I could not have picked a better year than 1985 to become a football fan.
Seahawks receiver Steve Largent was closing in on NFL history, Jerry Rice, a rookie receiver, was helping the San Francisco 49ers revolutionize the game and the Chicago Bears were capturing the imagination of the nation.
The Bears had the great Walter Payton. They had a sunglasses-wearing Jim McMahon. They had William “The Refrigerator” Perry. They made a music video, “The Super Bowl Shuffle.” Their coach, Mike Ditka, became the subject of sketches on Saturday Night Live. And they had the best defense in the game.
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It was obvious, from the perspective of a 6th-grade boy, where the season was going: These mighty Bears would be the team the Seahawks played in Super Bowl 20.
I was half wrong. The Seahawks didn’t even make the playoffs.
We were camping the morning of Super Bowl 20 and I remember pestering my dad for us to get home so I could watch the game. “You already know who’s going to win,” he said.
Everybody outside of New England did, of course.
We got home shortly after kickoff and I was stunned to see the Bears were losing 3-0. Chicago hadn’t given up a point in the playoffs so far.
“I knew it,” I said. “I knew the Seahawks could have beaten these guys.”
Of course, I was wrong about that too. What happened next was one of the most epic beat downs in Super Bowl history.
The Bears won 46-10. And I haven’t been late for a Super Bowl since.