Tonight is the one night in four years where I am the embodiment of the enemy. Yes, the Chicago Bears are playing the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on a Thursday night NFL Network special broadcast. Since the game starts shortly after 7PM, I was planning on not doing my Dementia Radio show since there is no way I can do my show and watch the game since my casting computer is in my basement and the tv is upstairs. (Decided to do show after all and just check on cast during comercial)
It has always been uncomfortable when these two teams met when I was a kid but things changed in 1985 when the Dolphins inspired by members of the perfect 1972 team, blew out the previously undefeated Bears.
Anyway, here is a synopsis of the Bears/Dolphins games over the last 25 years:
Dec 2, 1985 (Miami): Starting Bears QB Jim McMahon was on the sideline still recovering from injury. The Dolphins were 8-4 suffering the effects from losing the previous super bowl at the beginning of the season but playing much better at this time. Dolphins QB Dan Marino behind his strong offensive line and with his WR had the perfect system to counter the Bears agressive "46" defense and was able to complete passes before the Bears pass rush could get to him. Their defense sold out completely on stopping Walter Payton early and forced backup QB Steve Fuller to try to beat him and he could not. Though Jim McMahon played the second half and Walter Payton finished with over 100 yards rushing, it was not enough and Miami won 38-24. (the wireless internet code for my house is 3824DEC285)
Sep 4, 1988 (Chicago): Though Payton retired, Neal Anderson was leading the Bears rushing attack and they were still a decent team. The Dolphins by then were not. Though Marino was still there his offensive line and wide receivers were nowhere as good and their defense was bad. Behind 2 rushing touchdowns each by Anderson and McMahon, the Bears won 34-7 controlling the ball for almost 45 minutes, the second longest time of posession in their team history.
Nov 24, 1991 (Chicago): On a cold, windy day near the lake where snow fell, neither offense could do much. The Bears were leading late when punter Maury Buford dropped a snap giving Miami field position and Marino threw his only touchdown pass of the day to bring the game into overtime. They got the kickoff and drove the field making a field goal to win 16-13.
Nov 13, 1994 (Miami): The 1994 Bears were probably one of the worst teams ever to make the NFL playoffs. Though 10th in points allowed with 307, they were 24th out of 28 in points scored with 271. Four times during the year and in the playoffs, they were down three touchdowns. The Dolphins were on their way to winning their division. The week before the game, I said the Bears were going to win. Why? The previous two weeks, the Dolphins running back and fullback got hurt and were missing the game along with their number 2 wide receiver. They averaged 10 receptions per game.
As expected, the Dolphins were able to move the ball but without their running backs, were unable to get into the end zone until late. The Bears did not do much either scoring their two touchdowns on a fake field goal attempt and after a fumble. They made a field goal to take the lead and blocked the Dolphins' game tying attempt to win 17-14.
Oct 27, 1997 (Miami): The Dolphins were a decent team but the Bears were not being 0-7. With the Bears coming off a bye week and the game being changed to Monday night on Saturday due to the World Series in Florida needing game 7, I was worried but still expected a Dolphins' win and the Dolphins came out flat. Except for a 71 yard reverse, they did nothing the first 28 minutes of the game and the Bears were up 15-7 after a TD, two field goals and a safety. When the Dolphins scored a touchdown at the end of the first half, Jimmy Johnson tried chasing the 2 point defecit and failed.
After the Bears got their third field goal, the Dolphins scored on a fumble return and again failed on the two point conversion being up 19-18. Two more Dolphins TDs put them up 15. However, Bears QB Erik Kramer threw two late TDs against a tiring Dolphins defense and after converting a 2 point try sent the game into ot.
The Bears got the ball first and after completing a 30 yard pass after the 40 second clock expired, kicked a game winning field goal 36-33. That night, I learned to not go for two until you absolutely have to.
Dec 9, 2002 (Miami): With the NFL restructure, it was 5 years between games. The Bears were still bad. The Dolphins were a different team with Dan Marino retired and Ricky Williams rushing the ball. I was waiting for 5 years to return the comments I heard. Ironically, that day at work we had a meeting about personal conduct towards others and along with talking about religious and personal values, sports were mentioned.
Anyway it was not much of a game played in a downpour. Williams had 212 rushing yards and 2 TDs. Henry Burris threw his first touchdown pass late to make the final score 27-9 Miami.
What was done at halftime did not sit well with me. The Dolphins retired Larry Csonka's number 39. At the end of his speech, he thanked the 1985 team for beating the Bears. Fortunately the city's disgust with the Bears did not create any feedback.
Nov 5, 2006 (Chicago) : Daunte Culpepper was going to make the difference for the Dolphins. He didn't. By then the Dolphins were 1-6 and had Joey Harrington at QB. The Bears were on their way to playing in the Super Bowl and were 7-0. For a month I was telling anyone who would listen that the 72 Dolphins will be able to do their annual champaigne toast after the Bears lost to Miami and every Bears game was cementing my belief more. Why? The Dolphins were coming off a bye and I knew Bears QB Rex Grossman is not the same player in bad weather and figured the timing was right.
People were wanting to make bets with me including having me eat dolphin meat when they lost with them eating bear met if the "impossible" (their words, not mine) happens. Them eating bear meat would not make the win better for me and me eating dolphin meat would make it worse so I realized making that bet would be stupid. I also turned down an offer from the VP of production to attend the game with him since I did not want to be the target of drunk and angry Bears fans when they lost. (those were my words to him)
Dolphins' DE/LB Jason Taylor won the defensive player of the year award in that game with 3 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception return for a touchdown. Fueled by 6 Bears turnovers, the Dolphins won 31-13.
The next day, not one person commented to me about the game. I was holding up one hand to my ear Hulk Hogan style to enjoy the silence while smiling.
I stated in August that the only way the 2010 Bears will look like the 1985 version is by being down by 21 points in Miami at halftime. Nothing I've seen this year had made me change that thought until November 14th when the Dolphins' top two QB and Jake Long, the best offensive lineman in the game, were injured. With their third string QB probably starting the game and Long questionable, I will be starting the Bears defense on my fantasy team. (Note: I make the best fantasy choices for my team and though I would want to see the Dolphins score 40 points, I do not see it happening.)
I only have one hope for the game and that is of the Dolphins' organization: Please do NOT honor the 1985 team at halftime since it has been 25 years. Though I appreciate what happened that night, it would be in bad taste and since they did not even make it to the Super Bowl, they don't deserve it.