1985 Chicago Bears: My Favorite, and the Best, Team of All-Time

Stephen NitzContributor IMay 13, 2009

25 Sep 1988:  Head coach Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears instructs quarterback Jim McMahon during the Bears 24-6 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport

I was born on February 15, 1986. If you're counting, that's less than a month after the Chicago Bears destroyed the Patriots in Super Bowl XX, 46-10, for their first Super Bowl title.

While I wasn't alive to watch the magical season, the 1985 Bears are still my favorite team of all-time.

I've seen countless nostalgic highlights and have read about the 1985 Bears.

I just wish I was born a few years earlier.

There hasn't been a whole lot to cheer about since then. The Bears probably should have won more championships in the 1980s, but kept coming up short in the playoffs.

There was the run in 2006 when the Bears fell to Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLI, but the team has failed to make the playoffs the last two years. Hopefully, the arrival of Jay Cutler will help bring some more magic to the Windy City.

You can't say enough about head coach Mike Ditka's 1985 crew, the only team to shut out both of its opponents on the way to the Super Bowl. Who knows what could have been had the Bears taken care of Dan Marino's Dolphins in that fateful Monday night game in December?

The defense, led by Hall of Famers Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton, as well as Richard Dent, was considered unblockable by many. Dent's 17 sacks led a team that finished first in the NFL in points allowed.

The offense was led by the greatest running back of all-time, Walter Payton, and had the "punky QB" Jim McMahon running the offense and speedster Willie Gault on the outside at wide receiver.

While it will never be remembered like the defense, and deservedly so, the offense still did its part. The Bears scored 456 points in 1985, good for second in the league. Payton finished fourth in the NFL in rushing.

Most people say the 1972 Dolphins are the best team of all-time, starting with the NFL Network, who ranked them No. 1, with the 1985 Bears No. 2, back in 2006 in its "America's Game" documentary series. I say that's blasphemy. Yes, the Dolphins are the only team in the Super Bowl era to go undefeated. Good for them.

The Bears had that one mishap, going 15-1. Of course, part of the reason for that could have been the fact that the Bears played two more games than the 1972 Dolphins, who went 14-0 (the NFL added two games to the schedule in 1978).

The biggest black mark against the 1972 Dolphins is their schedule. The Dolphins had the easiest schedule of any of the 86 teams to make the Super Bowl. Miami didn't play a single playoff team in the regular season, and only played two teams above .500, and those were 8-6.

Compare that to the 1985 Bears, who played six playoff teams and still dominated their competition more than the Dolphins. Do the Dolphins still go undefeated if they play a legitimate schedule? Obviously we'll never know, but I would be har- pressed to say that they would.

Come playoff time, the Bears dominated their opponents, outscoring the Giants, Rams, and Patriots 91-10. Meanwhile, Miami struggled against all of their playoff opponents including the 8-6 Browns, who Miami beat 20-14.

The 1972 Dolphins were a great team in their own right, and they can keep popping the champagne all they want. But I will say the 1985 Bears are the greatest team to ever step on a field until the day I die.