Tom Thayer

Thomas "Tom" Allen Thayer (born August 16, 1961) is a former American football center/guard. He played in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins, and won a Super Bowl as a member of the 1985 Chicago Bears. Prior to his NFL career, Thayer played in the USFL for the Chicago Blitz, Arizona Wranglers and the Arizona Outlaws from 1983 to 1985. He is currently the color commentator on WBBM Newsradio for Chicago Bears broadcasts.

Tom Thayer
refer to caption
Thayer (far left) at the Bears' Football 101 event in 2009
No. 61, 57
Personal information
Born:August 16, 1961 (age 57)
Joliet, Illinois
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:261 lb (118 kg)
Career information
High school:Joliet Catholic (Joliet, Illinois)
College:Notre Dame
NFL Draft:1983 / Round: 4 / Pick: 91
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at

Early life

The youngest of five children, Thayer was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois. Thayer's father, Allen, was a lineman for Com Ed for 43 years before retiring. In addition to their own children, Thayer's parents adopted the three children of a neighbor after their parents were killed in a plane crash.[1] Thayer graduated from the Cathedral of Saint Raymond grade school in May 1975. He then attended Joliet Catholic High School and graduated in 1979.[2] Thayer helped the Joliet Catholic "Hilltoppers" to win consecutive Class 4A IHSA football championships in 1977 and 1978 as a junior and senior. The Hilltoppers went an undefeated 13-0 in both seasons[3] outscoring their opponents 224-24 in eight playoff games, including 106—0 in the 1978 playoffs.[4] Gordon Gillespie, the head coach at Joliet Catholic at the time, has referred to Thayer as "one of the five best players I ever coached, and he was the best lineman".[5]

Notre Dame

After graduating Joliet Catholic, Thayer went to Notre Dame University and was a member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team for four years, first under head coach Dan Devine and then under Gerry Faust. Thayer was a member of the 1980 Fighting Irish team that was ranked number one in both the Coaches' Poll and AP Poll[6] after going undefeated after seven games, but finished with only two wins out of their last five games, including a loss to the eventual National Champion Georgia Bulldogs in the 1981 Sugar Bowl, to finish the season ranked ninth and tenth respectively in the AP and College Coaches' polls.[7] Thayer was named an honorable All-American while at Notre Dame[1] and graduated with a degree in media communications in 1983.[5]


Thayer was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the team's 91st pick in round four of the 1983 NFL draft in April 1983.[8][9] Thayer, however, was also one of the twenty-five players selected by the USFL's Chicago Blitz as part of the new league's 1983 Territorial Draft, which was held in January 1983,[10] and the Bears were unaware that Thayer had already agreed to a contract with the Blitz to play under head coach George Allen just hours before.[9] According to Thayer, "They [the Bears] had told me before that I had been their fourth-round choice in a mock draft, but the Blitz was giving me first-round money, and it was guaranteed".[11]

Thayer played in the USFL from 1983 to 1985 for the Blitz, the Arizona Wranglers, and the Arizona Outlaws.[5][12] He even made it as far as the 1984 USFL Championship Game as a member of the Wranglers,[13] but the team was defeated 23–3 by the Philadelphia Stars. Thayer then signed with the Bears for the 1985 season,[11] joining a team, which also included fellow 1983 draft class members[9] Jimbo Covert, Willie Gault, Mike Richardson, Dave Duerson, Richard Dent, and Mark Bortz, that would go on to win Super Bowl XX. Thayer played eight seasons for the Bears, and started 130 out of 134 season games before being waived by the team after the start of the 1993 season because of an injury suffered while lifting weights during the previous off-season. Thayer then signed with the Miami Dolphins, but only appeared in three games for the team.[14][15][16] Thayer retired from the NFL as a member of the Dolphins in 1993.[17]


During his career with the Bears, Thayer became friends with radio-personalities Steve Dahl and Garry Meier would often call in to The Steve and Garry Show to comment on the Bears and other things.[18]

After retiring from the NFL, Thayer hosted a radio show with former teammate Keith Van Horne called the "Tom and Keith Show" on "The Loop" from September 1994 to February 1995. He was part of a sports-talk program at WCBR-FM before signing a three-year contract with WMAQ-AM, replacing former teammate Dan Hampton, to work as color commentator alongside Wayne Larrivee and Hub Arkush for Bears' radio broadcasts.[12]

In March 2005, the Bears decided to switch from a three-man to a two-man team for their radio broadcasts with Jeff Joniak as the play-by-play commentator and Thayer as the sole color commentator,[19] and the two have continued to serve as the team's main radio voices ever since.[20][21]

In addition to Bears' broadcasts, Thayer also appears with Joniak on Bears Gameday Live, hosting a segment called "Thayer's Game Plans", on Sunday mornings and Bears Gamenight Live on Sunday nights. Both shows air on FOX Chicago and are hosted by Lou Canellis.[22] Thayer also hosts the videocasts Game Preview, with co-host Larry Mayer,[23] Bears Roundtable, with co-hosts Joniak and Mayer,[24] and Thayer's Playbook[25] for

Personal life

His brother-in-law is ex-Atlanta Falcon John Scully.[26] Thayer currently lives in Chicago, Illinois.[20] He is an avid surfer in the off season on Maui, Hawaii.[1][18][27]

On August 30, 2014, Thayer was honored for his accomplishments at Joliet Catholic by being inducted into the Joliet Catholic Academy Hall of Champions along with fellow honorees Gordon Gillespie, Bill Gullickson, Allie Quigley, and Jim Stefanich.[28]

Thayer is also a member of the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.[29][30]


  1. ^ a b c Chval, Craig (October 14, 2005). "Catching Up With ... Tom Thayer". Notre Dame Fighting Irish Athletics. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  2. ^ Schott, Kate (January 26, 2014). "Schott: Meeting Joliet's Tom Thayer a glimpse into values of new community". The Herald-News. Joliet, Illinois: Shaw Media. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "Boys Football Season Summaries:1977-1978 Class 4A and 1978-1979 Class 4A". Illinois High School Association. June 10, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  4. ^ "Boys Football Playoff Scores: 1977-1978 (4A) and 1978-1979 (4A)". Illinois High School Association. June 15, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Mandernach, Mark (November 2, 1997). "Team Thayer". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  6. ^ "11/3/1980 A.P. Poll". Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  7. ^ "AP and Coaches Final Season Polls (1980)". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  8. ^ "1983 Chicago Bears Draft". The Football Database. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "Bears struck gold throughout '83 draft". April 25, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  10. ^ "Chicago Blitz: 1983 Territorial Draft". USFL.INFO. The McIntire Corporation. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Pierson, Don (July 25, 1985). "Marathon Man Thayer: From Usfl To Bears". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Thompson, Jack (January 23, 1997). "Thayer Joins Bears' Radio Team". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  13. ^ Mitchell, Fred (January 13, 1986). "No More 'But's' For Joliet's Thayer". Chicago Tribune. Contributed to by Ed Sherman and Skip Myslenski. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  14. ^ Cole, Jason; O'brien, Dave (November 11, 1993). "Uhlenhake Goes On Ir". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Tribune Publishing. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  15. ^ "Football NFL -- Announced following players of the week..." The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland: Tribune Publishing. November 11, 1993. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  16. ^ "Tom Thayer". Roto Sports. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  17. ^ Pierson, Don (December 6, 2002). "Blemish was a beauty". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  18. ^ a b McNeil, Dan (August 12, 2011). "Thayer still fired up for football: Former Bears guard loves job as team's radio analyst". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  19. ^ Sherman, Ed (September 9, 2005). "Arkush takes pass on broadcasts: Odd man out in Bears' radio booth shakeup hasn't tuned in--yet". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  20. ^ a b "Tom Thayer". Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  21. ^ Sherman, Ed (July 12, 2014). "Chicago mainstays of the airwaves: Familiar voices from Pat Foley to Ken Harrelson dot local play-by-play and analyst landscape with familiarity fostering appreciation". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  22. ^ "Chicago Bears Network Programs". Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  23. ^ "Video Series: Game Preview". Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  24. ^ "Video Series: Bears Roundtable". Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  25. ^ "Video Series: Thayer's Playbook". Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  26. ^ Heisler, Tom (March 2, 2011). "Strong Of Heart: John Scully". Notre Dame Fighitng Irish Athletics. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  27. ^ Sherman, Ed (December 2, 2002). "Thayer a film critic at heart". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  28. ^ Goss, Dick (August 31, 2014). "A high-five for JCA Hall of Champions: Gillespie, Gullickson, Quigley, Stefanich, Thayer inducted as first class". The Herald-News. Joliet, Illinois: Shaw Media. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  29. ^ "Kuechenberg, Zbikowski Join Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame". Notre Dame Fighting Irish Athletics. September 16, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  30. ^ "Chicagoland Sports Hall of Famers". Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
1986 Chicago Bears season

The 1986 Chicago Bears season was their 67th regular season and 17th post-season completed in the National Football League. The Bears entered the season looking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, as they had won in 1985. Chicago managed to finish 14–2, one game off of their 1985 record of 15–1, and tied the New York Giants for the league’s best record.

After winning the championship in 1985, the Bears seemed like a dynasty in the making. However, quarterback Jim McMahon showed up to training camp 25 pounds overweight – the product of the post-Super Bowl partying he’d partaken in. Nonetheless, he was once again named as the starter. Injuries, however, derailed his season. McMahon played in only six of the team’s first 12 games.

Aided by a strong offensive line, the Bears were once again led on offense by Walter Payton. Payton remained his usual stellar self, posting his 10th and final 1,000-yard season. With McMahon’s poor play, as well as the equally poor play of backups Mike Tomczak, Steve Fuller and Doug Flutie, Payton was the sole spark on offense, which ranked 13th in the NFL.

As had been the case the year before, the Bears were once again led by their explosive defense. Any shortcomings on the offensive side of the ball were more than made up for on the defensive side. They once again were ranked #1 in the NFL. The Bears’ defense became the third defense in the history of the NFL to lead the league in fewest points allowed and fewest total yards allowed for two consecutive seasons. The Bears’ 187 points allowed is the fewest surrendered by any team in the 1980s (other than the strike-shortened 1982 season) – even fewer than the 198 points the Bears allowed in their historic 1985 season.

However, the Bears were not able to recapture their magic from the season before and were bounced from the playoffs in their first game by the Washington Redskins.

1988 Chicago Bears season

The 1988 Chicago Bears season was their 69th regular season and 19th postseason completed in the National Football League. The Bears looked to improve on an 11–4 finish that won them the NFC Central Division but where they were eliminated for the second consecutive year by the Washington Redskins. The Bears won 12 games and lost 4, tying for the best record in the league with the Buffalo Bills and the AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals, and earned home field advantage in the NFC. However, the Bears failed to advance to the Super Bowl as one of the top two seeds for a third straight season, falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field. This was the second time that the 49ers and Bears had met for a trip to the Super Bowl during the decade, with the 49ers defeating the Bears on their way to Super Bowl XIX.

Coach Mike Ditka suffered a heart attack during the season, but was back on the sidelines 11 days later. Ditka was named coach of the year for the second time in his career. This was Jim McMahon's last season as starter for the Bears as he was traded during the following offseason to the San Diego Chargers.

1991 Chicago Bears season

The 1991 Chicago Bears season was their 72nd regular season and 21st postseason completed in the National Football League (NFL). The Bears returned to the playoffs for a second consecutive season as one of three NFC Wild Cards, finishing with an 11–5 record and in second place in the NFC Central. They were beaten, however, by the Dallas Cowboys in their first playoff game. This was Mike Ditka's last playoff game as a head coach.

1992 Chicago Bears season

The 1992 Chicago Bears season was their 73rd regular season completed in the National Football League (NFL). The Bears were looking to get back into the playoffs for a third straight year and improve on their 11–5 record, which was good enough for second place in the NFC Central, and to win their eighth division title in ten years. Although the Bears had a 4–3 record through seven games, they lost eight of their remaining nine (including six consecutively) and finished at 5–11. The Bears' poor record resulted in the termination of Mike Ditka as head coach on January 5, 1993 after eleven seasons. Dave Wannstedt, who was serving as the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator, was hired to take his place. Ditka was fired from coaching the Bears with a 106-62 record, playoff appearances in 7 out of 11 seasons since 1982 and a Super Bowl victory in 1985, with the defense considered the best of all time. He would return as a head coach in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints in 1997.

3AM (TV Series)

3AM is an American reality documentary series about the late-night life of New York City. The voyeuristic documentary series puts the spotlight on the lives of five New York citizens and veterans to the city's night life. The series debuted on the premium cable channel Showtime on May 28, 2015. Showtime continued to air a 7 episode-long first season. The season finale aired on July 9, 2015.3AM was met by critics with a mixed reception. The series has been praised for its provocative visual style, but has also been received as mildly entertaining.After its initial 7-episode run, Showtime cancelled the show in January 2016.

Black Reel Award for Outstanding Television Movie or Limited Series

This page lists the winners and nominees for the Black Reel Award for Outstanding Television Movie or Limited Series. As of the 2016 ceremony, Luther is the only television movie or limited series to receive more than one nomination. This award is presented to the producers of the production.

Black Reel Awards of 2006

The 2006 Black Reel Awards, which annually recognize and celebrate the achievements of black people in feature, independent and television films, took place in Washington, D.C. on February 18, 2006. Lackawanna Blues swept the awards with six wins, whilst in the film nominations Crash and Hustle & Flow each took home three awards.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (film)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a 2007 historical drama television film adapted from the book of the same name by Dee Brown. The film was written by Daniel Giat, directed by Yves Simoneau and produced by HBO Films. The book on which the movie is based is a history of Native Americans in the American West in the 1860s and 1870s, focusing upon the transition from traditional ways of living to living on reservations and their treatment during that period. The title of the film and the book is taken from a line in the Stephen Vincent Benet poem "American Names." It was shot in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Chicago Blitz

The Chicago Blitz was a professional American football team that played in the United States Football League in the mid-1980s. They played at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Cold Justice

Cold Justice is an unscripted true crime series originally broadcast on TNT and currently on Oxygen. The series, produced by Dick Wolf, follows former Harris County, Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler and a team of investigators as they re-open unsolved murder cases with the consent and assistance of local law enforcement. Crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary, a veteran of the Las Vegas Metro police, also appeared on the series; McClary had earlier been the inspiration for Catherine Willows, the character portrayed by Marg Helgenberger on the series CSI.As of April 2018, the team has helped to generate 35 arrests and 18 convictions, in addition to four confessions, three guilty pleas and three murder convictions.Although TNT made no official announcement, McClary wrote on her personal Facebook page in mid-2016 that the series was canceled. She later said that the production company is shopping the series to other networks. In February 2017, it was announced that Cold Justice had been acquired by Oxygen. A fourth season premiered on July 22, 2017. On April 23, 2018, Oxygen announced the series had been renewed for a fifth season.

Ghost Hunters (TV series)

Ghost Hunters is an American paranormal reality television series that premiered on October 6, 2004, on Syfy (previously the Sci-Fi Channel) and ran until October 26, 2016. The program features paranormal investigators Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, who investigate places that are reported to be haunted. The two originally worked as plumbers for Roto-Rooter as a day job while investigating locations at night. In June 2016, Jason Hawes announced that Ghost Hunters would be ending their relationship with the SyFy channel at the conclusion of its eleventh season, which aired later that year.The series is unrelated to the original 1996 Inca Productions' Ghosthunters produced for the Discovery Channel. The format was sold to Pilgrim Films & Television in the United States to become Ghost Hunters. The only link between the two series is presenter Ian Cashmore who anchored the European series. Cashmore piloted the U.S. show, but chose not to remain part of the U.S. venture after he filmed the promos.

Jim Schwantz

James William Schwantz (born January 23, 1970) is the Mayor of Palatine, Illinois. He is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and San Francisco 49ers. He played college football at Purdue University.

Joliet Catholic Academy

Joliet Catholic Academy (Joliet Catholic or JCA) is a coed Catholic High School located in Joliet, Illinois. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet. One of the oldest Catholic high schools in the Chicago area, Joliet Catholic is perhaps best known for its prowess in football. Since the advent of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state football playoffs in 1974, JCA has won more state football titles than any other team in the state, with 14 as of 2018.

The modern school is itself the result of a merger between the all-girls St. Francis Academy and the all-male Joliet Catholic High School, which itself was formerly known as DeLaSalle High School for Boys. It is this merger that results in the school's shared affiliation with the Carmelites and the Joliet Franciscan Sisters.


The Lenbachhaus (German: [ˈlɛnbaxˌhaʊs]) is a building housing an art museum in Munich's Kunstareal.

List of Chicago Bears broadcasters

Currently, WBBM NewsRadio 780 airs the Chicago Bears football games with Jeff Joniak doing the play-by-play, along with color commentator Tom Thayer and sideline reporter Zach Zaidman. Over the years, many Bears play-by-play broadcasters have included Jack Brickhouse and Wayne Larrivee. Their current preseason TV announcers on Fox Chicago are Adam Amin or Kyle Brandt (play-by-play), Jim Miller (color commentary) and Lou Canellis (sideline reporter).

Mark Bortz

Mark Steven Bortz (born February 12, 1961) is a former offensive guard in the National Football League. He attended the University of Iowa and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1983.

Pat Dunsmore

Patrick Neil "Pat" Dunsmore (born October 2, 1959 in Duluth, Minnesota) is a former professional American football player who played tight end for three seasons for the Chicago Bears. He is a graduate of Ankeny High School in Ankeny, Iowa and Drake University. He switched sports (to football) as a senior in high school and switched positions (to tight end) as a senior in college. He played for Drake during a historically successful era for the school. As a professional, he is best remembered as the recipient of a Walter Payton playoff touchdown and a victim of a pileup in a bench clearing brawl. He is the father of Drake Dunsmore.

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