Maybe it was the nostalgia talking, but Hall of Fame pass-rusher Richard Dent feels some type of way about the 2019 Chicago Bears.
“To me, this team looks just like us in ’84, ’85,” Dent said during a panel discussion at the Bears100 Celebration in Rosemont. “We really started to jell, to be the best that we can be. We beat one another, and when you beat one another, no one can beat you but yourself. That’s what drove us to be the best that we can be.”
The Bears haven’t hoisted the Lombardi since Super Bowl XX when the team ran wild in a dominant 46-10 against the Patriots that capped off the 1985 season. That year is one for the ages, but I sense that Dent sees the similarities between how things ended for the 2018 team and the squad he played for in 1984.
Between a swarming defense led by fearsome pass-rusher Khalil Mack, an offense that is well-positioned to take the next step behind quarterback Mitch Trubisky (who was just handed the torch by Jim McMahon), and the motivation to erase the bitter ending of the previous year, perhaps Dent is onto something here.
Much like the 2018 team, the ’84 Bears were a top-flight defensive unit (finishing 3rd in scoring defense), a middle-of-the-pack offense (16th in points scored), and were led by a Pennsylvania-born head coach with some swagger. That team was also well represented on the postseason award circuit with four Pro Bowlers and three first-team All-Pro standouts.
But before Chicago broke out with a 10-win season that ended with a trip to the conference title game and set the team on a run of prosperity that featured five consecutive double-digit seasons with playoff berths, the team missed the playoffs in each of its previous four seasons. The 1984 run ended a rough stretch of years for the Bears that followed their 1963 NFL Championship, in which the team had 13 losing seasons and made the postseason just twice between 1964 and 1983.
So after watching Head Coach Matt Nagy lead the Bears to a 12-win season that ended a seven-year postseason drought behind a slew of Pro Bowl and All-Pro talents, it doesn’t take much to see where Dent is coming from with his comparison.