Douglas John Buffone was not a native to Chicago. He was born in Yatesboro, Pennsylvania. He went to University of Louisville and was drafted by the Chicago Bears, where he played the entirety of his pro football career. It was there that he became the icon he was. It wasn’t for playing football though, like so many former stars, it was the person and his larger than life personality.
Like Harry Caray, Minnie Minoso or even Ernie Banks, Doug Buffone captured the essence of the everyman–the fan. His passion for not only football, but nearly every aspect of life seeped through his pores. I kid you not. I never met the man, but I listened to him intently on 670 AM WSCR The Score radio. When I first started listening he was paired up with Dan Jiggetts, another great human being, and former Chicago Bear. Doug Buffone also did the Chicago Bears post game on The Score alongside longtime Bear Ed O’Bradovich.
A few minutes after a Bears game was all it took to be hooked on a very special feeling. Doug and “OB” (as O’Bradovich was affectionately called) lit into the Bears or on rare occasions, gave praise, their emotions permeated the radio waves. If the Bears stunk, you wanted to listen. If the Bears did well, you also wanted to listen. The duo had tremendous insight and analysis that very few could verbalize. There was also the bone-biting honesty. Come hell or high water, you knew exactly how they felt. They didn’t always agree, and that just led to the magic.
It wasn’t just football though, Doug had a story for every day of the week. He talked about other sports just as passionately. He spoke of his family, going out to the movies and of course there was his “Big Doug” bit where he picked winners of other sports events including football. Most of the time, I would end up with tears in my eyes or my stomach cramping up from laughing.
It especially hurts after having lost one of my own close friends last December. I suppose after that, you become sensitive to such things. On Monday the 20th of April, 2015 everyone lost an uncle. Most of us lost a friend we have never met. His family lost a dear man and family member. Chicago lost another icon. Doug Buffone–you will be missed but you will not be forgotten.
Thanks to the Chicago Bears, Jarrett Payton and John Buffone for sharing your words and pictures via Twitter. Special thanks to WSCR 670 am for sharing all the great memories and making this easier than it should be.