The Definitive Ranking of the 1985 Bears Defenders

Frents, the Bears are basically a religion in this town and like any other organized religion, we as worshippers go through fits and starts with them. My baptism to this team was 1985 (well, probably 1984 to be exact, but let’s not quibble with it). I was 7 years old as the 1985 Bears streaked to a 15-1 record and walloped the competition in the playoffs and Super Bowl. An all-time great single season NFL performance, the likes of which has still not been matched by this franchise in my lifetime.

That team was lead by one of the greatest defenses, EVER. Possibly the greatest ever and as someone that watched that team in real-time (even though I was still crushing Flintstone vitamins), I offer you my ranking of the defensive players on this squad, from 11 all the way down to the #1.

11 – William “Fridge” Perry

Look, we all love Fridge Perry and lord knows he was a terrific athlete at a large size (for that time in the NFL). I once saw him two handed jam a basketball at a charity game back in the day. He became a folk hero for his use on offensive, even scoring in the Super Bowl, but for my money, he was the 11th defender on this squad. In fact, you could probably make a claim that Mike Hartenstine was on par with him. Still love ya Fridge!

10 – “LA” Mike Richardson

Allegedly his nickname was in reference to him being from Southern California, however, Mad Mex told us at an early age that there were whispers that it really meant “Lazy Ass”. Either way, Mike was a solid cornerback who even scored a touchdown on a pick six in the Dallas game. Ole Mike has been in a little bit of trouble lately, but that has nothing to do with me putting him 10th on this list.

9 – Dave Duerson

I was shocked to look it up and see Duerson made 4 straight pro bowls starting in 1985. I have Duerson here because he probably wouldn’t have seen the field if it weren’t for Todd Bell holding out the entire season. One of my first football memories is Todd Bell scrambling Joe Washington’s brains in the 1984 playoff game at Washington. Either way, he played well, but he wasn’t vital imo.

8 – Mike Singletary

I can already hear the fucking boo-birds on this selection he is a HOFer for Pete’s sake, but let’s be real. Singletary’s highest and best use was as a play caller. Most of his action was predicated by the rest of this stellar squad dominating and plays funneling to him. The guy has 7 career interceptions as a linebacker, his two cohorts combined for that many in 1985 alone. I love Singletary, but I can’t rate him any higher.

7 – Gary Fencik

One of the keys to having a defense that is going to send everyone sometimes is having a safety that can come on a blitz for a sack AND ring a guy’s bell, so to speak, out in the secondary. Fencik looks like an Investment Banker, but good lord could he hit. Just take a look at this video.

6 – Steve McMichael

Mongo as they used to call him was fucking 1st team ALL-PRO in 1985, but for my money, he was greatly helped by some terrific defenders on the defensive line along with him. Not to take anything away from him, enjoyed watching him down in the trenches. A fun player to watch and an even more colorful character off of the field, who right now is going through a tough time.

5 – Otis Wilson

Mama’s Boy Otis was a dual threat at linebacker, he could drop into coverage and cover a running back and he was also the most dangerous edge rusher out of the Bears linebackers. I think he tends to get lost in the shuffle a bit with Singletary’s eyes and Wilber Marshall’s free agency post 1985. OW was a severe threat to opposing QB’s.

4 – Leslie Frazier

Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense was famous for sending everyone and leaving his corners on an island. Frazier was the Bears shutdown corner. Possibly one of the reasons that the defense was less explosive in future years (other than Ryan taking a head coaching job with the Eagles in 1986) was losing Frazier in a botched trick play on a punt in Super Bowl XX. He has one of the most unbelievable interceptions I have ever seen.

3 – Wilber Marshall

Wilber Marshall separating Joe Ferguson from his soul is one of many ridiculous hits that Marshall has on his resume. He was good at everything, he could chase down a running back, take on a wide receiver out in coverage (except for maybe Nat Moore) and get to the quarterback with devastating results. He was the only one of this crew that left via free agency in a highly touted way. I was sad to see him go. It was fun watching him dominate. An all-purpose defensive weapon who was an underrated star.

2 – Richard Dent

Dent was a goddamn monster on the edge. The goal of the 46 defense was to put the fucking quarterback on his ass, constantly. Dent was the best on this roster in doing that. Dent was one of the BEST EVER at doing that in general. He’s a HOF’er, he was the Super Bowl MVP, he was a beast. Easy #2 on this list, in fact, you can make a real argument to put him first, I would be amenable to that.

1 – Dan Hampton

The best and most important player on the 1985 Bears defense, the lynch-pin of the 46 defense was Dan Hampton. Since the 46 often liked to send extra players to blitz and destroy the quarterback, you needed one guy who always commanded the attention of 2 offensive linemen and that was Hampton. Despite all the attention he got, he still go to the quarterback quite a bit. He’s also a HOF’er. I’ve often thought that most defensive schemes you want to run could work well as long as you have prime Dan Hampton in the mix.

That’s the list, I’d love to hear where you think I fucked up. Hit me up on the twitter machine.


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