Super Bowl XX – Bears and Patriots


By Ron Griffitts - Contributing Columnist



In the Louisiana Superdome in January of 1886 the Chicago Bears 17-1 met the New England Patriots 14-5 in Super Bowl XX.

Both teams were coached by former NFL receiversin MikeDitka for the Bears and Raymond Berry for New England and this was the second year in a row that a one loss team was in the Super Bowl.

The Bears hadrolled through their regular season until they were defeated in week thirteen on Monday Night Football by Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins. Otherwise the Bears were dominant, not giving up a point in the playoffs in their wins over the Giants 21-0 and 24-0 over the Rams in the NFL Championship game.

They were led by quarterback Jim McMahan who threw for 2395 yards and 15 touchdowns while at running back they had future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest ever to play in the NFL, Walter Payton who rushed for 1551 yards and 9 touchdowns and caught passes totaling 483 yards and two touchdowns for a combined yardage of 2034 and eleven touchdowns.

McMahon’s receivers were Willie Gault 704 yards and Dennis McKinnon 555 and the place kicker was Kevin Butler who made 31 out of 37 field goal attempts.

But it was their defense, considered one of the best ever, that contributed to their success. The defensive coordinator was the controversial Buddy Ryan who was so competitive that he had the defense competing against the offense as coach Ditka had to use a balancing act to keep the team on an even keel.

Safeties Dave Duerson with 5 and Gary Fencik with 4 interceptions led the secondary while Richard Dent led the team in sacks with 17 and Wilber Marshall in tackles with 78.

They also used 300 pound defensive tackle William “The Refrigerator” Perry as a fullback on offense who in five rushing attempts had 2 TD’s.

Seven members of that team would go on to be enshrined in the Football Hall of Fame at Canton, Ohio.

The Patriots were directed by quarterback Tony Eason who threw for 2156 yards and eleven touchdowns and running back Craig James with 1227 rushing yards and five TD’s.

Eason’s receivers were Irving Fryar with 670 yards and 7 TD’s and Stanley Morgan 760 yards and five TD’s. The place kicker was Tony Franklin who converted on 24 of 30 fieldgoalattempts.

The defense was led by Andre Tippett with 16.5 sacks, Garin Veris with 10 and Fred Marion with seven interceptions.

The game opened with three field goals one by Tony Franklin and two by Kevin Butler before Matt Suhey scored on an eleven yard run and the Bears lead 13-3 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter McMahon scored on a two yard run and Butler added a 24 yard field goal and the Bears were up 23-3 at the half.

In the third quarter the Bears put the game out of reach with one yard TD runs by both McMahon and William Perry and an interception run back TD by Reggie Phillip’s to make the score 44-3 at theend of three quarters.

The Patriots finally scored a touchdown on an eight yard pass play from Steve Grogan to Irving Fryar and after the Bears tackled Grogan in the end zone for a safety the game ended with a 46-10 Bears victory.

Dave duerson got the game MVP with his five tackles and the Bears would return in 2007 against the Colts and Peyton Manning while New England returned in 1997.

In a testament as how difficult it is to stay on top, the Bears the following year went 14-2 but lost in the first round of the playoffs to Washington. Ryan had left the team to coach the Philadelphia Eagles and the Bears’ offense struggled to score points.

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By Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate