Jan 26: Two of the Greatest Super Bowl Champs Win Their Last Super Bowl

’91 REDSKINS, ’84 BEARS

THE TWO BEST SUPER BOWL CHAMPS WIN FOR THE LAST TIME

In 2012, the Bleacher Report ranked the Greatest Super Bowl teams ever with the 1991 Washington Redskins ranking #1 and the 1985 Chicago Bears at #2.

  • Both were dominant from start to finish of the season
    (the Redskins started 11-0 and the Bears 12-0)
  • Both won decisive Super Bowl victories and both teams won on this day; and
  • Neither have won a Super Bowl since
    (The Bears at least made one return trip to the Super Bowl,
    while the Redskins have had only 5 playoff years since then).

I have to agree with the Bleacher Report.  Both teams had great defenses (although the Bears may have had one of the best defenses of all time), but the Redskins also had one of the most explosive offensive machines.

It was a fun season to watch.  I will always remember Week 10 against the Houston Oilers (7-1) in what was billed as a Super Bowl preview.  The Oilers tied the game with 1:42 left and then recovered Brian Mitchell’s fumble of the kickoff return at the 23 yard.  I was driving when Ian Howfield lined up to kick a 33-yard field goal for when and then heard Sonny Jurgenson exclaim “God must have the Redskins in the pool this week” as the kick was wide.  I got home in time to see the Redskins win in overtime and remain unbeaten.

This team was the culmination of Joe Gibbs masterwork.

OVERALL

REDSKIN HELMS WASHINGTON REDSKINS

FROM THE BLEACHER REPORT:

The Redskins of 20 years ago aren’t usually regarded as the best team of the Super Bowl era, and part of that is because of the quarterback, Mark Rypien. Though Rypien had a mostly pedestrian career, he did have a truly great season in 1991, and the numbers prove that. Rypien, an excellent deep passer, threw for 28 touchdowns, second in the NFL.

Rypien was second in passer rating, and he threw 14 TDs of 25 yards or more, most in the NFL. Rypien led the NFL in yards per pass-completion, ahead of Hall of Famers Steve Young, Jim Kelly, John Elway, Dan Marino and Warren Moon. Plus, Rypien’s 28 TDs were nearly twice as many as Bears quarterback Jim McMahon’s greatest single-season output of 15.

Washington had a strong running attack with Earnest Byner, Ricky Ervins and Gerald Riggs combining for nearly 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns.  Byner was the workhorse, Ervins provided elusiveness, and Riggs served as the short yardage back. Incredibly, the posse, Hall of Famer Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders, combined for more than 3,000 yards receiving.

Most impressively, the 1991 version of the Hogs allowed Rypien to be sacked only nine times all season.  The feat is even more remarkable because Rypien was anything but a mobile quarterback. The Hogs’ only Hall of Famer, left guard Russ Grimm, was a backup to Raleigh McKenzie that season. The two best linemen on the team were tackles Jim Lachey and Joe Jacoby. Brian Mitchell ran back two punts for touchdowns to lead Washington’s excellent special teams, and kicker Chip Lohmiller made the Pro Bowl.

The 1991 Redskins led the league in points and were second in points allowed. Washington sacked quarterbacks 50 times, dominating both lines of scrimmage. Defensive end Charles Mann, linebackers Wilber Marshall and Andre Collins and Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green led a Redskins defense that held opponents to 14 points per game and shut out three opponents. . . ..

In the Super Bowl, Washington dominated Buffalo, 37-24, but it wasn’t that close. Washington led 24-0 in the third quarter. It was the Bills’ second of four consecutive Super Bowls, and Buffalo featured Hall of Famers Kelly, Thurman Thomas, James Lofton and Bruce Smith.  The Redskins held Thomas, the NFL MVP, to 13 yards on 10 carries. The Redskins never trailed in any of their playoff games.

TOT YDS & TO PASSING RUSHING
PTS YDS PLY Y/P TO FL 1STPY 1STD CMP ATT YDS TD INT NY/A 1STD ATT YDS TD Y/A 1STD
Team Offense 485 5741 996 5.8 23 12 16 302 261 447 3692 30 11 8.1 179 540 2049 21 3.8 107
Team Defense 224 4293 946 4.5 41 14 19 242 292 548 2947 13 27 4.9 151 348 1346 11 3.9 72
Lg Rank Offense 1 4 3 4 9 26 5 2 3 1 1 7 1 18
Lg Rank Defense 2 3 3 14 3 27 9 5 2 2 2 3 12 11

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 1/26/2014.

SEASON and PLAYOFF RUN

SCORE
WEEK DATE OT REC OPP TM OPP
1 September 1 W 1-0 Detroit Lions 45 0
2 September 9 W 2-0 @ Dallas Cowboys 33 31
3 September 15 W 3-0 Phoenix Cardinals 34 0
4 September 22 W 4-0 @ Cincinnati Bengals 34 27
5 September 30 W 5-0 Philadelphia Eagles 23 0
6 October 6 W 6-0 @ Chicago Bears 20 7
7 October 13 W 7-0 Cleveland Browns 42 17
8 Bye Week
9 October 27 W 8-0 @ New York Giants 17 13
10 November 3 W OT 9-0 Houston Oilers 16 13
11 November 10 W 10-0 Atlanta Falcons 56 17
12 November 17 W 11-0 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 41 14
13 November 24 L 11-1 Dallas Cowboys 21 24
14 December 1 W 12-1 @ Los Angeles Rams 27 6
15 December 8 W 13-1 @ Phoenix Cardinals 20 14
16 December 15 W 14-1 New York Giants 34 17
17 December 22 L 14-2 @ Philadelphia Eagles 22 24
Playoffs
Division January 4 W 15-2 Atlanta Falcons 24 7
ConfChamp January 12 W 16-2 Detroit Lions 41 10
SuperBowl January 26 W 17-2 N Buffalo Bills 37 24
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/26/2015.

riddell-pro-line-authentic-nfl-helmet-bears-76-t61402-170

CHICAGO BEARS

FROM THE BLEACHER REPORT:

If there’s one other team that can stake a claim to the number one spot, it’s the 1985 Chicago Bears. They finished 18-1, may have had the best defense of all time and outscored playoff opponents 91-10.  Ryan’s swarming “46” defense had 64 sacks and held opponents to 12.4 points per game.

The Bears had two regular season shutouts and two playoff shutouts, defeating the Giants 21-0 and the Rams 24-0 before thrashing the Patriots, 46-10.  The 1985 Bears had four players named to the Hall of Fame, including running back Walter Payton, defensive linemen Richard Dent and Dan Hampton and linebacker Mike Singletary. The Bears also featured nine Pro Bowlers, five on defense.

While the Bears finished 15-1, the teams they faced had a combined winning percentage of .473. No other teams in the NFC Central Division finished above .500. Also, although the Bears routed the Patriots in the Super Bowl, New England was a non-descript team that finished 11-5 in the regular season. Patriots quarterback Tony Eason threw more interceptions than touchdowns during the regular season – 17 to 11.

TOT YDS & TO PASSING RUSHING
PTS YDS PLY Y/P TO FL 1STPY 1STD CMP ATT YDS TD INT NY/A 1STD ATT YDS TD Y/A 1STD
Team Offense 456 5837 1085 5.4 31 15 22 343 237 432 3076 17 16 6.5 145 610 2761 27 4.5 176
Team Defense 198 4135 945 4.4 54 20 21 236 249 522 2816 16 34 4.8 141 359 1319 6 3.7 74
Lg Rank Offense 2 7 4 9 6 26 20 22 6 4 1 1 1 5
Lg Rank Defense 1 1 1 5 1 18 3 3 1 2 1 1 1 6

 SEASON and PLAYOFF RUN

Score
Week Date OT Rec Opp Tm Opp
1 September 8 W 1-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38 28
2 September 15 W 2-0 New England Patriots 20 7
3 September 19 W 3-0 @ Minnesota Vikings 33 24
4 September 29 W 4-0 Washington Redskins 45 10
5 October 6 W 5-0 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 19
6 October 13 W 6-0 @ San Francisco 49ers 26 10
7 October 21 W 7-0 Green Bay Packers 23 7
8 October 27 W 8-0 Minnesota Vikings 27 9
9 November 3 W 9-0 @ Green Bay Packers 16 10
10 November 10 W 10-0 Detroit Lions 24 3
11 November 17 W 11-0 @ Dallas Cowboys 44 0
12 November 24 W 12-0 Atlanta Falcons 36 0
13 December 2 L 12-1 @ Miami Dolphins 24 38
14 December 8 W 13-1 Indianapolis Colts 17 10
15 December 14 W 14-1 @ New York Jets 19 6
16 December 22 W 15-1 @ Detroit Lions 37 17
Playoffs
Division January 5 W 16-1 New York Giants 21 0
ConfChamp January 12 W 17-1 Los Angeles Rams 24 0
SuperBowl January 26 W 18-1 N New England Patriots 46 10
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/26/2015.

AND THE REST

Bleacher Report rounds out the top 5 with the 1972 Dolphins, the 1989 San Francisco 49ers and the 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers and concludes:

But the dominance the 1991 Redskins and 1985 Bears displayed came in an era of more parity than there had been in the 1970s, when the haves and have-nots were more distinguishable. What the Redskins and Bears did by defeating their opponents by an average of 16 points a game was spectacular. The Redskins get the slight edge because of their balanced offense, which included a deep passing game that the Bears could not match.

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