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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Alan Hutchen: NFL Films NFL 1985: The Road to Super Bowl 20

Da Bears Fan Bill Murray-
NFL 1985, of course was dominated by the Chicago Bears. Going on to an 18-1 record and winning their first Super Bowl, arguably the most dominant Super Bowl champion of all-time. I also remember this season very well as a Redskins fan, because we lost quarterback Joe Theisman to a career ending leg injury on Monday Night Football against are great rival New York Giants. The Redskins, were essentially a 500 team before they played the Giants that night and got down in that game. But backup quarterback Jay Schroeder came in brought the Redskins back in that game. And the Redskins got hot under Schroeder and barely missed the NFC Playoffs that season. But the 1985 NFL season had so much more than that.

The San Francisco 49ers, fell back from their Super Bowl season in 84 and almost missed the NFC Playoffs in 85 and lost the NFC West to their arch-rival Anaheim Rams (as I call them). The Rams, weren't really anything special. Other than having a great power running game led by Eric Dickerson the premier runner in the NFL at this point. They had one of the top defenses in the NFL in 85 and if they could get anything out of Dieter Brock in the passing game, they were good enough to beat anyone. The Miami Dolphins, didn't get back to the Super Bowl, but they did get back to the AFC Final where they lost to the New England Patriots. The Patriots, were never even a Super Bowl contender pre-85 and yet they got to the Super Bowl in 85 as a wildcard team. With their power running game, explosive passing game and solid defense.

I think if you can get past the Bears in 85, a lot of that season I believe is about would could have been. The Raiders going out in the divisional round even though they still had the best all around team at least in the AFC in 85. Same thing could be said about them in 84 where they failed to defend their Super Bowl Championship and didn't even get back to the AFC Final. And the Miami Dolphins failing to improve their very soft defense and not adding a top caliber running back and solid running game for their great quarterback Dan Marino and those great receivers. Which I believe is how the Patriots sort of slipped through and beat both the Raiders and defending AFC champion Dolphins to get to Super Bowl 20. You also had good young teams like the New York Giants, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, all looking to become Super Bowl contenders again in 85.

But of course you can't talk about 1985 at least about the NFL and even the whole year in general, without talking about the Chicago Bears. Where they finally not just had a team good enough to go with their great running back Walter Payton, but a defense that might have been as great defending as Walter was running the ball, receiving and blocking. The 85 Bears only needed about fifteen points a game to win every week, because they only gave up fourteen points a game. But they scored 28 points a game. They were about as good as anyone has ever been in the NFL on both sides of the ball when Jim McMahon was their quarterback. And you put them up against a blue-collar nothing special but solid football team like the New England Patriots, who believed they only had to stop one player in Walter Payton to beat them and you can see how the Bears beat Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl 20. 85 was a great NFL season, but it could have been much better in the AFC.