Cabral in a special class of Bears
PERSONALITY-WISE, Brian Cabral might've fit in better with the current version of the Chicago Bears than the Super Bowl XX crew that swept through the NFL like Gengis Khan, but with a Madison Avenue PR firm on retainer.
Low-key, reflective, more walk than talk. Quiet tough guy.
Kind of like Olin Kreutz, the current Bears center and Cabral's fellow Saint Louis School grad. Both seem better candidates for Super Bowl Scuffle than Super Bowl Shuffle.
But Cabral actually showed up for the taping of that Grammy-nominated video, a deliciously cheesy bit, even by 1985 standards.
Perhaps the special teams had to have a token rep. Cabral, Mike Singletary's backup at linebacker in Buddy Ryan's famed 46 defense, was their captain.
He showed up, but got bored and left.
"They were hours behind and I had something else I had to do, so I left," Cabral said.
Those Bears were as much substance as hype, losing just one game. But their greatness is overshadowed.
"We had a lot of personality. Ditka, McMahon, The Fridge," Cabral said. "And a lot of talent. Arguably the best defense in NFL history, and Walter Payton. We were also No. 1 in offense and No. 1 in special teams."
Not necessarily No. 1 in Hawaii, despite Cabral's presence. Of course, family and friends and fellow Crusaders cheered for him. But Cabral's special teams counterpart on the Patriots, Punahou grad Mosi Tatupu, garnered more overall local attention. Tatupu had made a huge play in New England's wild-card playoff run, forcing a fumble against the Raiders. Meanwhile, Cabral was relatively anonymous in the Bears' glare.
Plus, Tatupu's special teams co-captain was Paul Dombroski, a Leilehua grad who played briefly at UH. (The Bears' former Mule, defensive end Al Harris, sat out the season due to a contract dispute.)
Super Bowl XX ended in a 46-10 Bears blowout, with Cabral spelling Singletary when The Fridge fell on Samurai Mike and knocked him out for a few plays.
And there were plenty of kickoffs for Cabral to cover.
"It seemed like the guy I battled every (special teams) play (in the Super Bowl) was Mosi, and we used to bang heads in high school," Cabral said. "Somehow we ended up going one-on-one on almost every play."
These days, Cabral does his head-banging on the recruiting trail as an assistant coach at Colorado, his alma mater. He planned to take a break and be in Miami for today's game.
"I want to see my former teammates, (Bears defensive coordinator) Ron Rivera and (Colts secondary coach) Leslie Frazier," he said. "And of course Olin. I think he typifies what a Chicago Bear is. A black-and-blue guy. I'm proud of him and what he means to Chicago."
And, if the Bears can pull off the upset, Kreutz joins Cabral in the small club of Hawaii-born players with Super Bowl rings.
Certainly something to shuffle about.
is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter who covers University of Hawaii football and other topics. His column appears periodically.
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org