Super Bowl XX: 9 facts we forgot about the 1985 Bears championship
If you had to make a “Mount Rushmore” for all things Chicago, it would probably go something like: deep dish, the Willis (Sears) Tower, blues music and the 1985 Bears.
Mike Ditka, Walter Payton and co. are so entrenched in Chicago’s culture it feels like the entire city was there cheering on Mike Singletary, Richard Dent and the rest of the team, even though many current Bears fans were too young to remember-- or hadn’t even been born yet.
We all know about William “Refrigerator” Perry’s iconic touchdown, and the fact that Payton didn’t score one. We all know that both Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan were carried off the field on their players’ shoulders. But what about the things that don’t get mentioned about that glorious game in the Super Dome?
These are the top-9 things millennials learned when watching, or rewatching, Super Bowl XX for the first time.
No. 9: Walter Payton fumbles on the first drive?!?!
We’re talking about “Sweetness” here, the greatest Bear of all-time! You’re telling me he coughs it up on the second play of the game?!?!
I was stunned when I saw this. For that matter the entire Bears offense was sloppy early in the first quarter, and the score easily could’ve been 14-0 in favor of New England if the Patriots were able to capitalize on several Bears mistakes.
No. 8: Matt Suhey was the offensive focal point in first half
It was clear from the start that New England’s defensive game plan was to key on Walter Payton and force the Bears to beat them with other players. So Ditka shifted many of the touches to Matt Suhey… at least until Suhey coughed up a fumble of his own late in the second quarter.
Before Suhey’s fumble, Payton had eight carries for 12 yards and one target. Meanwhile, Suhey had eight carries for 37 yards, plus a 24-yard reception. Suhey also scored the first touchdown of the game.
No. 7: Ditka got the QB sneak from George Halas himself
During the game broadcast, after a McMahon keeper, the commentators told a story of how the QB sneak-- a staple with Jim McMahon under center-- came into Ditka’s playbook.
They said in Ditka’s first game as the coach of the Bears, the team had a first and goal opportunity but couldn’t punch the ball into the endzone in four tries. The very next day Halas went up to Ditka, showed him two QB sneak plays and Ditka put them into his playbook, where they remained ever since.
It paid off in the Super Bowl as McMahon scored on a sneak, and converted a third-and-short with another.
No. 6: Patriots recorded only one first down in the first half
And it came on a 3rd-and-2 play with less than five minutes to go in the second quarter. On their other drives, the Pats punted four times, lost two fumbles, and converted a FG after recovering the Payton fumble on the Bears’ 19-yard line.
No. 5: Rich Camarillo set Super Bowl record for longest punt
Camarillo boomed a 62-yard punt early in the third quarter, which was a Super Bowl record at the time. He was probably helped by the fact that his leg was nice and loose from kicking four punts prior to the record breaker.
The current record is held by Rams punter Johnny Hekker who launched a punt 65 yards… on his eighth punt of the game.
No. 4: This was actually the second meeting between Bears and Patriots that season
These two teams faced off in Week 2 of the regular season, and it was a similar outcome with the Bears winning 20-7. Just like the Super Bowl, the Patriots were only able to muster their one touchdown in the fourth quarter. Just like the Super Bowl, the Bears also forced plenty of turnovers and got to the quarterback too. Four turnovers, and six sacks to be precise.
No. 3: Rookie Reggie Phillips got a pick-six
Phillips hadn’t intercepted a pass all season long, but took one to the house on the biggest stage. Making this even more remarkable is the fact that Phillips had replaced Leslie Frazier, who had intercepted six passes in the regular season and another one in the NFC Championship game against the Rams.
Frazier left Super Bowl XX in the second quarter due to a knee injury and never played again, while Phillips played two more seasons for the Bears and one season for the Phoenix Cardinals.
No. 2: The defense got all the hype, but the offense was humming too
When you think ‘85 Bears, you think defense, but the offense held up its end of the bargain. They moved the ball for 408 yards: 167 on the ground and 241 in the air. Jim McMahon completed 60% off his passes and didn’t throw an interception. The Bears scored four touchdowns on offense, including one that capped off a nine-play, 96-yard drive. Kevin Butler hit all three of his field goal attempts, as well.
No. 1: The Bears' final score came on a Henry Waechter safety
It’s fitting that a defensive score brought the Bears final tally to 46-points, since they were known for their dominating “46” defense. It’s even more fitting that a relatively low-profile player scored those points, as the Bears got contributions from players up and down their defense all season long. There wasn’t one man offenses could double team. The Bears dominated opponents at each and every position group.