Super Bowl XX: Not On This Given Sunday

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Super Bowl XX: Not On This Given Sunday

Wow, has it really been 24 years?  Jan. 26, 1986. Super Bowl XX, at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tony Eason and the New England Patriots against Jim McMahon and the Chicago Bears.

After watching the Super Bowl on TV as a kid, I couldn’t believe I was actually there to cover the big game in person. It was just my second year in television so I was still a little wet behind the ears.

At the time, I was working for Channel 9, WMUR TV in Manchester, N.H. and was in the Big Easy as part of the media contingent covering the Patriots.

That year the Pats were actually a surprise Super Bowl suitor given the teams they had to beat to get there.  After finishing the regular season with a record of 11-5 and in third place behind the Dolphins and Jets in the AFC East, New England’s ticket to New Orleans consisted of three wildcard road wins against the Jets (26-14), Raiders (27-20), and Dolphins (31-14).

Ironically, Miami was the only team that season to beat the Bears, who arrived on Bourbon Street with a gaudy record of 18-1, following playoff wins over the Giants (21-0) and the Los Angeles Rams (24-0). 

Yep, back-to-back playoff shutouts, but no surprise really when you consider at the time the Bears were in the record books as one of the best defenses ever in league history.

That year, the Bears' "46 Zone" defense, allowed the fewest points (198), total yards (4,135), and fewest yards rushing (1,319). They also led the league with 34 interceptions.

Unfortunately for New England, Chicago’s defense stayed the course that Super Bowl Sunday.

After letting the Pats jump out to a 3-0 lead behind a 36-yard Tony Franklin field goal, the game, for all intents and purposes, was over. 

The Bears then outscored the Pats 46-7 while on their way to the eventual 46-10 victory. 

Chicago outmatched New England on both sides of the ball that day and, to give you an idea of just how dominating Chicago’s defense was, the Patriots' offense was held to negative 19 yards throughout the entire first half and just 123 total yards in the entire game, the second lowest total in Super Bowl history.

Bears defensive end Richard Dent won the game Most Valuable Player award after recording a sack and a half, forcing two fumbles, and blocking a pass.

Super Bowl XX was somewhat bittersweet for me. The team I was sent to cover just got crushed, but on a personal note, I had several chances that week to come face to face with one of my all time favorite players, Walter “Sweetness” Payton.

By the way, the Bears were so confident they were going to win the Super Bowl that year, they even produced a music video called the “The Super Bowl Shuffle” during Week 14 of the regular season.

The initial production of the video, however, was a little ill timed. The Bears went into the studio to record the track the Tuesday after their first and only loss of the season to the Dolphins.

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