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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rich Cohen Narrator: Tom Taylorso Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The gripping account of a once-in-a-lifetime football team and their lone championship season

For Rich Cohen and millions of other fans, the 1985 Chicago Bears were more than a football team: they were the greatest football team ever—a gang of colorful nuts, dancing and pounding their way to victory. They won a Super Bowl and saved a city.

It was not just that the Monsters of the Midway won but how they did it. On offense, there was high-stepping running back Walter Payton and Punky QB Jim McMahon, who had a knack for pissing off Coach Mike Ditka as he made his way to the end zone. On defense, there was the 46: a revolutionary, quarterback-concussing scheme cooked up by Buddy Ryan and ruthlessly implemented by Hall of Famers such as Dan “Danimal” Hampton and “Samurai” Mike Singletary. On the sidelines, in the locker rooms, and in bars, there was the never-ending soap opera: the coach and the quarterback bickering on television, Ditka and Ryan nearly coming to blows in the Orange Bowl, the players recording the “Super Bowl Shuffle” video the morning after the season’s only loss.

Cohen tracked down the coaches and players from this iconic team and asked them everything he has always wanted to know: What’s it like to win? What’s it like to lose? Do you really hate the guys on the other side? Were you ever scared? What do you think as you lie broken on the field? How do you go on after you have lived your dream but life has not ended?

The result is Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football, a portrait not merely of a team but of a city and a game: its history, its future, its fallen men, its immortal heroes. But mostly it’s about being a fan—about loving too much. This is a book about America at its most nonsensical, delirious, and joyful.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Every year brings a Super Bowl, World Series, NBA, and Stanley Cup champion. All are duly noted and celebrated. But a memorable few have greater and more lasting resonance, a standing that excellence alone cannot explain. The 1985 Chicago Bears were such a team, a mélange of talents and outsized personalities that captivated and embodied a city. Rich Cohen experienced it as an obsessed seventeen-year-old. Almost three decades on, he remains obsessed—entertainingly and insightfully so, but obsessed nonetheless. His combination of reporting and remembrance is by turns evocative, revealing, quirky, and funny as hell—or at least as funny as Gary Fencik doing the Super Bowl Shuffle.”

    Bob Costas

  • Monsters is a remarkable book, beautifully written, but that’s beside the point. You think you’re going to read a football book but you wind up reading about America, about who we are—you and me—and even why. And Rich Cohen has accomplished this feat through portraits of some of the greatest characters ever to have charged onto a football field and then left it.”

    Ira Berkow, author and Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter

  • “For anyone from Chicago, or anyone with any sense, the ’85 Bears are the best team there ever was, and Rich Cohen has written the book we’ve always wanted. It’s got all the people you want to hear from: Ditka, McMahon, Singletary, Wilson, Fencik, and, thank God, the incomparable and too-often-forgotten Doug Plank. This book—full of soul and searching and also knock-you-down funny—is not just a great sports book, not just a great Chicago book, but a great book, period.”

    Dave Eggers, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A riveting account of one of football’s most iconic teams, the 1985 Chicago Bears, features frank interviews with the players and coaches.”


  • “Rich Cohen’s Monsters is the best book on professional football I know—the best because the most truthful.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Entire forests have given their lives to the pursuit of the truth about Mongo, the Fridge, Danimal, and other larger-than-life characters on Da Coach’s rambunctious squad. The search ends with Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football…It is Cohen’s skillful compilation and shrewd interpretation of the total package that make the book work. He combines intelligence and insight with a reporter’s eye for detail and a novelist’s writing chops…What Cohen’s book does better than its predecessors is transform its subjects from cartoon characters—think Mongo McMichael’s boozy gentlemen’s club commercials—into real people with talents, flaws, loves, hates, fears, pleasures, anxieties, joys…human beings, just like the rest of us, only bigger, faster, stronger, tougher, braver, etc.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “As much as it is about the ’85 Bears, Monsters is an emotional education of football and ‘the Stone Age pleasure of watching large men battle to the point of exhaustion.’ At one point, Cohen attributes Halas for the development of football’s emphasis on the passing game: ‘It was Halas, as much as anyone, who invented the modern NFL offense and lifted the game from the ground into the air.’ You can’t help but think that Cohen’s doing the same thing here for sports narratives.”


  • “Cohen, who grew up as a suburban Chicago Bears fan and witnessed firsthand the Bears’ victory when he was seventeen…is especially good at detailing the rivalry between coach Mike Ditka and his defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan…His fan’s perspective added to his excellent reporting and engrossing interviews produce great insights into the team’s colorful stars.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Taylorson does what good narrators of memoirs and nonfiction must do—convince listeners that he is channeling the author’s voice…And give him credit for singing rather than reading a few bars of ‘Bear Down, Chicago Bears.’ A fun title for football fans, especially those who bleed Chicago Bears orange and blue.”

    Booklist (audio review)

  • “The historical context enriches the book, as do Cohen’s explanation of the team’s groundbreaking ‘46’ defense, his lively interviews with principals, and his analyses of what went right with the team, and, in subsequent years, what went wrong…Engaging.”


  • “Entertaining…Cohen thankfully avoids sentimentality and doesn’t bog readers down in lengthy game reports or analyses…Ideal for Chicagoans, both casual and die-hard sports fans, and anyone who wonders, ‘What happens when you have a dream and that dream comes true?’”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “The Chicago Bears are one of the most fascinating franchises and compelling stories in football. From Mr. Halas to Mr. Ditka, from the Fridge to McMahon, it’s been one of the wild rides of the NFL. Rich Cohen has captured the spirit of a team and an era, its heart and mind, its great triumphs. It’s a wonderful story filled with characters with character. It doesn’t get any better.”

    Joe Theismann, Super Bowl–winning quarterback, Washington Redskins

  • “Rich Cohen writes the best stuff—people, scenes, sentences, drunks, big men, fine women, jokes, impressions, secrets—in America.”

    David Lipsky, author of Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

  • “Rich Cohen wrote it his own bleeping way, and the result is a monster of a book. I’m a Packers guy, but I respect the Bears, our oldest rivals, and loved this book.”

    David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered

  • “The triumphant and tragic saga of the 1985 Chicago Bears and the aftermath of their historic championship season is a subject worthy of epic poetry. In Rich Cohen, the Monsters of the Midway have found their bard. Joyous yet mournful, inspirational yet irreverent, celebratory yet unsparing, Cohen’s Monsters is an Aeneid for football lovers, blowin’ our minds just like we knew it would.”

    Adam Langer, author of Crossing California

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, November 2013
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2013
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