This Sunday's Super Bowl festivities marks 35 years since the Monsters of The Midway convincingly walked off the field as Super Bowl XX Champions and into history books as one of the greatest professional sports teams ever assembled. Pop culture, long standing records and larger than life personalities has propelled constant reminiscence today. It never seems to get old for us in Chicago. The famous Super Fans sketch on Saturday Night Live that debuted in 1991 amazingly still has legs and we've had almost all of our other Chicago teams win championships since 1985, but there is still something about that magic larger than life season of utter domination that still gets fans and former players giddy to talk. We caught up with CSHOF members and Super Bowl XX Champions Dan Hampton and Emery Moorehead to ask them what they remembered most from that weekend. Funny enough, neither memory has much to do with the game itself.
"So we show up and we start practicing on Wednesday morning and there is all this media hype erupting because a story was printed that Jim McMahon had used derogatory terms to describe the women of New Orleans. The story was later proven false, but it caused quite the stir. There were enraged people boycotting, standing in front of our hotel and yelling insults everywhere we went," said Hampton. "Thursday comes around and I'm back on the practice field with the team. The field was surrounded by tall apartment buildings on each side and nobody wanted to stand near McMahon because he was getting death threats. Myself and Steve McMichael walk up to McMahon and start chatting with him. Coach Ditka walks up right behind us and says, "Don't you guys know this guy has death threats out on him right now. Aren't you scared?" I said with a smile, coach no, we aren't. Steve and I have both personally already threatened to kill McMahon 4 times this year. Makes no difference to us! We all burst our laughing."
Emery Moorhead also mentioned the McMahon hysteria at first pass of the question. We informed him that Dan Hampton said the same thing and he quickly pivoted. "Okay. This is rather innocuous, but at one point in the game the ball was thrown out of bounds near me on a play on our sideline. I was off the next play. As my eyes follow the ball wobbling along, I look up and see the ball boy running for it. We lock eyes and I shake my head at him. He smiled and stoped dead in his tracks and nodded back. I picked up the ball and kept it as a keepsake. I still have it today. It's little stuff like that I remember most."
In honor of the 35th Anniversary we came up with some amazing facts to share again that made this team so special. In a season that moved at the speed of light with the assistance of over the top personalities, media hype and of course The Super Bowl Shuffle let us not forget these 10 amazing stats courtesy of yahoo sports:
10.) First time participants. Super Bowl XX remains the last time both teams made their first appearance in the Super Bowl. The only way this could happen again is if the Detroit Lions were to advance as they're the only NFC team to never make it to a Super Bowl. They'd then have to face any of the Browns, Jaguars, Texans in the game as they're the only three AFC teams to never qualify.
9.) Patriots set scoring record. After the Bears lost a fumble on the first possession of the game, New England took over with great field position. Despite being stopped on a three-and-out, a 36-yard field goal by Tony Franklin put the Patriots up 3-0 just 1:19 into the game, the fastest a team had ever taken a Super Bowl lead.
8.) Fewest rush yards allowed. We're all aware that the Bears defense dominated that afternoon but just how much? There will be a few different notes to follow but let's start with the run defense that allowed just seven yards all evening, a Super Bowl record. The Patriots being blown out led to a lot of passing but New England never had a run longer than three yards that day, either.
7.) Tony Eason's no good, very bad day. Patriots starting quarterback Tony Eason set a Super Bowl record that will never be broken, as long as the game is played. The University of Illinois product was benched for veteran Steve Grogan after starting the game 0-6 passing, being sacked three times, and losing a fumble. No starting quarterback will ever complete fewer passes in a game, that's for certain.
6.) Second fewest total yards allowed. In all, the Bears allowed just 123 total yards that afternoon, the second-fewest ever in a Super Bowl. Only the Steelers in Super Bowl IX held an opponent to fewer as the Vikings put up just 119 total yards in a game also played in New Orleans.
5.) Walter Payton's lack of a touchdown. Much was made of Walter Payton not getting in the end zone in Super Bowl XX, something Mike Ditka says he still regrets. However, Payton not scoring was the norm in his playoff career as the legendary back played in nine playoff games during his career but only scored two touchdowns - both against the Eagles in 1979.
4.) A Packers legend performed coin toss. Things haven't gone the Bears way against the Packers for the better part of the last three decades. On that January afternoon however it was Packers legend and MVP of Super Bowl's I and II, Bart Starr who performed the coin toss as all previous game MVP's were honored before kickoff.
3.) Richard Dent's MVP Day. On a day the entire defense shined, nobody shined brighter than game MVP Richard Dent who recorded 1.5 sacks and forced a pair of fumbles in the 46-10 win. Dent would win a second Super Bowl nine years later with the 49ers but played in just two games that season due to injury.
2.) Matt Suhey's Big First Half. With the Bears' defensive dominance, it's easy to look past offensive performances in the blowout victory but while the issue was still in doubt, no offensive player was more valuable than fullback Matt Suhey. Suhey ran 11 yards touchdown for the game's first touchdown that stretched the lead to 13-3 before putting up 35 more yards on the drive that made it 20-3, Bears. A second-quarter fumble seemed to earn him a spot in the doghouse a bit but Suhey's huge first half helped put the Bears in a position to impose their will the majority of the evening.
1.) Biggest Super Bowl blowout. The 46-10 domination was the biggest blowout in Super Bowl history at the time but would be bested just four years later when the 49ers routed the Broncos 55-10 in a game also played in the Superdome. The 36-point margin remains the second-biggest blowout in the history of the Super Bowl to this day.