Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Almost Perfect

I was 10 years old in the fall of 1985 and something magical was going on in Chicago. The Chicago Bears were coming off a disappointing 24-0 defeat to the Montana led 49ers in the 1984 NFC Championship game. It would be 13 games until the Bears would lose another game. The Bears aeriel assault was led by BYU quarterback Jim McMahon and the ground game was all Sweetness. McMahon's primary targets included Dennis McKinnion and world-class sprinter Willie Gault. Jimmy "Mac" was protected by some of the most rugged linemen in the business. Bortz, Hilgenberg, Van Horne, Thayer, Covert. The Bears have not seen the likes of offensive linemen like these since. Those linemen took a personal interest in McMahon's well-being. I always thought Van Horne was the most intimidating. The guy always found a face-mask to stick his finger in when Jim was getting thrown around. Not to mention he seemed like 7 feet tall and his name was 'Van Horne.'

The defense you say? How about these names? Singletary, Wilson, Marshall, Dent, Perry, Fencik, Richardson. Buddy Ryan's 46 defense has often been regarded as one of the best in all of NFL history. The first 12 games of the season, the Bears went undefeated. It was week 13 for me that was most memorable. Monday Night Football at the Orange Bowl against the Dolphins. Dan Marino and Mark Clayton were poised to protect the 1972 Dolphins season of perfection. And protect they did. Marino was ....well... Marino in his dissection of the Bears famed 46 defense. The Bears dropped their first and only game of the 1985 season and I was absolutely crushed. I've had my fair share of cries and meltdowns in my life, but it was the first and only time I was deeply saddened by a sports team losing. Dan Marino cried me to sleep.

Needless to say, the remainder of the season and postseason was incredible. The Bears outscored their postseason opponents 92-10 and their regular season defense only allowed an average of 11 points per contest.

This upcoming weekend I'm going to be interviewing many of these guys for the Chicago Sun-Times 38th annual sports collectible show. There will be roughly 25 of he 1985 team in attendance signing autographs this Sunday. In addition, Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan will be together for the first time in decades. It's going to be an absolute blast and I'll be there covering it. For more information go to http://www.schwartzsports.com/ .

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