Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve Its History, Promote Its Values & Celebrate Excellence Everywhere
“I don’t think I’m proven. You are only as good as your last game. I try to think of myself as steady, but there is always room for improvement. If you can’t see room for improvement, it’s time to get out.”
(Pittsburgh)...6'4'', 277...Drafted in 1st Round (6th overall), 1983 … Immediately earned starting left tackle and earned All-Rookie recognition … Anchored offensive line that helped Bears capture six division titles in seven-year span … Team leader that helped Chicago win 10 or more games in a season six times … Paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher every season of career but one … Started at left tackle in three NFC championship games and one Super Bowl … Named Offensive Lineman of the Year, 1986 … First-Team All-Pro twice (1985, 1986) … Second-Team All-Pro, 1987 … All-NFC three times … Voted to two Pro Bowls (1986, 1987) … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1980s … Born March 22, 1960 in Conway, Pennsylvania.
Jimbo Covert, a 6’4”, 277-pound tackle out of Pittsburgh, was drafted in the first round (6th player overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He earned the Bears’ starting left tackle position starting all 16 games during his rookie season. Covert’s presence made an immediate impact as he helped clear the path for Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton to gain 1,421 rushing yards and the Bears to lead the entire NFL in rushing. Covert’s efforts earned him All-Rookie honors.
Covert would continue to anchor an offensive line that helped the Bears capture six division titles in seven-year span. As a Bears team Captain, Chicago won 10 or more games in a season six times during his eight-year career. The Bears’ success during Covert’s tenure was largely predicated on a strong rushing attack. They led the National Football League in rushing four straight seasons from 1983 to 1986 and were the NFC’s top rushing team in 1989.
He was able to battle through numerous injuries to start 110 games. Covert started at left tackle in 11 playoff games, three NFC championship games and one Super Bowl. He helped Chicago lead the NFC in points scored during the Bears’ magical 1985 season, which was highlighted by a 15-1 regular-season record. That season culminated in a dominating 46-10 victory over New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.
Covert paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in every season of his career but one. He was voted to the Pro Bowl twice (1985 and 1986), was named the NFL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1985 and the Miller Lite Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1986. He earned consensus First-Team All-Pro honors in 1985 and in 1986 as well as Second-Team All-Pro honors in 1987. Covert was also an All NFC selection four times (1985, 1986, 1987 and 1990) and named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1980s.
1983 Chicago...................... 16
1984 Chicago...................... 16
1985 Chicago...................... 15
1986 Chicago...................... 16
1987 Chicago........................ 9
1988 Chicago........................ 9
1989 Chicago...................... 15
1990 Chicago...................... 15
Career Total........................ 111
1984 NFC – San Francisco 49ers 23, Chicago Bears 0
Covert started at left tackle.
1985 NFC – Chicago Bears 24, Los Angeles Rams 0
Covert started at left tackle and had one fumble recovery.
1988 NFC – San Francisco 49ers 28, Chicago Bears 3
Super Bowl XX – Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10
All-Pro: 1985 (AP, PFWA, NEA, SN) · 1986 (AP, PFWA, SN, PW)
All-Pro Second Team: 1987 (NEA)
All-NFC: 1985 (UPI) · 1986 (UPI, PW) · 1987 (UPI)
All-NFC Second Team: 1990 (UPI)
(2) – 1986, 1987
Awards and Honors
· 1980s All-Decade Team
· 1983 All-Rookie Team (PFWA)
· 1986 Offensive Lineman of the Year
Year-by-Year Team Records
1983 Chicago Bears.................... 8-8-0 (3rd)
1984 Chicago Bears................. 10-6-0 (1st)
1985 Chicago Bears................. 15-1-0 (1st)
1986 Chicago Bears................. 14-2-0 (1st)
1987 Chicago Bears................. 11-4-0 (1st)
1988 Chicago Bears................. 12-4-0 (1st)
1989 Chicago Bears................... 6-10-0 (4th)
1990 Chicago Bears................. 11-5-0 (1st)
(Division Finish in Parentheses)
Qualified for Postseason in Bold
Full Name: James Paul Covert
Birthdate: March 22, 1960
Birthplace: Conway, Pennsylvania
High School: Freedom (PA)
Pro Career: 8 seasons, 111 games
Drafted: 1st round (6th player overall) in 1983 by Chicago Bears
JIMBO COVERT: Thank you! Check that hair out, right? It was the '80s, what can I say, right? I think Marino's hair got caught up on that.
Thank you. Matt, I'm proud to have you as my presenter, even though you went to Penn State.
(Laughter and cheers.)
And we tease each other all the time about that. I always say my favorite weekend is when Penn State, Notre Dame, and Green Bay all lose in the same weekend.
Just kidding, Franco. Okay. Thank you, Matt. I really appreciate you being here for me.
I want to thank all the staff here at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. David Baker and his staff are amazing. You made this an incredible experience for me and my family.
Thank you to the Centennial Committee, especially Dan Pompei, and congratulations to the entire Centennial Class of 2020. I am proud to be inducted alongside you.
Congratulations to the Class of 2021, who will be on this stage tomorrow night, and to the guys sitting all around here, the members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You're all my heroes. Thank you very much.
(Cheers and applause.)
And I want to say thank you to the Chicago Bears organization. Ted Phillips and the McCaskey family, and one McCaskey in particular, Ed McCaskey. Ed was a remarkable person who made Penny and me feel so welcome when we first got to Chicago.
When I got hurt in training camp in '88 and had to go back for surgery, Ed visited me every day in the hospital. He bought me lunch from Tufano's, and he'd sit there with the Sportsman's Park racing form chewing on that cigar and say, "Jimmy, what do you think of this horse?"
So growing up, I never dreamed I'd be standing here in front of you at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And there are so many people that helped make that happen, starting with my mom and dad.
And I always said I never had far to look for role models because they were right down the hall. My dad, like my grandfather before him, worked at ARMCO Steel in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, for 34 years.
And I remember once he took me to the hot mill in July when I was like ten years old and said, "Son, you never want to come in here." And one week a month, when he worked night turn, he'd come home early in the morning, change, and then go back out in a Sears and Roebuck moving truck for another eight hours delivering appliances. And as a kid, that makes quite an impression on you.
My mom is my biggest fan. Right there. There she is.
No one can say anything about her kids. No one. She worked at JC Penney part time in Northern Lights Shopping Center in Baden.
Anyone remembers that. We called it "JC Pennay” to make it sound more exotic.
We got that discount. The husky section, right, Mom? Every single time.
Yeah, my mom is the rock of our family. Thank you, Mom. I love you. Thank you for everything.
I'd thank to thank my beautiful wife, Penny, sitting right down there in front.
She's had to put up with so much, most of all being married to me. But all the injuries and surgeries, even helping me to the bathroom some Monday mornings, all the while raising our family. Honey, you're the glue that holds us all together. Thank you. I love you so much. Thank you. Thank you.
And I have three great kids: Casey, Jessica, and Scott. I'm so proud of each of you. Each one of you. Thank you.
I'd like to thank my sisters, Deb and Elaine, and my brother, John, for all their love and support over the years. And I promise this is the last thing you have to go to for me, okay? I really appreciate it.
I grew up in a town in western Pennsylvania called Conway, PA. We have Conway people up there, I think.
Yeah! It's still home. So right down the street, right down Route 65 is Freedom High School. I think the Bulldogs are up there I think on top. Go bulldogs!
I played for a guy named Chuck Lucidore. Chuck made you believe in yourself and your abilities and made football fun again. He's turned us into winners. He's no longer with us, but I owe him tremendous, a lot. I was very fortunate to play for the University of Pittsburgh. Hail to Pitt!
Pitt is an incredible place, and I played with some of the greatest college football players of all time and with some of the greatest college football teams of all time. And many of my Pitt teammates are here tonight. Danny is up here, Rick Trocano, Jim Morsillo, Emil, they can all attest to that.
At Pitt I played for two great coaches in Jackie Sherrill and Joe Moore. And Jackie was a great player's coach who really cared about you as a person, not just a football player. When I moved to the offensive line in spring of '80, he took a personal interest in making sure it was the best move for me. Thank you, Coach Sherrill. I love you.
And I owe so much of my success to Joe Moore who I consider to be one of the greatest offensive line coaches of all time. And after I switched to offensive line, the first practice, Joe said, "You're going to be an All‑American someday." Now, he could have said anything, but after he said that, I would have ran through a brick wall for the guy.
He was great to play for most of the time ‑‑ and I got a lot of Joe Moore stories. I only got six ‑‑ no, three minutes left so ‑‑ but Joe just had a unique way of pushing you, even beyond your own expectations, and then he took great pride in seeing you succeed. So he's no longer with us, but thank you, Joe. I miss you. I owe you so much. So thank you.
And finally, the Chicago Bears. When I first got to the Bears in 1983, we weren't a very good football team. One of my first meetings, Mike Ditka said, "I got good news and bad news. Good news is we're going to the Super Bowl. Bad news is half you guys won't be there when we do."
But he pushed us hard, but I also believe he reestablished a pride back into the Bears organization; that playing in the NFL is a privilege and not a right; and that when you pull that Bears jersey over your pads and put on that helmet with that "C" on the side, it means something special. So thank you, Mike. I appreciate it. Thank you.
I had the opportunity to play with some incredible players. And when you talk about great Bear players, it all starts with Walter Payton. I can't tell you anything more about Walter, but I got ‑‑ since I got a couple minutes, I'll tell one quick story about Walter.
Back in the day, no one had single rooms. Everybody had to room together. But Walter had a single room, of course. He was the only one. Matt and I roomed together. His room was always next to ours.
When it was a big game, every once in a while that door would fly open, and he would run in there and jump right on top of me. Right? And he'd lean down, you know he had that voice like Michael Jackson, you know, and he said, "Good morning, sunshine...time to kick some ass!"
He was the best. I wish he was here with us tonight.
At practice I played against some of the best defensive players of all time. Richard Dent and I squared off against each other every day. Sometimes we didn't like each other very much, but we made each other better. Thank you, Rich, my brother, I appreciate it.
And then when you look down the line, you had Dan Hampton, another Hall of Famer, and then Steve McMichael, who I believe should be in the Hall of Fame. And we are all thinking about you tonight, Steve, and wish you were here.
I just know I wasn't going to face anybody on Sunday better than I faced during the week, so thank you, fellas.
And Dick Stanfel was my line coach, and I learned so much from Dick. Not only was he a great Hall of Fame football player and coach, but he was an even better person.
And finally I want to thank all my Bears teammates. Many are here tonight. I saw them last night. And I thank you all for coming. It really means a lot to me.
But in particular, my teammates on the offensive line. We were very fortunate that the same five of us played together for seven years of my career. Mark Bortz, Jay Hilgenberg, Tom Thayer, and Keith Van Horne, I can't think of four better guys that I would rather line up to next to on any Sunday. So thank you, guys. You're the best.
And in closing, I'd like to thank all the Chicago Bears fans out there. Your support has really been appreciated. Thank you all. Thank you, God. God bless you all. Thank you.