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Former Bear Rooting For Colts On Sunday

Marc Zarefsky

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By Marc ZarefskyThe Daily Northwestern

How can it be that Emery Moorehead, tight end for the legendary 1985 Chicago Bears that rose to championship glory in Super Bowl XX, would actually root against this year’s Monsters of the Midway?

Simple: love.

While Moorehead, who was born and raised in Evanston, holds a lifelong bond with the Chicago Bears organization, a stronger bond got in the way of his allegiances to both the orange-and-blue and the Windy City.

Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver Aaron Moorehead, Emery’s son, got in the way.

“I hope the Bears can get there next year so they can win next year,” the elder Moorehead said, “but I want the Colts to win this one.”

Aaron Moorehead is in his fourth year with the Colts after signing as a free agent in 2003 out of Illinois, where he was a walk-on. After catching eight passes for 82 yards and one touchdown in the regular season, Moorehead grabbed five passes for 41 yards in the Colts three playoff wins.

“He’s worked hard,” said Emery, who from 1977-1988 spent three seasons with the New York Giants, one with the Denver Broncos, and the final eight with Chicago. “As a dad, you want your children to be successful and take advantage of opportunities. Having played for 12 years, I was able to give him some insight on what to expect, and it helps because every dad wants to help his son at what he does.”

Emery Moorehead was the second leading receiver with 35 catches on the Bears 1985 championship squad.

As for what each team must do in order to triumph in Super Bowl XLI, the former-Bear had some suggestions.

“For the Bears, I would say they have to run the football,” he said. “They’ve got to make at least one big play on special teams, and no turnovers from Rex (Grossman) … For the Colts, they can’t turn the ball over, because the Bears defense thrives on turnovers and making those types of plays that change the game.”

Game-changing plays are what the ’85 Bears defense was known for as well, but in Emery’s opinion, this year’s squad lacks the same intimidation factor of those Monsters of the Midway.

“I don’t think it flat out scares anybody,” Emery said. “Our defense was very intimidating, because they literally tried to hurt the quarterback every time out … You could hit people – quarterbacks in the head, and in the mouth, and below the waist – but today you can’t do the things you could do (then).”

At Evanston Township High School, where Emery Moorehead graduated in 1972, he was a standout athlete.

In addition to football, Moorehead played basketball and baseball, and ran track, but it was on the gridiron where Moorehead excelled.

“He was a fine player for me,” said Murney Lazier, who compiled an .894 career winning percentage (127-15-4) over 18 years as the head football coach at ETHS. “It must be a good experience for him, having played in the Super Bowl, to now have his son in the Super Bowl.”

Today Moorehead is a real estate agent in Lake County, but on Sunday, he’ll be in Miami, watching the team he helped lead to glory face off against the team he can’t help but root for.

And if he has it his way, when the game is complete, he will be able to look Aaron in the eye not just as a son, but as a fellow champion.

“That would mean an awful lot,” Emery said, “because there are not many fathers and sons that can say they both have Super Bowl rings.”

Reach Marc Zarefsky at m-zarefsky@northwestern.edu.

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