Not only is the 1985 Chicago Bears my all-time favorite NFL team, but in my opinion they are the greatest football team in history. The latter is the reason for the former, and it doesn’t hurt that I was born in Chicago, Illinois, too. Rather try to convince any reader subjectively for my reasoning, I will attempt to sway one’s opinion through objectivity, which is through the use of cold hard facts.
Let’s start with the overall statistics of the 1985 Super Bowl Champions:
- Scored 456 points (28.5/game), which was No. 2 in the league of 28 teams
- Allowed 198 points (12.4/game), which was first in the league.
- Differential – 258 points (16.1/game), which was first in the league.
- Turnover Ratio: +23 (1.4/game) – again, first in the league.
Then there were the playoffs:
- In three games, the Bears only gave up a total of 10 points.
- In the Division and Conference Championship games, the Bears won via shutouts (21-0 against the Giants, 24-0 against the Rams).
- During the Super Bowl, the Bears gave up only a field goal in the first half, and the other seven points in the latter part of the fourth quarter.
- New England was held to only seven yards rushing on 11 attempts.
- Chicago forced six turnovers during the Super Bowl.
- Chicago’s defense held New England to a total of 123 total yards for the game.
Regardless of the statistics, what made the 1985 Chicago Bears truly remarkable were the players that made up the team. First, and foremost, was Walter Payton. Arguably the greatest running back in the history of the NFL, Payton rushed for 1,551 yards that season with averages of 4.8 yards/carry and 96.9 yards/game. He started all 16 regular season games and had 324 attempts.
Few will argue that Payton was the toughest and most durable running back in history, and his performance in the 1985 season bolstered those beliefs. Next was the “punky QB”, Jim McMahon.
For the most part, McMahon’s overall NFL career was mediocre at best, but during the 1985 season, he was the leader of a team that was full of drive, motivation, and personality that the NFL had never seen before. Say what you will, but McMahon was the driving force of the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Defensively, the 1985 Chicago Bears had a collection of players that were unparalleled. The defensive line of Richard Dent, Steve McMichael, William “Refrigerator” Perry, and Dan Hampton was unstoppable. The linebackers, Otis Wilson, Mike Singletary, and Wilbur Marshall, were responsible for 19.5 sacks and 8 interceptions themselves (the defensive line accounted for 37.5 sacks).
Finally, the secondary of Mike Richardson, Leslie Frazier, Dave Duerson, and Gary Fencik grabbed a total of 20 interceptions. Furthermore, this team supplied nine players to the Pro Bowl that year, and a total of five players were named 1st-Team All-Pro. Show me another team with the total production and destruction of the 1985 Chicago Bears – I dare you.
Oh, there are two additional folks I need to mention: Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan. Let’s just say these two were the icing for the cake. “Da Coach” was the epitome of the Chicago Bears mystique, and Buddy Ryan’s “46” defense kept opposing offenses guessing all season long.
With the exception of week 13’s faux pas, losing to the Miami Dolphins, these two gentlemen led the 1985 Chicago Bears to an infallible season. Two shutouts during the regular season, and two more during the playoffs, along with nine games keeping the opponent to less than 10 points, it is very difficult to convince me that any other NFL team in history could match the accomplishments of this team.
The production coupled with the team’s personality had never been scene prior to or scene ever since, and I truly believe that we will never see another team like it ever again.