As national sports leagues are on hiatus due to COVID-19, networks which would normally broadcast live sports are turning to the classics, and the NFL’s Greatest Games is a particularly fascinating series which provides insight into the past of this game, and perhaps how it has shaped today’s game.
Today, according to NBC’s program schedule, the network will air Super Bowl XX between the Bears and Patriots at 2PM Central. The Bears’ lone Super Bowl victory, it is well-remembered by older generations of Bears fans and envy-enducing for younger.
The Bears came into the game confident, with only one loss on the season and having already recorded the now-famous Super Bowl Shuffle. In a surprising start, however, Walter “Sweetness” Payton fumbled a miscommunicated run on just the second play from scrimmage, and the Patriots recovered, chipping in a field goal from short distance on their ensuing possession.
The Bears then hammered the Patriots relentlessly, and for Bears fans it’s become somewhat pornographic the way that the Bears...ahem...had their way with the Patriots for the rest of the game. At the time it was the largest blowout in Super Bowl history, a margin of victory which has only been surpassed once in the 34 years since it was played (Super Bowl XXIV 49ers 55-Broncos 10)
Many consider the Bears defense of the mid-1980s to be the greatest NFL defense of all-time. Names like Dan Hampton, Richard Dent, Mike Singletary, and Gary Fencik are practically synonymous with defense, even more so at their respective positions, even to this day. Coached by Buddy Ryan, the 46 defense had as many takeaways as points allowed that postseason, according to ESPN.
Perhaps the only regret from the game, especially for head coach Mike Ditka, was that Walter Payton didn’t score any of the Bears’ four rushing touchdowns. Defensive lineman William “Refrigerator” Perry powered his way in for a rushing touchdown in that game, but the best running back in the NFL did not. Has Tom Brady ever played a Super Bowl without scoring a touchdown? According to the Chicago Sun-Times, that bothered both Payton and Ditka. Unfortunately, the following year the Packers put a bounty on Jim McMahon and the Bears never got a chance to give Walter Payton his due the following year.
If you’re planning on being home in front of the television this afternoon, tune in to the game and let us know in the comments how great that team was.