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Sports Then and Now

Super Bowl XX: Not On This Given Sunday

Posted on January 26, 2010 by Phil Andrews
walter payton sweetness

The outcome of Super Bowl XX was never really in doubt as Walter Payton and the Bears dominated the Patriots.

Wow, has it really been 24 years?  Jan 26, 1986. Super Bowl XX, at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tony Eason and the New England Patriots, against Jim McMahon and the Chicago Bears.

After watching the Super Bowl on TV as a kid, I couldn’t believe I was actually there to cover the big game in person. It was just my second year in television so I was still a little wet behind the ears.

At the time, I was working for Channel 9, WMUR TV in Manchester, N.H. and was in the Big Easy as part of the media contingent covering the Patriots.

That year the Pats were actually a surprise Super Bowl suitor given the teams they had the beat to get there.  After finishing the regular season with a record of 11-5 and in third place behind the Dolphins and Jets in the AFC East, New England’s ticket to New Orleans consisted of three wildcard road wins against  the Jets (26-14), Raiders (27-20) and Dolphins (31-14).

Ironically, Miami was the only team that season to beat the Bears, who arrived on Bourbon Street with a gaudy record of 18-1, following play-off wins over the Giants (21-0) and the Los Angeles Rams (24-0).

Yep, back to back play-off shutouts, but no surprise really when you consider at the time the Bears where in the record books as one of the best defenses ever in league history.

That year, the Bears, “46 Zone” defense, allowed the fewest points (198), total yards (4,135), and fewest  yards rushing (1,319). They also led the league with thirty-four interceptions.

Unfortunately for New England, Chicago’s defense stayed the course that Super Bowl Sunday, After letting the Pats jump out to a  3-0 lead behind a 36 yard Tony Franklin field goal, the game for all intensive purposes, was over.

The Bears then outscored the Pats 46-7 while on their way to the eventual 46-10 victory.

Chicago outmatched New England on both sides of the ball that day and to give you an idea of just how dominating Chicago’s defense was, The Patriots offense was held to negative 19 yards throughout the entire first half, and just 123 total yards in the entire game, the second lowest total in Super Bowl history.

Bears defensive end Richard Dent, won the game Most Valuable Player award, after recording a sack and a half, forcing two fumbles, and blocking a pass.

Super Bowl XX was somewhat bitter sweet for me. The team I was sent to cover just got simply crushed, but on a personal note I had a chance that week to come face to face, several times with one of my all time favorite players, Walter “Sweetness” Payton.

By the way, the Bears were so confident they were going to win the Super Bowl that year, they even produced a music video called the “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” during week 14 of the regular season.

The initial production of the video however, was a little I’ll timed, The Bears went into the studio to record the track  the Tuesday after their first and only loss of the season to the Dolphins.

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