The Chicago Bears devastated the New England Patriots on this date in Super Bowl XX by an appropriate score, 46-10, stamping their ravaging "46" defense on National Football League history. The victory in New Orleans' Superdome, the first major championship for a Chicago team since the 1963 NFL title, was a near-perfect ending to a near-perfect season.
Coach Mike Ditka had shocked the team in 1982 when he predicted that the Bears would win the Super Bowl in three years. Ditka, who had played tight end for the Bears, had just been named head coach by owner George Halas. The team was numbed by a tradition of losing, despite outstanding performances by such stars as running back Gayle Sayers and linebacker Dick Butkus. To change that tradition, Ditka brought in younger players and instilled in them his fierce determination. Soon Ditka's rugged personality came to symbolize the Bears.A loss to San Francisco denied the team a trip to the 1985 Super Bowl, but the next season would be different. At quarterback was Jim McMahon, the "Punky QB." Future Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton rushed for 1,551 yards. The defense, featuring Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Gary Fencik, terrorized opponents with their unconventional "46" blitzes under the aggressive coaching of defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. And William "Refrigerator" Perry, a a 310-plus-pound defensive lineman, became a national celebrity when Ditka started to play him occasionally at fullback. Perry even scored three touchdowns.
Before the Super Bowl, many players made a music video called "The Super Bowl Shuffle," a gloating, highly premature celebration of a rollicking season that had been spoiled only by a loss to the Miami Dolphins.
The game itself became lopsided so early that the only suspense concerned McMahon's ever-changing headbands, which advertised various charities. However, the cries of "Payton! Payton!" went unanswered. The league's all-time leading rusher failed to score.
Ditka talked about the Bears becoming the team of the 1980s, but Ryan, who feuded openly with Ditka, left the following season. Distractions, such as commercial endorsements, and player attrition took their toll. The team won only two more playoff games under Ditka.
In 1993, Halas' grandson, Bears President Mike McCaskey, replaced Ditka with Dave Wannstedt, and in 1996, Wannstedt fired place-kicker Kevin Butler, the last remaining player from the super season of 1985.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun