Chicago Celebrates Bears Victory
CHICAGO (AP) _ Chicago fans, denied a major sports championship for more than two decades, erupted in delirious celebrations from one end of the city to the other Sunday as their beloved Bears won the Super Bowl.
″They’re the best team ever,″ exclaimed Kirk Zaranti, 31, of Chicago, who was at the Hotsie Totsie Club in the crowded Rush Street bar district to watch the Bears trample the New England Patriots 46-10.
″This will make this city better,″ Zaranti said. ″It’s already the best city. It’s a city of real people - a city of Germans, a city of Italians, a city of Greeks.″
A crowd estimated by police at 10,000 celebrated in the streets, overturning garbage cans, kicking the sides of cars and hurling beer bottles. Sgt. Joe Nalepa said about a dozen were arrested, most on charges of disorderly conduct.
In New Orleans, where the game was played, waves of Bears fans descended on the French Quarter to savor the victory.
″Go Bears 3/8 Go Bears 3/8 Go Bears 3/8 Go Bears 3/8″ the celebrants roared as they stood shoulder to shoulder on Bourbon Street, about a mile from the Super Dome.
″Great 3/8 Fantastic 3/8 The best 3/8″ yelled Jay Drobnick of Waukegan, Ill., a real estate agent who danced down Bourbon Street to the ever-present ″Super Bowl Shuffle″ blaring from a loudspeaker at a souvenir shop.
Back in Chicago, hundreds of happy fans, many wearing Bears headbands, gathered in the bitter cold to watch the Super Bowl on a 20-by-30-foot outdoor television screen at downtown Daley Plaza, renamed Bears Plaza for the day.
″All the real Bear fans are here,″ said 7-year-old Jeremiah Winns, who carried a teddy bear wrapped in winter clothes as protection against a wind chill that registered at 36 below.
At one point, the crowd reached nearly 1,500, but it began to thin as the game progressed and the cold took its toll.
Shopping centers closed early. Refrigerettes cheerleaders - as unabashed about their bulk as 300-pound defensive tackle William ″The Refrigerator″ Perry - rooted for their team at a downtown fitness club. A high school band staged a parade.
But at game time, normally busy steets were deserted, leaving much of the city with the aura of a ghost town.
Thanos Grigoriou, 36, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Jo Anne Baboulas of Chicago began their wedding ceremony at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church just as the game kicked off. ″I didn’t realize it was a Super Bowl Day″ when the wedding date was set four months ago, Grigoriou said.
In suburban Bloomingdale, Sheldon and Barbara Sherman faced the same problem at their wedding.
Rabbi Arnold Kaiman, who kept an eye on his 2-inch television, said he had hoped to time the service to coincide with halftime. ″It was the pre-game festivities that threw me off,″ he said.
Most Chicagoans count 1963 as the year of the city’s last major sports championship, when it captured two. Loyola upset powerhouse Cincinnati 60-58 in overtime in the NCAA basketball final. Then the Bears defeated the New York Giants 14-10 in the NFL title game.
In pre-game festivities Saturday night, Bears fans jammed Rush Street, where police early Sunday arrested 30 people on disorderly conduct charges. All were released on bond.
In New England, Patriots fans consoled each other over the loss.
″They made it to the Super Bowl,″ said Bunny Evendoll, manager of the Cloud Nine lounge at Boston’s Logan International Airport.
″The Pats did their best,″ said Gary Burnett of Durham, N.H., who watched the game at a party in Concord, N.H.
George Panagiopou, owner of Casey’s pub in Worcester, had one word for the Pats’ loss: ″outclassed.″