AL HAMNIK: Seahawks' 'D' very good, but not close to '85 Bears

2014-02-03T18:15:00Z 2014-02-04T22:31:09Z AL HAMNIK: Seahawks' 'D' very good, but not close to '85 BearsAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
February 03, 2014 6:15 pm  • 

We should eliminate our exhausted use of the word "best" and apply a rating system like A1, A2 and A3 to signify degrees of excellence.

All you heard Monday were media swooning over the Seattle Seahawks' 43-8 pasting of the NFL's highest-scoring team ever, the Denver Broncos.

The best defense ever, they raved, then threw out some impressive stats to support their argument.

Seattle's defense led the NFL in fewest points allowed per game (14.4), fewest yards allowed per game (273.6), lowest passer rating allowed (63.4), fewest yards allowed per play (4.42), fewest big plays (20-plus yards) allowed (36), and takeaways (39).

For good measure, Seahawks' lovers note their three postseason wins — 49ers (23-17), Saints (23-15), Broncos — were all against legitimate contenders.

Maybe so, but I'll still take the 1985 Bears' Super Bowl XX champs as the scariest defense I've seen in 44 years of covering sports.

That includes the 1978 Steelers (12.2 ppg) and 2000 Ravens (10.3 ppg).

Did you notice? I didn't say "best."

Mike Ditka's Bears allowed 12.3 ppg., held 11 of their 16 opponents to 10 points or less, and gave up only 10 points in playoff wins over the Giants, Los Angeles Rams and Patriots.

They forced 53 turnovers.

And this is where I'll end any stat comparisons. These are different eras we're talking about, a different breed of professional athletes, a different style of coaching, different rules.

It's like saying the 1965 Mustang puts the 2013 Camaro to shame. What?

The Super Bowl XX Bears also were pro football's most colorful team, with a cast of characters worthy of its own TV series, starting with Jim ''The Punky QB" McMahon.

"We won a lot of games and had a helluva lot of fun, too," McMahon told me in a 2010 interview. "We had a lot of guys who not only wanted to win, but pound people and they did.

"Everybody talks about our defense but we had a helluva lot of offensive firepower, too. We scored the most points (456) in the league, we held the ball for almost 40 minutes a game, and that's a lethal combination to have."

Super Bowl MVP Richard Dent led a nasty, nasty gang of defenders that featured Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson, Steve McMichael, William "The Refrigerator" Perry, Wilbur Marshall, Dave Duerson, Gary Fencik, Mike Richardson and Leslie Frazier.

They just didn't tackle you; they walloped you with an imaginary two-by-four.

"I'd walk through fire every day to come to work," Dent told me at the team's 25th anniversary party. "It gave me a good outlook on life.

"We had a loose coach (Mike Ditka) and loose players, so it was a good fit."

And who can forget the finger-snapping "Super Bowl Shuffle" with Willie Gault writing the lyrics. It's still piling up thousands of hits on YouTube and ITunes.

The '85 Bears will always be my favorite team, their defense the one I respect most in Super Bowl annals.

"Yeah, I miss playing," McMichael said. "Back then, I could hit somebody in the head and not go to jail for it."

The Seahawks' secondary breathed fire into their defense, but the Bears gave you welts at every position.

They get my A1 rating, hands down.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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