“Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears” Quotes

I recently read “Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football” by Rich Cohen. Below are the quotes I found most interesting.

Book Cover

Some head coaches cleanse their rosters of anyone tainted by a failed regime, even the superstars — because of the inevitable mindset, what all that losing can do to a soul. That’s why God kept the Hebrews in the desert for 40 years, he was waiting for the slave generation to pass away.” (21)

“America has become endless childhood, where any passion can take you pro.” (44)

“In the early years, most NFL teams played in baseball stadiums, and then he took the name the host team. And the Pittsburgh Pirates, who played in Forbes Field, and the New York Football Giants, who played in the Polo Grounds.” (60)

“George Halas Would eventually quit the ice house, but he always approached football with the Glee of a man who has snuck away from his real job.” (62)

“When a hero gets old, he takes your youth with him.” (79)

Patton said, “Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” MacArthur said, “In war there can be no substitute for victory.” But Ditka being Ditka, always overshot the mark. Urging his players to shake off a loss, he told them, “The past is for cowards and losers.” (87)

“Ditka said, “Maybe winning is the greatest thing that can happen to a team and also the biggest disaster. It’s never the same after you win.” (106)

“If you put on a tape and watch a player and cannot tell from the way he plays whether his team is ahead or behind – that’s who you want.” (123)

“Atop this hill a bench and a plaque that shows Walter’s face and list his accomplishments. Otherwise, there seemed no evidence of the man who ran the hill. That’s the thing about work. It vanishes like a memory of pain. Only the results are remembered.” (124)

Walter Payton is a model for all those engaged in arts that don’t properly value effort. How many times have you heard a person say, “he was a great player but just did not work hard enough,” as if work were different from talent, more prosaic, something anyone could do if he wanted. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to believe the ability to persist is as much a gift as speed or soft hands. Not everyone has it. Those who don’t, fail. Those who do, leave no proof of it in statistics.” (125)

“It’s a matter of split seconds. At the beginning, you hit, then think; at the end, you think, then hit.” (131)

“There’s three kinds of coaches,” said Plank. “First, there’s the Asprin coach. He’s the guy that comes in and feed you a bunch of bologna and makes you feel better initially, but nothing changes. Then there’s the penicillin coach. He comes in and fixes almost everything. The problems, the illnesses. But there’s one thing he can’t fix and that’s cancer on a team. What’s cancer? Guys don’t like each other, the offense versus the defense, huge attitudes. You need the Third Kind of coach for that: the chemo coach. Bill Parcells, Mike Ditka. The chemo coach comes in, man, he’s the new sheriff in town. He’s so powerful by the way he looks, his presence, his actions. If you got a bad attitude, you don’t buy into his system? He doesn’t care who you are – you’re gone.” (137)

“Ditka said, “If you accept defeat, you’re going to be defeated. You can be gracious in defeat, but you better be doing flip-flops inside. If you’re not churning, you’ll get your ass whooped, that’s all there is to it.”

“They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” (176)

“Elegant precision faces the howling mob, eleven brutes with maces and helmets, barbarians wandering in the black forest of Soldier Field. It’s the dialectic of History: when a system becomes arrogant, a competing system will arise to defeat it.” (179)

“As you grow up you become too tasteful to enjoy things that once filled you with pleasure. Past thirty, most of us become too smart for our own good.” (215)

“When everyone courts the Jinx, there is no jinx.” (217)

“In Chicago, winning is a miracle; losing is forever.” (253)

“Is it better to accept the world as it is and be happy or to struggle and be miserable? In a sense, life is nothing but a search for a coach.” (304)

Liked the quotes? Buy and read the whole book here.

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