
“I said I know but there’s nothing you can do about it. I pulled it around my neck, and you can see the picture I have in the Super Bowl, you can see Adidas very clearly. The ref just started laughing at me and he said, ‘yeah, you’re right. I can not. With each set I changed it to a new charity and things went really well. “
RELATED: Jim McMahon Received Death Threats In Super Bowl Week 20, Then Had 2 More Of His Teammates Before The Game