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This is an article from the Nov. 23, 2009 issue
EXCERPT | Nov. 25, 1985
En route to a title, Chicago was at its best in Dallas
The Bears won their first 10 games, and skeptics expected them to get their comeuppance in Dallas. Paul Zimmerman reported on the blowout.
The Chicago Bears turned back the clock in Texas Stadium on Sunday, way back, past their old Monsters of the Midway days, past Bulldog Turner and George Musso and Bronko Nagurski, back to an era when men played football on rocky patches of ground and battled with fists and leather helmets.
They beat the Cowboys 44--0, the worst defeat Dallas has suffered at Texas Stadium or any other stadium. They clinched their division championship and ran their record to 11--0, and they did it without their regular quarterback, Jim McMahon, who watched the game in civvies, thanks to a sore right shoulder. The Bears' defense rushed in wild, frenzied waves and knocked out Dallas quarterback Danny White twice, and held his replacement, Gary Hogeboom, to six completions in 22 heaves. The defense sacked the pair of them six times and scored 14 points of its own and shut down the Dallas running game and, hey, there's no end to it.
The pregame angles were swept up like yesterday's sawdust. An emotional contest for the Cowboys, a payback for the nasty, punch-filled exhibition meeting in August, a chance for Dallas to exert further mastery over a team it had beaten six straight times, a chance to dust off the old Flex defense principles and stop Walter Payton.
All those sensible notions vanished under an assault wave that made it look as if the Bears were playing 15 men against 11.
Chicago would lose just once in 1985, to the Dolphins in Week 13, and win its only Super Bowl title in a 46--10 rout of the Patriots.
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SI Sportsman of the Year
Who gets your vote as the best sports performer of 2009? SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Dec. 1. Go to SI.com/sportsman for a collection of essays from SI writers, and see who they believe deserves the honor.
by Lars Anderson
"It's an elusive thing, this business of trying to explain what makes Johnson quite possibly the greatest driver in the history of American stock car racing. What separates him from everyone else is one thing: his mind."
by Austin Murphy
"This nomination is pegged less to Tebow's production on the field this season than to his actions away from it. With an easy smile he has demonstrated to a generation of football fans that it's cool to be kind."
by Damon Hack
"He couldn't overcome Stewart Cink in a playoff. Still, in defeat Watson remains my Sportsman of the Year for everything he gave during the British Open at Turnberry—his grit, his spirit and his golf."
by Jack McCallum
"We pick people to be our Sportsman who put it on the line, dazzle us with their talent and demonstrate their passion for the game, transferring some of it to us in the process. That is Diana Taurasi."
by Phil Taylor
"Dungy lives up to his word and sticks to his principles. A man like that can contribute a great deal more to society than merely coaching a football team, and he has spent most of 2009 proving exactly that."
by Michael Farber
"This was a different Crosby last spring. Although he has never scored 40 goals in a season, he willed himself into a playoff goal-scorer. He had a playoff-high 15 in the Penguins' 24 games, in addition to 16 assists."