CHICAGO – Perhaps someday there will be an accomplishment by the franchise that will equal what happened 32 years ago on Friday. Yet don’t expect Bears’ fans to hold their breath.
The team only been back to the NFL’s Championship Game one time since, and they haven’t been to the playoffs in seven seasons. Not since 2012 has the team had more wins than losses in a year, so thoughts of success are a bit far from Chicago fan’s minds at the moment.
That what makes January 26th such a signficant day for the Bears – the anniversary of arguably the greatest moment in the history of the franchise.
In Super Bowl XX at the Louisiana Superdome, the talented, flamboyant, and dominant Bears team led by equally colorful coaches crushed the Patriots 46-10 for the team’s last championship.
Certainly it was a performance worth of being remembered 32 years later – a fitting conclusion to a dominant season which the Bears finished the regular season 15-1 then shutout a pair of opponents to win the NFC. The trademark defense suffocated the Patriots with seven sacks and six turnovers, allowing just seven yards rushing.
Two New England quarterbacks only could muster 123 total yards on the game.
Rookie Reggie Phillips’ interception touchdown and a safety by Henry Waechter got the defense on the scoreboard in the second half. In the end, the Patriots only scored one more point on offense than the Bears’ famous defensive unit.
Meanwhile the Jim McMahon offense was steady, rebounding from a fumble on the first drive to help capitalize on the great field position given to them by the defense. Jim McMahon rushed for a pair of short touchdowns after Matt Suhey got the Bears in the endzone for the first time in opening quarter.
William Perry famously added another score in the third and Kevin Butler’s three field goals provided all the offense the Bears would need. The only thing missing was a touchdown from legendary running back Walter Payton, who was keyed on by the New England defense and rushed for 61 yards on 22 carries.
In the end, it was head coach Mike Ditka and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan who were carried off the field following the triumph. The moment capped a historic season that’s been the subject of numerous books and films over the past 32 years.
Because of the nature of the victory, the charisma of the team that won it, Super Bowl XX still brings out a lot of reaction among Bears’ fans. Yet it also lives on because of the team’s inability to top it since January 26, 1986.
The Ditka-led Bears only made one NFC Championship after that, never getting back to the big game. It wasn’t till 21 years later that the Bears finally reached the Super Bowl on February 4, 2007. A loss to the Colts in rainy Dolphins Stadium soured the moment.
So until another team comes along to top it, this anniversary lives on. Thirty-two years removed from the Bears’ greatest day, the moment is still worth a look back every year.