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The Monsters of the Midway paved the way for a Grammy-nominated rap video

... and the term “Midway” may not mean what you think it means.

There are few nicknames as misunderstood as “Monsters of the Midway.” Some people think the term Midway comes from Chicago’s location in the Midwest region of the United States, while some think that its borrowed from Midway Airport. The truth is far more complicated.

Although the nickname is commonly associated with the ‘85 Bears, it can actually be traced all the way back to the turn of the century, when Chicago’s main football team was located miles away from the Bears on Chicago’s south side. The University of Chicago Maroons, coached by the famous Amos Alonzo Stagg, were a fearsome force in collegiate football. U of C is situated along the Midway Plaisance, a tree-lined greenway that connects Jackson Park and Washington Park, which were the two sites of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair. The Maroons were a very good football team and were thus nicknamed Monsters of the Midway.

The University ended its football program in 1939, around the time that the Bears were winning multiple championships and the Bears wound up with the nickname — 40 years later when the Buddy Ryan-led defense debuted in Super Bowl XX.