In case the world needed any more validation, the 1985 Bears have once again been voted the best defense ever assembled in the NFL. This time the affirmation came in longtime NFL reporter Rick Gosselin’s Power Poll.
In Gosselin’s poll, 225 former players, coaches, officials, writers and broadcasters responded to the age-old question: Which NFL defense was the most dominant in the history of the game? The options were the 1985 Bears, 2000 Baltimore Ravens, 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1969 Kansas City Chiefs, 1977 Dallas Cowboys, 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2013 Seattle Seahawks. The Monsters of the Midway got by far the most votes with 126. The Ravens came in second with 38 votes, and the Steelers took third with 34 votes.
“Those Bears were the most vicious team that I faced in my time in the league (from 1978-93),” said Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton in the poll. “The 46 defense that Buddy Ryan fashioned was nearly impossible to block and had you reducing your playbook down to about a dozen plays to try and protect your quarterback at all cost.”
The ‘85 defense is often the standard against which all great defenses are measured. It’s understandable considering they pitched back-to-back shutouts in the postseason, then gave up only 10 points in the Super Bowl. It’s hard to imagine a run like that ever happening again.
The ‘85 Bears defense was filled with superstars, which added to their must-see TV allure. Richard Dent, Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton have all been enshrined in the Hall of Fame. There were larger than life characters like Steve “Mongo” McMichael and William “The Refrigerator” Perry, too.
Gosselin also asked which vaunted defense had the best nickname in NFL history, and here the ‘85 Bears finally fell short. The Monsters of the Midway finished fifth, behind the Steelers Steel Curtain, Vikings Purple People Eaters, Seahawks Legion of Boom and the Cowboys Doomsday Defense.