Barack Obama finally honours the Chicago Bears of 1985

US president Barack Obama meets the all-conquering 1985 Chicago Bears team
US president Barack Obama is presented with a memento from the 1985 Super Bowl winners the Chicago Bears

The 1985 NFL championship-winning Chicago Bears have enjoyed an audience with the President - 25 years after their Super Bowl win.

But the traditional visit to the White House was called off two days after the final when the space shuttle Challenger exploded and killed the entire crew.

US President Obama, a Bears fan and former Chicago resident, invited them after a request by the team.

Many of the legendary side who stormed to victory at the Superdome in New Orleans made the trip to hand over a "Bears 85" shirt to Obama.

"They changed the laws of football, they were gritty, they were gutsy, they were hard-working, they were fun-loving, sort of how Chicagoans like to think of themselves," Obama said in congratulating them as the greatest to play in the National Football League.

"And as much fun as it is to finally have these guys here, we want today's Bears to come home to the White House with a championship as well," Obama added before posing with the team for a picture with their championship trophy.

Coach Mike Ditka, quarterback Jim McMahon, wearing signature sunglasses and headband, and wide receiver Willie Gault were among those to meet the president.

The team also featured the late Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton (pictured above) and 300-pound defensive lineman William "Refrigerator" Perry, a towering figure who was used as a running back to gain short yards.

Ditka, who was known for his aggressive and boisterous coaching style, thanked Obama for the long-awaited recognition in front of fans and guests - some of whom were wearing navy blue and orange Bears jerseys and caps.

"It was a great group of guys," Ditka said of his team. "We're very proud that you honoured us by bringing us here."

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