The 1985 Chicago Bears are considered to be the best football team in history by many NFL experts. And those football gurus that don’t consider them to be the best overall team ever still believe that the ’85 Bears had the best NFL defense in history.
However, Dan Marino is the one quarterback who beat that defense. He’s the one signal caller that figured out the ’85 Bears 46 Zone and how to get past it. The ’85 Bears still captivate the hearts and minds of this city like no other team. And Marino’s Dolphins were the only team that kept them from reaching perfection.
Marino is one of the greatest passers in the history of the game, and an analyst for the NFL on CBS. He returns to CBS on September 8th, for The NFL Today, a pregame show now in its 46th season. This will be the 54th year that CBS has covered the NFL. Marino will be joined this season by Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe and Bill Cowher; with James Brown anchoring. NFL.com ranked the greatest players in the history of the game after the 2009 season, Dan Marino placed 25th.
I had an exclusive with Marino at NFL on CBS Media Day where I asked him how he beat the ’85 Bears and what he thinks of the Bears chances this season.
Dan Marino was college roommates with ’85 Bears star offensive tackle Jimbo Covert. They remain very close friends to this day.
“I just felt like our offense was set up and matched up in a way that what they did defensively we could be successful,” Marino told me.
“That Bear defense, the 46, Buddy Ryan, they liked to come after the quarterback. I felt like I was a guy that could handle the blitz pretty well and we had Nat Moore, Duper, Clayton guys that could get open in one-on-one coverage and that’s what the Bears were doing, a lot of man coverage,” he continued.
“Looking back on it, we got off to a good start, and what we did is we took our normal base offense and took our tight end out of the game and moved Nat Moore in and spread it out a little bit, and they stayed in their same type of defense, so they had linebackers trying to cover Nat Moore, and when they blitzed they had to bring a safety down.”
“So that kind of helped what we did offensively, I hate to say it, but it’s as simple as that,” Dan Marino summarized.
Dan Marino was known for having one of the quickest releases the league has ever seen, so he was one of the very few passers adept enough to beat the Bears blitz packages. In short, he was fast enough on the trigger to get past the blitz and exploit one-on-one mismatches. And with Moore, the Dolphins had a WR on LB mismatch to complement the “Marks Brothers” at wideout beating the Bears corners and safeties.
Until 2011, Marino held the record for most passing yards in a season. He still holds the record for most 400 yard passing games in a career, as well as numerous other NFL and Dolphins records. Interestingly enough, he also holds every Monday Night Football passing record you could think of. And you’ll remember that lone ’85 Bears loss was a Monday-nighter. So the current CBS tv analyst has always excelled in prime time; during his playing career too.
“That defense is probably the best defense to ever play football,” Dan Marino said of the ’85 Bears.
“I felt like I was a guy who could handle blitzing teams. And I got sacked three or four times in that game, but we made big plays off their blitzes and that’s what the difference was.”
Dan Marino assessed this year’s Bears team:
“With the new coach, it’s always tough. I like Trestman, I’ve known him for a lot of years and he’s a very knowledgeable guy. I think he’ll do a great job, but any time you have to do a whole new transition with a new staff and new personnel, it’s going to be difficult. They’re going to challenge, but I think it’s going to be difficult for them to win that division.
For more with Dan Marino and to see who he thinks will win the NFC go here.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)
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