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Tom Thayer - Blitz, Wranglers, Outlaws

"The reason I signed with the Blitz was to stay close to home, but after playing for George that one year, I wanted to be part of his team," says Thayer, the former Super Bowl winning offensive lineman for the ’85 Bears. "It was great lesson in life, I learned football and matured as an adult."

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Tom Thayer - Super Bowl Champions 1985 Chicago Bears

In a strange twist of fate, Tom Thayer was driving his former Notre Dame roommate, Larry Moriarity, to the Chicago Blitz facility to meet the team’s legendary head coach George Allen.

Moriarity didn’t sign with the club, but Thayer did as the territorial

pick of the Chicago Blitz.

 

"The next thing I knew, they made a guaranteed offer before the

Bears did," says Thayer in 2005. "As a young offensive lineman,

who was unsure of my future in the NFL, this might be a great

opportunity right in front of my face."

The Blitz made a guaranteed personal services contract with Thayer – meaning: if the league folded Thayer was guaranteed his money.

"This was a great opportunity to gain some experience and play with one of the all-time great coaches, George Allen," says Thayer. "George convinced me everything was going to be run in a first-class manner, from the players to the facilities."

When the Blitz and Wrangles swapped franchises, Thayer wanted to remain with the legendary coach Allen.

"The reason I signed with the Blitz was to stay close to home, but after playing for George that one year, I wanted to be part of his team," says Thayer, the former Super Bowl winning offensive lineman for the ’85 Bears. "It was great lesson in life, I learned football and matured as an adult."

Thayer’s decision worked out well for the young lineman from Chicago, as the Wranglers went to the USFL Championship, while the Blitz lost 13 games in 1984.

By 1985, the Blitz faded from the Chicago sports scene, and the Arizona Wranglers merged with the Oklahoma Outlaws – the Arizona Outlaws were born.

Thayer played under Frank Kush for the ’85 season, where QB Doug Williams passed for more than 3,600 yards, but the team finished 8-10.

After the season’s finale in Arizona, Thayer cleaned-out his locker and headed home – to Chicago where history awaited him.

"I went from a game in Saturday night in Arizona, went to my locker, got my things and drove all-night to full-pad rookie camp with the Bears on that Monday morning," he says.

Suddenly, Thayer went from a league and team that was in financial distress to one of the NFL’s legendary teams – the Chicago Bears.

"I couldn’t believe I was in a huddle with guys like Walter Payton and Jim McMahon," says a giddy Thayer.

On defense were some of all-time greats: linebackers Mike Singletary, Wilbur Marshall and Otis Wilson.

But his two years under Allen greatly prepared Thayer for this magical ’85 season.

"Being around the players Allen had on the team, taught me how to be a pass-blocker in the NFL. It gave me the understanding of what the NFL would be like," Thayer says. "It wasn't a big change going from the USFL to the Bears because Allen ran his team as a first-class and professional organization."

The Bears won 10 games in 1984; they beat the Redskins 23-19 in the first-round of the playoffs, but lost the NFC Championship to the 49ers 23-0 in San Francisco.

Despite the loss to the 49ers, the Bears would unleash HELL on their opponents in 1985, and Thayer was a part of that.

"I knew something special was happening in the '84 season when I watched their games," says Thayer, who was drafted by the Bears hours after the Blitz drafted him in 1983. "My teammates [on the Outlaws] were telling me how hard it was going o be to make the roster of the Bears. It wasn't a guarantee that you were going to walk into camp and make it."

The former Notre Dame guard made the roster and started when an injury to another offensive lineman gave Thayer the opportunity he always dreamed about. "I came in with ability to contribute on the offensive line. I went in, stayed healthy, and the Bears went on a roll," he says. "When the opportunity presents itself, you have to be ready to play."

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