‘85 Bears-Dolphins: Reminiscing with my friend Steve

By Os Davis  |   Thursday, December 27, 2007  |  Comments( 1 )

Chicago Bears
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In light of Saturday's automatically history-making game, I took a holiday away from the holiday to reminiscence with my friend Steve about that game in 1985. Chicago Bears fans know exactly the 60 minutes referred to: Week 13, "Monday Night Football," and a final score of Dolphins 38, Bears 24.

They say that champion poker players never remember the close wins or the crushing performances at the table, but the bad beats and the hurting losing all-ins stay crystal-clear forever. The syndrome is certainly the same for football fans. Or at least so it is with Steve, a supporter of the ilk who uses the pronoun "we" in describing success and failure of his favored Bears. Steve honestly believed that his guys had a shot in Super Bowl XLI. ("C'mon," he's been known to insist, "Grossman's not that bad.") And don't even get him started on the importance of Steve Fuller to the '85 Super Bowl Shufflers.

At 12-0, the Bears had run off the best start since that 1972 outfit, setting a pace that wouldn't be beaten until the 13-0 Indianapolis Colts went down at the hands of the San Diego Chargers in 2005. The 'MNF' game - of which only this opening segment has survived the NFL's culling forces at YouTube - was a high-scoring dandy that drew a huge audience share, but it only makes Steve shake his head to remember it.

"It was one of those games..." he starts, switching to "when the pass bounced off the facemask into Marc Duper's hands, you knew it was over."

As for the secret of Miami's success, well, Steve recalls (and I concur, with similar memory) that "Dan Marino managed to avoid the Bears' rush by rolling out. He was carving us up deep."

Indeed, as Mike Ditka would later co-write in his "In Life, First You Kick Ass" (and who else would entitle a book thusly, really?), avoiding Richard Dent was "smart" and "we can't get to him with the other guys. They're using little wide receiver Nat Moore like a tight end, putting him in the slot and putting him in motion. We've seen three-receiver sets, but this has three wideouts and no true tight end. So we have to cover Moore with a linebacker like Wilber Marshall or, after a while, we moved Fencik up in man-to-man. But he's more of a deep safety, and that's not a good matchup, either."

Funnily enough, though, the Bears' possession time draws a blank from Steve. Or that's all he'll admit: "I remember nothing about the Bears on offense."

And Ditka's excerpt echoes this. (After all, what can you say when down at half 31-10?) After detailing a conflict with defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, Ditka writes that poor Fuller - Steve's "forgotten man" - got hurt in the fourth quarter, so I put McMahon in the game, hoping that maybe he could do stuff just like in that first Minnesota game. But it wasn't there. He had no magic under his hat. He got sacked a couple of times and threw an interception. We lost 38-24, and it stunk."

Come January, though, almost as bad as this loss was a future Dolphins loss: Mainly, the heartbreakingly convincing 31-14 AFC Championship Game loss to a bunch of guys known as the New England Patriots.

"What everybody forgets," Steve opines, "is that we wanted to see Miami in the Super Bowl."

Correction: This football fan certainly didn't forget.

Certainly, too, will a generation too young to have seen the greatest single season in the 1980s remember Saturday night - though probably not as well as the holders of the beaten hand will.

Sporting a poker face all year 'round at RealFootball365.com
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About Os Davis

Os Davis has taken a twisted route to get to RealFootball365.com in his nearly 17 years in professional writing, working in any number of capacities in the sportswriting, news reporting and film criticism worlds. In print media, Os has served as editor at a few publications, including Albuquerque's...
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