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Bears players recall appearing on ‘Married With Children’

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Larry Mayer

With their first-round decide within the 1997 NFL Draft, the Bears chosen fullback Al Bundy of Polk Excessive Faculty in Chicago.

Properly, no less than that is what Hollywood needed you to imagine. On an episode of the Fox sitcom “Married … With Kids” that aired 25 years in the past this week, the fictional ladies’s shoe salesman desires that he sells his soul to the satan to be drafted by the Bears and take them to the Tremendous Bowl.

The episode, entitled “Rattling Bundys,” featured three precise Bears gamers portraying themselves: quarterback Erik Kramer, operating again Raymont Harris and receiver Curtis Conway. The trio traveled to Sony Footage Studios in Culver Metropolis, Calif., to movie the present in February 1997.

“I used to be completely in awe,” Harris recalled just lately. “I used to be 26 and I had by no means been to California or Hollywood earlier than. I used to be a fan of ‘Married … With Kids,’ however to see the actors in actual life was very eye-opening.”

Al Bundy was performed by actor Ed O’Neill, who donned a No. 33 Bears jersey within the episode. O’Neill starred in two of the longest-running sitcoms in TV historical past, first on “Married … With Kids” for 11 seasons from 1987-97 and later one other 11 years as Jay Pritchett on ABC’s “Fashionable Household” from 2009-20.

The remainder of the Bundy household consisted of Al’s spouse Peggy (Katey Sagal), daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate) and son Bud (David Faustino).

O’Neill grew up in Ohio taking part in soccer. A defensive lineman, he earned a scholarship to Ohio College and later transferred to Youngstown State. In 1969, he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent. However after competing with “Imply Joe” Greene and L.C. Greenwood in coaching camp, O’Neill was launched. He then returned to Youngstown State and joined the theater program.

Harris, who was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, bonded with O’Neill on set over their soccer backgrounds and Ohio roots.

“He was undoubtedly essentially the most personable [of all the actors],” Harris mentioned. “The character Al Bundy is a goofball, however Ed was a daily man, severe and good.”

Kramer, who as soon as lived down the road from Sony Studios in Culver Metropolis, additionally loved interacting with O’Neill, discovering that they had each spent spring breaks throughout school in Myrtle Seaside, S.C.

“That is in all probability one of many funniest human beings I’ve ever met,” Kramer mentioned just lately. “Ed was essentially the most personable [on set]. He was a down-to-earth man.”

Within the “Rattling Bundys” episode, Al joins the Bears and enjoys instant success. A newspaper headline proclaims, “World’s Oldest Rookie Scores 4 TDs in Season Opener.” As Bundy leads the Bears to the Tremendous Bowl, he’s named Time Journal’s “Man of the 12 months” and Folks Journal’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

The satan within the episode was performed by Robert Englund, who is best identified for portraying Freddy Krueger within the “A Nightmare on Elm Road” motion pictures.

The Bears gamers solely had a number of strains, with Harris telling Bundy: “You are still previous and flabby and also you scent like Ben-Homosexual.”

To today, when the “Rattling Bundys” episode airs, Kramer, Harris and Conway nonetheless obtain residual checks-and texts from amused buddies and kin.

“The residual checks was once considerably larger, however now they’re like 18 cents or 38 cents,” Harris mentioned. “It is a type of reveals that is all the time proven on reruns. To today, somebody will snap a nonetheless shot or ship me a video [clip]. I might say it occurs about 10 occasions a yr.”

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