The Honey Bears were the official cheerleading squad of the Chicago Bears franchise from 1976 until 1985.
After the ’85 Bears, famous for their Super Bowl Shuffle, the McCaskey family decided to get rid of the Honey Bears, claiming their cheerleaders didn’t fit the team’s tough image.
Many Chicago Bears fans claim the team lingers under a Honey Bear Curse, given their Bears haven’t won a Super Bowl since.
Chicago Bears Cheerleaders History
In 1976, Chicago Bears owner George Halas decided he wanted to have professional cheerleaders, or �dancing girls,� on the sidelines. He put General Manager Jim Finks in charge of putting a team together.
Choreographer and former cheerleader Cathy Core was recommended to Finks by someone at her church, and the Bears� GM contacted her over the phone about forming a squad. Core thought someone was playing a joke on her, and she eventually hung up on Finks. He had the mutual acquaintance verify the story to Core, and then he contacted her again.
After apologizing to Finks, Core had a meeting arranged with Halas. He told her, �As long as I�m alive, we will have dancing girls on the sidelines.� Halas remained true to his word.
Building the Honey Bears – Bears Cheerleaders
Core traveled across the country, interviewing existing cheerleading clubs about what it took to put together a successful squad. Soon, 20 young women were selected to be the inaugural Chicago Honey Bears, and the position paid $15 a game ($5 for gas, $5 for parking and $5 for uniform cleaning).
The Chicago Bears Cheerleaders were an immediate hit in the Windy City, and they performed on the sidelines from 1977 until the end of the 1985 season. Halas passed away in 1983, and the new ownership almost immediately tried to sever their relationship with the Honey Bears. Luckily, the squad had a contract which extended through the 1985 season.
In 1985, the Bears lost only one regular season game and eventually won the Super Bowl. The Honey Bears performed during the game to �Baby, I�m a Star� by Prince. Unfortunately, it would be their last performance ever.
The Fall of the Honey Bears
Just prior to the game, Core had been informed by Bears� management that the Chicago Honey Bears� contact would not be renewed. An official reason has never been given, but many blame Virginia McCaskey, daughter of George Halas, for making the ultimate decision.
According to Core, �At the time, they told me it was basically a change in philosophy. The Bears wanted to be about blood-and-guts football — and football only. I think there are certain people in the [McCaskey] family who have dominated the negative part of the issue, and as long as those people are still around and still vocal, I don�t think the Honey Bears will come back.�
Curse of the Honey Bears
The Honey Bears were disbanded after the Super Bowl win, and the team remains without cheerleaders. Since that time, the Bears are 5-9 in the playoffs, leading some to refer to this drought as the �Curse of the Honey Bears.�
Over the years, a few meetings have been held about bringing back the Chicago Bears Cheerleaders. But each time that things look promising, the idea is eventually killed by someone high in the organization.