This is as good as it gets. The Bears won the Super Bowl 46-10 in anawesome display of football encompassing all the joy and fury of an awesomeseason.
Their destruction of the New England Patriots was so complete it went beyond Super Bowl proportions and recalled only the record 73-0 victory by the Bears over the Washington Redskins in the 1940 National Football Leaguechampionship game.
The Bears have a tradition that transcends Super Bowls and Sundaythey ended years of frustration for their city and themselves and showed anation they play even better than they talk or sing.
They simply blew your minds like they said they would.
After an early Patriots` field goal ruined their bid for anunprecedented third straight shutout, the Bears scored and scored until theyreached the appropriate final number, stamping the ``46`` defense forever onNFL history.
They scored until the Cubs and White Sox had won the World Series,until the Black Hawks and Bulls had won world titles. They scored until allthe doubts and fears of all those awful years were replaced by the deafeningcheers of a Superdome crowd chanting ``Let`s Go Bears.``
Quarterback Jim McMahon, changing headbands more quickly than hechanges plays, scored twice. Fullback Matt Suhey scored once. William ``TheRefrigerator`` Perry scored after coach Mike Ditka called on him for a rollout pass he never got off.
Cornerback Reggie Phillips, subbing for injured Leslie Frazier,scored on an interception and defensive lineman Henry Waechter scored asafety.
McMahon answered the pressure of Super Bowl week with a near-perfectperformance helped by a different kind of needle than his ballyhooedacupuncture treatments. He received a pain-killing shot in his sore rear endfrom team physician Dr. Clarence Fossier and was able to move away from thePatriot rush with ease. He was sacked only once.
``The Doc`s needle worked,`` said trainer Fred Caito. ``We went backto basic NFL treatment.``
McMahon chose to wear several headbands out of the hundreds he saidwere sent to him.
``I decided to stick with the charities,`` said McMahon, who startedwith ``JDF Cure`` in honor of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation; POW-MIA; andfinished with ``PLUTO`` for former Brigham Young teammate Dan Plater, a cancer patient who is now in medical school at USC.
Only the cries of ``Payton, Payton`` went unanswered. Walter Paytonfailed to score, providing a harsh reminder that like their 18-1 record, noteverything is perfect. He blocked, as usual, and ran hard, as usual, and said, as usual, that it wouldn`t really sink in until next year.
``Right after we win it again,`` he said.
``I wanted to get Walter into the end zone,`` said Ditka. ``But ourplays are designed to score and I didn`t know who had the ball.``
``I feel very sad for No. 34,`` said McMahon. ``I also would haveliked to have seen a goose-egg up there. We could have got to 60 points, butwe ran out of time.``
This was the completion of a mission that Ditka said meant more tohim than the Bears` and Chicago`s last title in 1963 under George Halas.
``What you do in life by yourself doesn`t mean as much as what youaccomplish with a group of people,`` said Ditka.
``It`s because of Mr. Halas that I`m here. I`m just trying to paysome dues.``
They were paid in full in a little more than one devastating openingquarter, a microcosm of the season.
The Patriots scored first after Payton fumbled and the Bears scoredtwice after two Patriot fumbles, recalling Ditka`s early-season vow to neverbe upstaged in anything in life.
``It didn`t start out too well the first few series today,`` McMahonsaid. ``The fumble (by Payton on the second play) was my fault. I made thewrong call. I put him in a bad situation.``
``The game was never in question,`` said Ditka.
Quarterback Tony Eason could do no more than take five steps back and duck. When he got passes off, they looked like ducks. After three sacks and no completions in six attempts, the Patriots brought in veteran Steve Grogan, who finally got them a first down with 4:06 left in the half.
``We have to communicate,`` yelled middle linebacker Mike Singletaryafter the play. ``They got a first down. It was ridiculous.``
The Patriots had minus yardage until the third quarter. Grogan wassacked four more times and was intercepted twice.
Defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan broke down and admitted his defensewas the best he had ever seen, a sentiment that provoked no argument.
``This was a 10,`` said Singletary. ``Or at least a 9.999.``
Ryan also broke down in a team meeting Saturday night.
``He told us, `Win or lose, next week you guys are my heroes,``` said safety Dave Duerson. ``By the time he was able to finish, his eyesfilled with tears and they were running down his chin. His entire face wasquivering. We stood up and gave him a standing ovation. Then Steve McMichaelproceeded to destroy the chalkboard.``
``We love each other. That`s why we`re so good,`` said McMichael.
Defensive end Richard Dent was the game`s most valuable playerbecause he was in on the Patriots` two early fumbles. After that, it was hard to see who was getting to the Patriot quarterback first.
Dent had a sack and a half. Otis Wilson had two. McMichael and DanHampton had one each. Wilber Marshall had a half and Waechter`s safetyprovided the final two points.
Appropriately, defensive players scored the final three times.Phillips ran back an interception 28 yards for a touchdown and Perry`s one-yard touchdown plunge preceded Waechter`s safety.
Even referee Red Cashion scored for the Bears, proving it was aseason that truly would have pleased Halas.
Cashion allowed Kevin Butler`s third field goal on the last play ofthe half even though it was kicked against the rules.
McMahon, demonstrating a quick mind under all those headbands, threwa ball out of bounds before the referee had put it in play. The Bears werepenalized, but Cashion should have run 10 seconds off the clock and notallowed the field-goal attempt.
Luckily, the Patriots couldn`t complain about three points.
The Bears got going shortly after McMahon found receiver Willie Gault behind cornerback Ronnie Lippett for a 43-yard pass. The Bears isolated Gault on Lippett by flopping their formation to get Gault away from Patriots`cornerback Raymond Clayborn.
It was a play-action pass that was a big part of the offensive gameplan to take advantage of the aggressive Patriot defensive backs.
The Patriots came out passing because they figured they couldn`t run. But the Patriots simply couldn`t block anything.
``Dent was coming free. We knew we could be effective with differentstunts until the well ran dry. It never did,`` said Singletary.
``Eason was throwing off his back foot. They should have rolled out.They made a mistake,`` said McMichael.
``The pocket collapsed on him. He was a little bit afraid to throwthe ball and a little bit too timid to run it,`` said Hampton.
``His eyes were moving around,`` said safety Dave Duerson. ``JohnHannah`s eyes were moving. Brian Holloway`s eyes were moving. The reason waswe were creating havoc. They couldn`t block man. They couldn`t block zone.``
Eason fumbled when sandwiched by Dent and McMichael, leading to afield goal.
Then Craig James fumbled when he was picked up and tossed aside byDent, leading to a touchdown by Suhey.
McMahon faked to Perry and followed a huge path for the touchdownthat made it 20-0.
McMahon`s perfect 60-yard pass to Gault early in the third quarterset up McMahon`s second touchdown that made it 30-3 and ended any thoughts of respectability by the Patriots.
Payton ended up with 61 yards in 22 tough attempts, but the Bearsestablished the run early with Suhey, who had 52 yards in 11 attempts.
``We knew if we could run, the play-action pass would open up,because their cornerbacks eye the backfield so heavily,`` said center JayHilgenberg. ``We knew if the line would keep our hats down and block like arun, it would open up big plays.
``Throughout the playoffs, teams have been taking Walter away fromus.``
Singletary said the only subtle difference in Ryan`s ``46`` plans for this game was a ``59`` blitz that sent Singletary, Marshall, and Wilson allafter the quarterback.
But the rush of the front four was more than the Patriots couldhandle. They thought they were a better offense than the one that crossedmidfield only twice against the Bears in a 20-7 loss Sept. 15. Ryan had said: ``They better be better if they want to make a game of it.``
The Bears called the Patriots a cheap bunch after proving they wereunworthy competitors.
``I`ve got to be honest,`` said Singletary. ``I thought New Englandwas a lot better than what I saw today. They were trying to talk their waythrough us.``
``We`ve never been a team to talk,`` said Duerson, who didn`t mention barking. ``When Les Frazier and Mike Singletary got hurt, the Patriots werecheering and patting each other on the back. When their tight end (Lin Dawson) went out on a stretcher, our whole defense all clapped and cheered for him.They were a cheap organization that showed no class.``
As usual, the Bears were mild-mannered and subdued afterwards,refusing to let that chip fall off their shoulders.
``You don`t see any of us hyperventilating,`` said Duerson. ``We knew we were the better team.``
Now everybody should know it.
``People kept saying we weren`t that great of a team,`` said Gault.
An article by a Boston columnist headlined ``Chicago will chokeagain,`` was posted inside the Bears` locker room.
Chicago did the choking all right. And the Patriots did the gagging.
``No, it wasn`t easy,`` said Singletary. ``Maybe we made it lookeasy. But it wasn`t easy.``Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times