30 for 30: The ’85 Bears

We start off with the letter from the Bears defense to owner George Halas that saves defensive coach Buddy Ryan’s job, then we flip over to a short history of Ditka. We go back and forth from talking about how awesome the Bears Ditkawere and how much they loved Buddy Ryan. Pretty much everyone that was important on that defense is talked to, other than Wilber Marshall. Then we talk abit about how awesome the team was and how Doug Flutie is blamed for the Bears never repeating. Toward the end we get a good chunk about CTE and how hurt Jim McMahon is in particular. Then Buddy Ryan has written a letter thanking the members of that defense. Mike Singletary visits Buddy Ryan and that is way under-served.

I’m going to be honest.

I watched the Bears, I watched the NFL in the 80s, I saw the 84 Bears lose to my Niners, the 85 Bears lose on Monday Night, and the 86 Bears look even more dominant until my Mom’s Redskins tore them apart, and the 87 Bears were not as scary, as we were all looking at the Eagles as the next scariest defense.

Yes, they were incredible, but I don’t think they were a dynasty. They had a monster defense and one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. The problem? That defense could be thrown on- and that’s why they didn’t repeat, short timing routes kill the 46, and to be honest, they didn’t have very good depth, and other than Peyton, they didn’t have much on offense, Jim McMahon was a fun QB, but down 5 with the ball on the 20, at the 2 minute warning, you could head for the exits, cause this one was over, unless Willie Gault got open by 20 yards.

In 1985, Jim McMahon had 15 Tds 11 Ints – scare you yet? So lets look at 1986, and keep in mind McMahon showed up overweight for camp.Jim Mcmahon

Jim McMahon 5 Tds 8 Picks in 6 games, 51% completion.

Steve Fuller 2 Tds 10 Picks

Mike Tomczak 2 Tds 4 Picks

Doug Flutie was no great shakes either, but Ditka did tend to yank his starters, and Fuller and McMahon both got hurt a lot, carrying 4 QBs wasn’t exactly a bad idea.
Flutie got one start against Dallas, then lost to Washington going 11 for 31 with 1 Td, 2 picks and 134 yards.

So lets drop this whole “If Jim McMahon doesn’t get hurt we win 3 in a row” BS, Can we? If the penny-pinching Halas family or the idiot GM didn’t kill the franchise, then the two Bills (Parcells and Walsh) would have.

That’s the problem I have with this documentary. Its a decent documentary, but I have a three major problems with it- and quite a few minors.

Bears Super Bowl Suffle1. There are parts missing. You ask someone who was around at the time about the 85 Bears, and the Super Bowl Shuffle comes to mind, never even mentioned during the show. I know there is a lawsuit over it- don’t get me started- but really? Not a word? Just a glaring omission. I mentioned Marshall. Walter Payton is all over this, but no archival interviews? There is a little bit of him talking, some snippets, but Sweetness is under-served, if you can believe it.

2. The story just wasn’t cohesive. Its like they started out wanting to do a Buddy Ryan 30 for 30, but ended up getting to talk to Ditka, and he gave them good stuff, so they changed it, then they got a hold of Jim McMahon and was like there is our ending, but then forgot they had Singletary/Ryan, so that was the ending, but we can’t just toss the Jim McMahon/Jigsaw stuff! The story bounces around too much.

3. As I alluded too earlier, this is a total puff piece on the Bears. The Miami Hurricanes didn’t get this much one-sided love. I mean there is no negativity here for anything the Bears did. The defense cripped other QBs? No problem there, someone touched theirs? Oh they should be in prison.

So how is this 30 for 30?
I don’t get the depth I wanted on anything, and I got way too much bluster. If you have heard of the 85 Bears and want to know more, you can certainly pick up some knowledge, if you want to know more about Rob and Rex Ryans daddy, here ya go. But if you want a breakdown of the 46 defense, or a good objective look at the 85 Bears, or a true measure of the Ryan/Ditka coaching dynamic. Keep on looking, its not here. I’ll go a 5 if you are my age, 3 if not and you want to learn about why everyone thinks of the 85 Bears when someone says defense.

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  1. About Jim McMahon not being that good and still being a SB winner… I’ve said it many times… you don’t have to have a great QB to win a Superbowl. The SB history is littered with plenty of run of the mill QBS who managed a team to a SB win… just check out SB50.

  2. I agree.
    My issue is with the show and its participants belief that Jim could have lead them to multiple rings. Why I went to Pro-Football-Reference and pulled the stats, it was a different world back then, but not that different.

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