When Richard Dent was drafted by the Bears in 1983 (8th round, 203th overall), once again it was my dear brother Tim who broke the news to me. I was just starting in retail management and was working "long" hours at the time. Honestly, the Bears were the least on my mind at that point following several failed seasons in the early eighties under HC Neal Armstrong. I was excited about Mike Ditka coming on board, and the McMahon draft choice (both in 1982), but instant success was not expected.
In 1984, Dent began to grab "huge" headlines in just about every game. As I began to watch as many games as possible, I noticed that Dent was a huge factor in every game as he "terrorized" QBs in each game. When the Bears made the playoffs, I was expecting a 1st round exit, but our defense and Walter Payton made easy work of the Washington Redskins 23-19. However the following week, the Bears got shutout by the 49ers in the NFC Championship game 23-0. My reaction was "same-old-bears"...
Then came 1985, and I realized that Dent had record 17.5 sack the year before. It was at that time when I said "If Dent is the real-deal, then he won't wind-up like Wally Chambers and the other Bear D-lineman that amounted to zero". Then came our game against the Dallas Cowboys where we beat the living crap out-of-them 44-0. Dent "immediately" got my attention by posting the first 6 points of the game on a deflection/interception in the end-zone.
My reaction; "DAMN!!!!"
Dent went on to record 2 QB sacks in that game, and was the "driving-force" in that dominating victory. It was also a very "satisfying" victory which I saw as a "payback" from the 37-7 pounding the Cowboys put on us back in the playoffs in 1977. What I also observed was how Dent made the other D-Lineman look better. Teams were focusing so much on Dent with double team blocking etc. But they still could not stop him. Hampton and McMichael without question benefited from Dent's very presence on the line in every game.
In Super Bowl XX, Dent "deservedly" won the Most Valuable Player Award. Dent set the tone for one of the most "dominating" defensive units in the history of the NFL. In the years that followed Dent posted the following stats:
- 11.5 sacks in 1986
- 12.5 in 1987
- 10.5 in 1988
- 9.0 in 1989
- 12.0 in 1990
- 10.5 in 1991
- 8.5 in 1992
- 12.5 in 1993 (His last year with the Bears).
No other D-Lineman has had the success as a Bear like Richard Dent. He literally "terrorized" QBs on a "weekly" basis. He also was one D-Lineman that QB Phil Simms would have "nightmares" about each time the Bears would play the NY Giants (Phil will never admit it, but Dent was his Nemesis).
Dent's induction into the Hall Of Fame was LONE-OVERDUE!!!!! He "no doubt" was one of the Bears "best" defensive lineman in the history of the franchise. Had their not been a Richard Dent, no one would have ever learn about the "46-Defense". Dent was the final piece that made Buddy's system work, because of the havoc and pressure Dent created. Without "pressure" the 46 defense is none-existent...
WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU RICHARD, FOR WHAT YOU MEANT TO THE TEAM, AND WHAT YOU BROUGHT TO THE CITY OF CHICAGO!