The 1985 NFL season is remembered for the historic defensive dominance of the Chicago Bears. Led by Defensive Player of the Year Mike Singletary, colorful coordinator Buddy Ryan and head coach Mike Ditka, the Bears rolled to a 15-1 regular season record and won the Super Bowl.
But there was much more to the world of the 1985 NFL and the links below, with game-by-game narratives of twelve notable teams bring to light all the great stories of this season. You’ll read about the following…
*The process by which the Bears became “The 1985 Bears”, including devastating statement wins over contenders in the Redskins, Cowboys and 49ers.
*Chicago’s push for an undefeated season as it reached 11-0. A big Monday Night game awaited in Miami, and the Dolphins protected the legacy of their 1972 undefeated champions by ending the Bear bid for perfection.
*Miami was part of an excellent three-team race in the AFC East. New England and the New York Jets were both in the mix to the very end, and another big Monday Night game, a Dolphins-Patriots game in the regular season’s penultimate week was the difference. Miami won that battle, but New England later won the war and made a wild-card run to the AFC title.
*The Los Angeles Raiders and Denver Broncos had a great race for the AFC West title, and the Raiders won two head-to-head overtime games late in the year. Los Angeles was carried by MVP running back Marcus Allen. Denver finished 11-5, but missed the playoffs thanks to the Cleveland Browns winning a division title at 8-8.
*The NFC East was another good three-team affair, as the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins fought for the division into December and all three were in playoff contention until the final week. Dallas won a pair of dramatic games over New York and also swept Washington to win the division. The Redskins were the odd team out of the postseason.
*The San Francisco 49ers were the defending Super Bowl champs, but started 3-4. The Los Angeles Rams rolled to a 7-0 start. Then the 49ers made a late run and were ready to steal the division, before the Rams won yet another dramatic Monday Night game, this one in San Francisco. Los Angeles took the division and their great running back Eric Dickerson led them to the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers settled for a wild-card.
The articles below have the game-by-game narratives about all ten playoff teams, plus the notable misses in the Broncos and Redskins. Together, these twelve articles tell how the 1985 NFL season looked as it was unfolding, through the eyes of its best teams.