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Super Bowl XX

January 26, 1986, New Orleans, Louisiana

Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10

The game

Coming into the Superdome, the 1985 Chicago Bears had already became national stars. Their strong defense, "46 Zone" stopped any and all opponents, except for the Miami Dolphins, in their tracks. On the strength of it and a good running game, they went 15-1 in the regular season. They won their NFC playoff games in highly convincing fashion, pitching a pair of shut outs. It was a team full of characters, such as the rebellious Jim McMahon, the silky smooth Walter Payton, the aggresive Mike Singletary, and a lovably large rookie simply known as the Fridge, William "Refrigerator" Perry. This image was best capitalized on by the (in)famous "Super Bowl Shuffle", a rap song the Bears recorded during the season. Even though it was in essence a novelty song, it actually peaked at #41 on the Billboard charts and got a Grammy nomination for best R&B song by a group.

Whereas the Bears were national stars, the Patriots came in under the radar. Well under it. The Pats narrowly made the playoffs as the second wild card, the last playoff seed under the rules of that time, and were forced to spend all of the postseason on the road if they were to get to New Orleans, which was hardly likely in the eyes of most. Yet the Patriots shocked everybody, beating the New York Jets, Los Angeles Raiders, and the Dolphins on the road to make a stunning Super Bowl appearance.

By the time the Super Bowl came around, it became fairly clear that the Patriots were out of their league against Chicago. While the Patriots scored first, the Bears put the clamps down on their hopes quickly, as the 46 Zone shut down any attempts at an offensive attack. The Patriots were held to negative yardage until the Bears put in their second string. When the defense was off the field, the offense efficiantly used the pass to gain big yards and the run to drive through the defense and run down the clock. Chicago would end up scoring 44 unaswered points, with 3 field goals, an interception return for a score, and 4 running touchdowns. The most memorable of the scores came when "Refrigerator" Perry, a 300 pound defensive tackle, was brought on to score on offense from a single yard out, as he had done twice in the regular season. A late touchdown by the Patriots and a safety from the Bears capped off the scoring.

Defensively, the Bears were led by Richard Dent, who had 1 1/2 quarterback sacks, part of a Super Bowl record 7, and forced a pair of fumbles. This earned him MVP honors for the game. The defensive effort came on the final game for the man behind the 46 Zone, Buddy Ryan, who had announced he would be leaving after the Super Bowl. It proved to be a grand exit for Ryan and a grand showcase for one of the most dominant defenses in modern football history, truly worthy of the team's longstanding nickname, The Monsters of the Midway.

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