Steve McMichael
refer to caption
McMichael in 2016
No. 66, 76, 90
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born: (1957-10-17) October 17, 1957 (age 66)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:270 lb (122 kg)
Career information
High school:Freer (Freer, Texas)
College:Texas (1976–1979)
NFL draft:1980 / Round: 3 / Pick: 73
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As a player
As a coach
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:847
Forced fumbles:13
Fumble recoveries:17
Head coaching record
Regular season:58–34 (.630)
Postseason:4–4 (.500)
Career:62–38 (.620)
Player stats at · PFR

Stephen Douglas McMichael (born October 17, 1957), nicknamed "Mongo",[1] "Ming" and "Ming the Merciless",[2] is an American former professional football player and professional wrestler. He was a defensive tackle for 15 seasons in the National Football League (NFL), primarily for the Chicago Bears. He played college football for the Texas Longhorns and was selected by the New England Patriots in the 1980 NFL draft.

During his time with the Bears, he was a two-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro, winning Super Bowl XX with the team. He ended his football career with the Green Bay Packers, before making appearances for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) ahead of WrestleMania XI. He is best known for his work as a professional wrestler with World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he became a member of the legendary Four Horsemen stable and was a one-time WCW United States Champion.

McMichael remained a popular figure in Chicago well after his retirement. He was a regular presence on local sports radio for several years and was the namesake of a restaurant in the southwest suburbs of Chicago.[3] From 2007 to 2013, McMichael was the head coach of the Chicago Slaughter of the Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL), and later unsuccessfully campaigned for the mayor of Romeoville, Illinois. In 2021, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). McMichael was selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2024.

Early life

McMichael was born on October 17, 1957, in Houston, Texas. His parents separated before his second birthday, and his mother later remarried E.V. McMichael, an oil company executive whose surname McMichael adopted. He has three other siblings: older brother John Richard and younger sisters Kathy and Sharon. The family moved to Freer, where he attended Freer High School. In his senior year, he lettered in six sports: football, basketball, baseball, track, tennis and golf. Baseball was his preferred sport, and whilst playing as a catcher, he batted .450 in his senior year, garnering attention from the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.[4]

College football career

McMichael's performances for his high school football team saw him being offered scholarships by 75 institutions. He decided to attend the University of Texas at Austin. He played as a defensive tackle for the Texas Longhorns football team from 1976 to 1979, but his freshman season was marred by the death of his stepfather. In his senior season, he was a consensus first-team All-American, and he was defensive MVP at the 1979 Hula Bowl.[4] During his time at Texas he was an All-Southwest conference choice in 1978 and 1979, the team MVP in 1979 and the backup place kicker in 1977. In 1999 he was inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor

On July 17, 2010, McMichael was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.[5]

Professional football career

McMichael was drafted out of Texas in 1980 by the New England Patriots but cut before his second season. The Chicago Bears signed him as a free agent in 1981. He became one of their starting defensive tackles and helping them to a Super Bowl win in 1985.[6] He had a streak of 101 games started until 1990, when his playing time was reduced. He led the Bears with 1112 sacks in 1988. He had 108 tackles in 1989. McMichael was named to the NFC's Pro Bowl teams for the 1986 and 1987 seasons.

McMichael gained notability in a 1991 game against the New York Jets. With the Bears down 13–6 with 1:54 remaining, McMichael forced a Blair Thomas fumble and recovered it at the New York 36. Quarterback Jim Harbaugh then threw a game-tying touchdown to Neal Anderson with :18 left in the game. The Bears went on to win in overtime when Harbaugh scored on a 1-yard TD run.[7] Bears coach Mike Ditka said in 2005 that McMichael was the toughest player he had ever coached.[8] He played with the Green Bay Packers in 1994 before retiring. Aside from his "Mongo" moniker, McMichael was also nicknamed "Ming the Merciless", or "Ming" for short.[9]

"Thank God New England got rid of me. Some teams, they want you to have a certain image. Other teams, like this one, they just want you to get down and dirty. I'm really proud to be a Bear. The Patriots, yeah, they thought I was a little weird. And I guess I am. But here they don't care, long as you play hard. The town, the coach, the team — it's Steve McMichael. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

— McMichael in 1984, speaking to the Chicago Tribune's Bob Verdi[10]

"For 13 years, I helped the Bears beat the Packers every year. I whupped their ass, right? So the last year, I went up there on my last leg and I wasn't any good anymore. So I stole their money and whipped their ass again!"

— McMichael in 2019, speaking about his sole season with the Green Bay Packers[11]

In August 2023, he was named a finalist for the Seniors ballot of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the class of 2024. He had previously been nominated in 2014 and 2015.[12] On February 8, 2024, McMichael was officially selected to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.[13]

Professional wrestling career

Steve McMichael
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Steve McMichael
Billed height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Billed weight270 lb (122 kg)
Trained byTerry Taylor

World Wrestling Federation (1995)

After the end of his NFL career, he appeared at ringside in the WWF for Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania XI on April 2, 1995, in Hartford, Connecticut. Taylor was wrestling Bam Bam Bigelow and there were several football players at ringside to keep wrestlers from interfering in the match.[14] During the March 20 episode of Monday Night Raw, McMichael provided guest commentary with Vince McMahon and would later brawl with Kama Mustafa, one of Bigelow's comrades. The fight was all over the arena floor and almost into the stands, knocking over the broadcast table, soon being broken up by personnel.[15] Taylor ended up winning the later match.

World Championship Wrestling (1995–1999)

Color commentator (1995–1996)

In 1995, McMichael was hired by World Championship Wrestling (WCW). On September 4, 1995, he made his debut with the company as the pro-babyface color commentator on the premiere of WCW Monday Nitro, with Bobby Heenan fulfilling his typical pro-heel commentator role alongside lead broadcaster Eric Bischoff.[16] McMichael would root for the popular wrestlers during matches, would bicker with Heenan on a regular basis, and brought his dog Pepe with him to the broadcast booth.

The Four Horsemen (1996–1997)

Main article: The Four Horsemen

In April 1996, Ric Flair started hitting on McMichael's wife Debra, who would sit at ringside during WCW Monday Nitro. McMichael challenged Flair and Arn Anderson to a match with his partner Kevin Greene. He trained with Randy Savage (he was actually trained by Terry Taylor at the WCW Power Plant), while Flair and Anderson got Heenan to be their coach for the match.

The match took place at The Great American Bash. During the match, Debra and Greene's wife were chased to the back by Woman and Miss Elizabeth, who were Flair's valets. Debra came back with Woman and Elizabeth, and she had a briefcase full of money and a Four Horsemen T-shirt. McMichael accepted it and hit Greene in the head with the briefcase.[17] McMichael's first singles match was against Joe Gomez at Bash at the Beach.[18]

He went on to feud with the Dungeon of Doom with the other Horsemen, and he had problems with Jeff Jarrett over the affections of Debra in late 1996 through early 1997. Women would trash Debra, causing McMichael and Chris Benoit to step in each time. The turning point in the McMichael–Jarrett feud was at SuperBrawl VII. McMichael wrestled Jarrett, and if Jarrett won, he was an official Horseman. Debra interfered for Jarrett, so he would win.[19] Then McMichael and Jarrett had to team, and they bickered at first but later became a solid tag team. McMichael wrestled two football players in 1997. He beat Reggie White at Slamboree and lost to Kevin Greene at The Great American Bash, which saw McMichael slapped by Greene's mother at ringside.[20][21]

In July 1997, Jarrett was kicked out of the Horsemen, and Debra soon left McMichael for Jarrett. McMichael got his revenge when he defeated Jarrett for his WCW United States Heavyweight Championship on the August 21 episode of Clash of the Champions XXXV.[22] Just weeks earlier, Arn Anderson had been forced to retire due to an injury, and Curt Hennig took his place in the Horsemen. At Fall Brawl, Hennig turned on the Horsemen and joined the nWo, during the War Games match that the Horsemen were involved in. McMichael was handcuffed to the steel cage surrounding the ring along with Benoit, and neither man could defend Flair from the 5-on-1 assault from the nWo; the match ended after McMichael surrendered to stop the nWo from attacking Flair, although Hennig would still slam the cage door on Flair's head (which was edited out of the home video release, but included on the WWE Network in full), even after the submission was made.[23] The next night on Nitro, McMichael dropped his United States title to Hennig, and Flair disbanded the Horsemen.[24]

Various rivalries and departure (1997–1999)

McMichael went after Debra's stable of wrestlers that included Jarrett, Eddie Guerrero and Alex Wright. Debra hired Goldberg to get McMichael, and he became one of Goldberg's first victims in November 1997. Goldberg stole McMichael's Super Bowl ring and weeks later McMichael hit Goldberg with a pipe and reclaimed it.[25][26] He briefly helped Benoit feud with Raven's Flock in January 1998 and then got into a feud with The British Bulldog, in which he broke his hand during a match at SuperBrawl VIII in February 1998.[27] McMichael returned in June and had a feud with Stevie Ray and helped reform the Four Horsemen in October with Flair, Benoit, Dean Malenko and manager Arn Anderson. They feuded with the nWo until McMichael made his final appearance on the February 8, 1999, episode of Nitro.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2008)

McMichael returned to professional wrestling for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's flagship pay-per-view, Bound For Glory, where he refereed the Monster's Ball Match. This match was notable for McMichael's extremely slow cadence for a three count.[28]

Other endeavors

McMichael singing with the Chicago 6 Band in 2016.

McMichael co-hosted a Bears pre-game show with Jeff Dickerson on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. He was the head coach of the Chicago Slaughter of the Indoor Football League from 2007 until the team's final season in 2013.

McMichael and fellow 1985 Chicago Bears alumni Dan Hampton and Otis Wilson performed in a rock and roll oldies band (with entertaining satirical Mike Ditka verses) called the Chicago 6.[29]

On August 7, 2001, during the seventh-inning stretch of a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field, McMichael, who was visiting the Cubs television booth, took a turn as the guest singer for "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Earlier in the game in the bottom of the 6th inning, home plate umpire Ángel Hernández had controversially called Cubs infielder Ron Coomer out at the plate. Before singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game, McMichael announced to those in attendance over the PA system that he would "have some speaks" with Hernández after the game, presumably as a result of Hernández's call on Coomer. Crew chief Randy Marsh ordered McMichael to be ejected from the ballpark, and the umpires later received an apology for McMichael's conduct from then-Cubs general manager Andy MacPhail.[30]

On August 16, 2012, McMichael announced his intentions to run for mayor of Romeoville, Illinois.[31] He lost the race to incumbent John Noak, garnering 39 percent of the vote.[32]

Personal life

McMichael at a Chicago Slaughter football game in 2008.

In 1985, McMichael married Debra Marshall. They divorced on October 12, 1998.[33]

On March 24, 2001, McMichael married Misty Davenport.[4][34] On August 3, 2007, McMichael appeared as a guest on the Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 and announced he is going to be a father with his wife. Their daughter Macy Dale McMichael was born at 4:12 pm on January 22, 2008.[35]

On April 23, 2021, McMichael announced that he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In the announcement, he also confirmed that he would be retiring from making public appearances going forward.[36] The announcement came six months after one of McMichael's contemporaries in the NFL, former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle and broadcaster Tunch Ilkin, announced his own ALS diagnosis;[37] Ilkin died of ALS complications on September 4, at the age of 63.[38]

On September 18, McMichael returned to Soldier Field to accept the ALS Courage Award from the Les Turner ALS Foundation, which supports McMichael and his family after his ALS diagnosis.[39][40] Despite not making any more public appearances, with his and his family's permission, photos of McMichael being visited by former teammates and wrestlers have surfaced on social media.[41][42]

Championships and accomplishments

American football

Professional wrestling

See also


  1. ^ Grott, Connor (April 23, 2021). "Former Bears star, pro wrestler Steve 'Mongo' McMichael reveals ALS diagnosis". United Press International. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "MING THE MERCILESS NOW HAS HATRED IN HIS HEART FOR BEARS". Associated Press. October 31, 1994. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  3. ^ "The Mongo McMichaels - food • fun • spirits -- About Us". Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Kogan, Rick (August 28, 2005). "STILL (a little) CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  5. ^ "Chris Spielman is the fan favorite at hall ceremony - ESPN". July 17, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  6. ^ "Bears Trounce Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl". Los Angeles Times. January 27, 1986. Retrieved October 31, 2023.
  7. ^ "FOOTBALL; Bears Work Overtime to Send Jets Into Shock (Published 1991)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018.
  8. ^ Flores, David (May 14, 2021). "'Cut from a different cloth,' McMichael started road to stardom at Freer High School". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  9. ^ "MING THE MERCILESS NOW HAS HATRED IN HIS HEART FOR BEARS". Associated Press. October 31, 1994. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  10. ^ Larkin, Will (August 19, 2019). "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 18, Steve McMichael". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  11. ^ Weiderer, Dan (August 26, 2019). "'Ooooh, the skulduggery!': Inside the world of Steve McMichael, still one of the most colorful and beloved characters from the 1985 Bears". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  12. ^ "Future Football Legends: Steve McMichael". Retrieved October 12, 2023.
  13. ^ "Pro Football Hall of Fame to enshrine seven in Class of 2024". Pro Football Hall of Fame. February 8, 2024. Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  14. ^ McNew, Rob (March 17, 2009). "WrestleMania XI Review". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  15. ^ Pantoja, Kevin (March 9, 2016). "Raw History: Episodes 103-105". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  16. ^ Furious, Arnold (April 28, 2011). "The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Nitro September 1995". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  17. ^ Bramma, Jack (May 12, 2013). "Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Great American Bash 1996". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  18. ^ Pantoja, Kevin (February 6, 2015). "Random Network Reviews: WCW Bash at the Beach 1996". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  19. ^ Bramma, Jack (August 24, 2013). "Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Superbrawl VII". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  20. ^ Bramma, Jack (August 3, 2014). "Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Slamboree 1997". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  21. ^ Bramma, Jack (September 4, 2014). "Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Great American Bash 1997". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  22. ^ Hoops, Brain (August 15, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history (August 21): final WCW Clash Of The Champions, Dusty Rhodes beats Harley Race for NWA world title". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved June 13, 2020. 1997 - At the final WCW Clash of the Champions card, Steve McMichael defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the WCW United States Title in Nashville, Tennessee.
  23. ^ Keith, Scott (August 15, 2002). "The SmarK Retro Repost – Fall Brawl '97". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  24. ^ Pantoja, Kevin (March 21, 2018). "Raw History: Episode 225 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 105". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  25. ^ Bramma, Jack (August 27, 2012). "Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Halloween Havoc 1997". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  26. ^ Pantoja, Kevin (August 18, 2016). "Random Network Reviews: World War 3 1997". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  27. ^ Bramma, Jack (September 20, 2012). "Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Superbrawl VIII". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  28. ^ Csonka, Larry (October 12, 2008). "411's TNA Bound for Glory IV Report 10.12.08". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  29. ^ Konkol, Mark (July 10, 2015). "'85 Bears Band Bringing Revamped 'Super Bowl Shuffle' to Taste of Chicago". Archived from the original on June 13, 2020. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  30. ^ "Umpire Angel Hernandez sets record straight on Steve McMichael ejection from 2001 Cubs game". Chicago Tribune. June 30, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  31. ^ "Steve McMichael: Mayor? Former Chicago Bear Throws Hat Into Ring For Romeoville Race". Huffington Post. August 18, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  32. ^ Ziezulewicz, Geoff (April 10, 2013). "Romeoville mayor declares victory over 'Mongo' McMichael". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  33. ^ "Steve Williams and Debra's Marriage Certificate". The Smoking Gun. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
  34. ^ "Texas Marriages Search Results for 2001 - GenLookups". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  35. ^ "Steve and Misty McMichael Welcome Baby Girl". Retrieved August 20, 2012. The Chicago Slaughter would like to congratulate head coach Steve McMichael and his wife Misty on the birth of their first child Tuesday afternoon. Macy Dale McMichael was born at 4:12 p.m. weighing in at 6 lbs. 12 oz. and measuring 19" long. Mother, baby and dad are all doing great
  36. ^ Liberatore, Joel (April 23, 2021). "Former Chicago Bear Steve 'Mongo' McMichael reveals he is battling ALS". Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  37. ^ Saunders, Alan (October 9, 2020). "Longtime Steelers OL, Broadcaster Tunch Ilkin Diagnosed with ALS". SteelersNow. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  38. ^ "Former Steelers broadcaster Tunch Ilkin dies". WPXI. September 7, 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  39. ^ "Chicago Bears legend Steve 'Mongo' McMichael accepts first-ever ALS Courage Award at Soldier Field". Chicago Tribune. September 18, 2021. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  40. ^ "Faces of ALS: Steve McMichael". Les Turner ALS Foundation. September 30, 2021. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  41. ^ Davis, Paul (July 10, 2022). "Friend of Steve McMichael shares heartbreaking photo of the NFL legend/ex-WCW star". Wrestling News. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  42. ^ Borden, Sam (February 9, 2024). "Steve McMichael's fight for his Pro Football Hall of Fame call". ESPN. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  43. ^ "WWE United States Championship". Retrieved May 25, 2020.