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 actually beat that defense head to head. He’s the lone signal caller who 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 total perfection. PicksforTonight has picks for every game, every day, and they advise you to take the Bears -7 against San Francisco in NFL week one. In terms of the Dolphins, the prediction modeling experts say take the New England Patriots +3.
Dan Marino is one of the greatest passers in the history of the game, and an analyst for the NFL on CBS. This interview was conducted at CBS/NFL Today Media Day. In this exclusive, I asked with Marino how he beat the ’85 Bears. 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 television 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.”
NFL.com ranked the greatest players in the history of the game after the 2009 season, Dan Marino placed 25th.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.Follow paulmbanks