From the wind-swept concrete canyon now called Bears Plaza at the boisterous city center, Chicago trumpeted triumph tonight as its champions ended 22 years of defeat, trouncing the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XX.
Well-oiled Chicagoans by the hundreds poured forth to whoop it up despite near zero weather. Caravans of cars jammed downtown streets, horns blaring. Pedestrians howled and raved on the sidewalks of the Rush Street bar district.
Everywhere, Chicagoans hoisted their thumbs and their tankards in universal salute. Nothing dampened the mass delight. Nothing froze the incredible high of winning at last, at such long last, the city's first NFL title since 1963.
While the wind howled as though signaling a new Ice Age, the hardy men and women of the Windy City danced, shouted, high-fived, and cavorted late into the night in the half-block, granite plaza across from City Hall in the Loop.
"Had to come here! Had to!" shouted Gerald Lewis, of Sheboygan, Wis., a former Chicagoan. "Had to!"
If any city's geographic crossroad can be its emotional heart, then the intersection at Dearborn and Washington streets in the Loop is Chicago's. And it was here, like filings to a magnet, that Chicagoans thronged.
"Aaagghhh! Aaagghhh! Arrrgghh!" screamed Southsider Ron Goodman, as a stranger wandered past in the frigid darkness. "High fives, man! High fives!"
"Go Bears! Go Bears!" screamed Chicagoans into the darkness.
They danced and roared before a huge outdoor screen that roared back the videotape of dancing Bears rapping "The Super Bowl Shuffle."
"Been like this since late afternoon," reported Patrolman Raul Lopez, who, with dozens of Chicago's finest, was keeping benevolent order. "What was the final score?"
"Forty-six to 10 . . . they got a safety."
"Good!" shouted Lopez, "Atta way!"
Elsewhere, mounted police congregated along Rush Street to keep order while thousands of jubilant patrons snaked their way from bar to bar, toasting football, America, the President, and quarterback Jim McMahon with equal gravity.
At Daley Plaza, renamed Bears Plaza last week, the pandemonium continued, and when the huge image of William (The Refrigerator) Perry appeared on the video screen, a huge cheer echoed skyward.
Earlier in the day, about 1,500 fans watched the game at Daley Plaza. Some brought lawn chairs, other spread blankets on the cold concrete. A man dressed as the Grim Reaper carried a sign reading, "The Patriots are Doomed." A station wagon decked out as a hearse circled the plaza.
"There's been electricity in the air all day, all the day," declared Bernard Watson, a Chicagoan who stopped by Dearborn and Washington on his way home from work.
Delirious fans crowed on the concrete, and Sue Clark wrapped herself ever tighter in her blanket as she danced and cavorted in front of her lawn chair in the middle of the plaza crowd.
"I've been here since two in the afternoon," she said, between chattering teeth, but smiling.
"We've been watching the games at home all season," she said. "We just had to come down here for the Super Bowl and be with everybody else."