Bring on Weekend (cont.)
Posted: Thursday February 1, 2007 12:08PM; Updated: Thursday February 1, 2007 6:16PM
What bothers Urlacher is the dichotomy between the way the current Bears are treated (booed at home during their divisional round playoff victory against the Seahawks) and the way the '85 team's leading figures continue to bathe in residual glory.
"I guess when you've lived on it for as long as they have, you have a different perspective on [enjoying someone else's success]," he said. "They kind of run s--- in that city, and they probably like it that way."
I'm not going to bore you with too much history, but here's what the Bears did in the wake of their lone Super Bowl title: In 1986 they went 14-2 in the regular season but lost their playoff opener at home, 27-13, to Gibbs's Redskins. Then the Giants, with a dynamic defense of their own, beat Washington and Denver to win it all. Those Giants were deserving, but Chicago's choke job was a true shame, given how suffocating its defense had been all season.
"When we broke the Bears' record for fewest points allowed in a season in 2000," Ravens coach Brian Billick said on Tuesday night, "it wasn't the record from the Super Bowl run -- it was from '86, when they got bounced from the playoffs. Not many people realize that, but it shows you how good they could have been."
I asked Billick if he felt those Bears teams had underachieved. "That's the age-old debate about the '85 Bears vs. the run Pittsburgh had in the '70s or a team like the ['80s] 49ers or ['90s] Cowboys," he said. "To put it in different parlance, does the one-hit wonder or the long track record of some of those other teams prevail -- and which do you admire more?"
Mind you, we're not talking here about Dexy's Midnight Runners or Soft Cell -- if the '85 Bears were one-hit wonders, it was the hypothetical equivalent of, say, Nirvana releasing "Nevermind" and then suddenly turning into the Foo Fighters (not that there's anything wrong with that).
"The '85 Bears team was an incredible team," Billick said. "The '72 Dolphins might argue, but you could certainly make the case that they were the greatest of alltime. But the fact that they weren't able to sustain it puts them into a different category. It may very well be that the very best team is not part of the conversation when it comes to ranking the best teams over the course of an era."
Nobody is calling this year's NFC champions the greatest of alltime. But if these Bears can pull off the upset on Super Sunday, perhaps that '85 team will start to assume a slightly more subordinate role in the Windy City.
I know at least one menacing linebacker who wouldn't mind that at all.
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