Jim McMahon, who publicly lobbied to start at quarterback in the NFC championship game, was given the job Friday by Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka.

"Jim McMahon will start at quarterback," Ditka said, ending a week of suspense by naming him to start over Mike Tomczak, who started against Philadelphia last week. "He's (McMahon) the healthiest," Ditka said."Ditka added that it doesn't hurt that McMahon is 3-0 lifetime against San Francisco, either. McMahon has been the Bears' regular quarterback since 1983, but has never played a full season because of injuries.

He injured a knee Oct. 30 against New England and hadn't played since replacing Tomczak (injured shoulder) late in the game on Saturday.

Some suggested Ditka delayed his decision just to keep the 49ers guessing.

"I don't think he's using it as a ploy," San Francisco coach Bill Walsh said of Ditka's delay. "I think he's waiting to see which one is the healthiest, I guess."

McMahon saw his first action after Tomczak reinjured his shoulder in the fourth quarter of last Saturday's 20-12 win over Philadelphia.

But the man who has been the starter since 1983 and quarterbacked the Bears in their 1986 Super Bowl victory campaigned to be the No. 1 man, and the majority of his teammates supported him.

"I've talked with a number of them and they definitely say they think I should play," McMahon said on his Chicago radio show. "But none of them would ever say that in the media."

Tomczak, who separated his left shoulder - the non-throwing one - Nov. 27 and reinjured it when he was hit by the Eagles' Reggie White, said he was ready to play but kept things more lower-key than McMahon.