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A Chicago-Based Historian’s Nod To The Super Bowl-Bound Bears

January 23, 2007

While on the town a week or so ago, during the NFL Chicago Bears’ playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks, I heard the Bears fight song numerous times. The establishment where I watched the game rang a bell and played the song after every Bears score.

The history of that song, titled, “Bear Down, Chicago Bears,” is discussed in today’s Chicago Sun-Times in an article authored by Art Golab. Here is an excerpt from the brief piece:

” ‘Bear Down, Chicago Bears’ . . . was composed in 1941 by a Tin Pan Alley veteran who had little connection with Chicago. The Bears commissioned Al Hoffman to write the song after the team won the NFL championship in 1940. Born in Minsk, Russia, Hoffman later had a part in composing the monster-hit novelty song “Mairzy Doats,” as well as other popular tunes including “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” and “Papa Loves Mambo,” according to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. But it seems Hoffman, who died in New York in 1960, wasn’t that proud of his paean to the Bears. The song was one of the few he wrote under a pseudonym: Jerry Downs.”

The article also provided the song’s lyrics.

Who would’ve guessed that the same man who helped write “Papa Love Mambo” also composed the Bears’ fight song? And doesn’t it feel like “Jerry Downs” was an oblique reference to T-formation, jury-rigging, and the Bears ability to move the football on offense? Of course I’m not seriously forwarding the idea that a professional song writer, even one that was maybe a Bears fan, would construct a pseudonym related to football. – TL


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  1. I don't get down to the far southern suburbs that often from Milwaukee, but it's nice to hear that y'all are having a few moments of glee.


  2. CM: Likewise, it's good to get some input from the northern part of the Chicago metro area! 😉 And, it'll only be gleeful if the Bears actually win: you don't make it this far to lose “Indianaopolans” (is that the right word?). I mean, hasn't Peyton Manning gained enough fame from his funny credit card commercials? My final analysis: Bears eat horses when they can catch them, so Urlacher and company win. – TL


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