Super Bowl XX
DA BEARS! Nuff said, right? The Chicago Bears were the second consecutive team to post a 15-1 regular season record, along with the Super Bowl XIX champion San Francisco 49ers, and win the Super Bowl in dominating fashion. However, whereas San Francisco dominated their opponents with relentless offense, Chicago's punishing, fast and superior defense held their opponents to only 198 points. The defense corps, anchored by linebackers Wilber Marshall, Otis Wilson and Mike Singletary, defensive ends Richard Dent and Dan Hampton and defensive tackle William "Refrigerator" Perry, combined for an exceptional 64.0 sacks, nine forced fumbles and 34 interceptions in the regular season. Their unrelenting pass-rush known as the "46 defense", the brain-child of defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, allowed the defense to constantly blitz the opponent's offense, force plays and limit their points and yardage as they scrambled to cover each man barreling through the offensive line. During the 16-game schedule, the Bears defense held 11 of their opponents to 10 points or less and shut out two teams. Da Bears also had the veteran and future Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, who rushed for more than 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns and an exceptional wide receiving corps led by Willie Gault. Chicago easily marched into the playoffs where they shut out the New York Giants 21-0 in the Divisional Playoff game and then shutouts the Los Angeles Rams 24-0 in the NFC Conference Championship Game. The AFC offered the New England Patriots who tied for the second best record in the conference at 11-5 and snuck into the playoffs via the Wild Card. Rightfully, they were a 10-point underdog as many thought that they never should have been there. However, they took advantage in the Wild Card game, topping the New York Jets 26-14. The Pats then beat the Los Angeles Raiders 27-20 in the Divisional Playoff and pounded the Miami Dolphins 31-14 in the AFC Conference Championship Game.
For the second time, the Super Bowl was held at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 26, 1986. The Patriots took the early lead as they set a record for the quickest score in Super Bowl history when linebacker Larry McGrew stripped Walter Payton of the ball on the Chicago 19-yard line. This set up kicker Tony Franklin's field goal just 1:19 into the game. However, that was nearly the last of the New England scoring. The Bear proceeded to score on five of their eight drives during the first half of the game. Kicker Kevin Butler hit two field goals and running back Matt Suhey rushed 11 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. In the second quarter, quarterback Jim McMahon scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown and Butler added another field goal to increase the Chicago lead to 23-3 at halftime. The Bears completely dominated the Patriots holding them to three points, one first down, two pass completions and -19 offensive yards. In the second half, little changed as the Bears continued to score at will, beginning with another 1-yard rushing touchdown from McMahon. Not only was the offense hitting on all cylinders, but the defense continued to dominate in the second half with the next score coming at the hands of defensive back Reggie Phillips who intercepted a Steve Grogan pass and returned it28 yards for a TD. Da Coach, Mike Ditka, former Bear tight end, effectively used the 325 lbs. defensive tackle William Perry on offense as a running back during the regular season to the tune of three touchdowns. With New England neutralizing the elusive Walter Payton, Ditka again went to Perry out of the backfield to score a 1-yard rushing touchdown and increase the score to 44-3. Not giving up, the Patriots finally got on the board once more with an 8-yard pass from Grogan to Irving Fryar to cut the lead to 44-10. But, defense once again to center stage as they forced a fumble, intercepted a pass and scored a safety when they sacked Grogan in the end zone. The Bears set Super Bowl records for most sacks (7), fewest rushing yards allowed (7) and point differential (36). The Chicago defense forced six turnovers including four forced fumbles and two interceptions and sacked New England quarterbacks seven times for a loss of 61 yards. Based on the defensive dominance of the Bears front line, Richard Dent was named the Super Bowl XX Most Valuable Player.