Doug Buffone autobiography published
October 2, 2015

Released five months after the legendary Chicago Bears linebacker Doug Buffone’s passing, Monster of the Midway: My 50 Years with the Chicago Bears, is Buffone’s autobiography of his life and career. He wrote the novel with sports broadcaster Chet Coppock.

Buffone was a lifelong Bear, playing 14 seasons and 186 games, garnering 1,257 tackles and 24 interceptions. He was also a philanthropist, restaurant owner, radio host, and author.

Two weeks after finishing the book, Buffone died in his sleep on April 20 at age 70. His funeral was held at Old St. Patrick’s Church.

“I sometimes wonder was the book his last gift to his fans and his family,” said Dana Buffone, Doug’s wife of 30 years and a Near West Side resident. “He wanted to take care of himself. He was working to get himself healthy, but his heart just failed. It was in the middle of the sleep.”

The Buffone family has received an outpouring of support from the city’s football and charity communities. He was honored before the Bears’ season opener, and the Score 670 AM Radio aired a special about him a week prior. Doug Buffone grew up as the son of a coal miner in Yatesboro, PA. He was the oldest of seven brothers and sisters. A religious man, he considered becoming a priest for a time. He went on to play football at the University of Louisville and remains third alltime in the school’s history with 479 tackles.

Picked in the fourth round of the 1966 NFL draft by the Bears, Buffone went on to have a heralded career for a team that often struggled, going 80-116-4 over the course of his career. Buffone also did a lot of work with charity organizations for youngsters with special needs, such as Misericordia.

“I hope people remember not only that he was a good football player,” Dana Buffone said. “Doug had a heart of gold. He wasn’t into the scene of being the football player. He was a regular guy to most people. He really cared about most everyone he met. He would spend so much time with them. With fans, he was never rude to them. He made everyone feel like his best friend.”

He also was a tireless member of the Score radio team covering the Bears. Buffone was no stranger to telling it how he saw it. In a Bears-Bills game last fall, one the Bears lost in overtime 23-20, Buffone said, “I’d rather spend a weekend in jail than watch this game again.”

His colleagues and fans appreciated his hard work.

“Doug Buffone would be in the office every day at 9 a.m. preparing for a 2 p.m. show,” said Joe Ostrowski, producer and show host at the Score. “Worked all the time. Most former athletes don’t.”

A father of six children from two marriages, Buffone’s youngest are 18 year-old twin girls, and his oldest are in their 40s. His younger children never saw him play, and he had more time to spend with them than he had with his older children, who grew up when he played for the Bears.

“He was a great father,” Dana Buffone said. “He was really the caretaker. He took the kids to school every day, he took me to work every day. He was an easygoing dad. I miss his smile. He hugged me every morning. He was so funny. It’s hard. He was so helpful to me, and supportive, and I miss him saying everything’s going to be okay.”

Dana Buffone is now doing press events for the book with Coppock, appearing in tributes to her late husband, and going to events such as the Chicago Hall of Fame Dinner, and charity fundraisers. She said there are plans for a more expanded tour in the future possibly to places like Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina—all of which have meaning to Doug’s story. Triumph Books published Monsters of the Midway, which hit shelves Sept. 15. Log on to www.triumphbooks.com.

— Dan Kolen