Chicago Tribune reporter David Haugh on the infamous play by Green bay packers defensive tackle Charles Martin, who passed away in January:
Martin took the field that Sunday afternoon on Nov. 23, 1986, wearing a towel displaying the numbers of three Bears offensive stars--9, 34, 83--McMahon, Walter Payton and Willie Gault, respectively, plus 63 and 29 for Jay Hilgenberg and Dennis Gentry. In Bears-Packers lore, the numbers scrawled on the towel will always be known as "the hit list."
After Packers safety Mark Lee intercepted a McMahon pass in the second quarter of a game eventually won 12-10 by the Bears, Martin grabbed McMahon from behind and body-slammed him to the ground.
"It was at least 20 seconds after the interception," said Jerry Markbreit, a retired NFL official who worked the game. "I don't think he had an awareness of how late it was, or that the play was over. McMahon was walking to the sideline, had relaxed, and he picked him up and smashed him to the ground."
Markbreit worked 461 NFL games over 23 years. He had never been so shocked by a player's action. To that point in league history, no player had ever been thrown out of a game for anything but a fight.
But Markbreit, bothered by the severity of the hit and a little concerned Bears players "might kill" Martin, ejected the defensive tackle and escorted him off the field. Markbreit's decision ultimately cost Martin a two-game suspension and $15,000 fine.