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1985 Bears Coverage: Bears-Dallas rates CBS' best

Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Bears-Dallas rates CBS’ best

Len Ziehm

Originally published Nov. 15, 1985

How big is Sunday’s Bears-Cowboys’ game?

Well, it’s soooo big that CBS is bringing out its big guns, announcers Pat Summerall and John Madden, for the noon (Ch. 2) kickoff.

Play-by-play man Summerall has called the last five Super Bowls, but he hasn’t called the Bears since last season’s NFC championship game against San Francisco.

“From what I’ve seen, they have every ingredient necessary to stay undefeated,” said Summerall, who joined CBS in 1962 after a 10-year career as a place kicker for the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants.

Summerall won’t work this year’s Super Bowl; ABC has dibs on the Jan. 26 game at New Orleans. Sunday’s game may be as close as he gets to the Super Bowl picture in the regular season. He feels the Bears and Cowboys will be in the NFC playoffs along with the Giants, Rams and either the 49ers or Redskins.

“Frankly, I’m surprised the Bears have been able to maintain themselves as well on defense as they have,” Summerall said. “I felt that the two players they didn’t sign Al Harris and Todd Bell were fine athletes, but the others don’t seem to have missed them.

“When you have a good defense, you don’t have many down days. The offense has been inconsistent on any team that’s won anything.”

The William Perry phenomena also has surprised Summerall. There weren’t players like the Refrigerator in his day.

“There were characters, but they weren’t comparable,” Summerall said. “Les Bingaman was the first big man, but he was never utilized in the same capacities Perry has been. Neither was “Big Daddy” Lipscomb, even though he was a 440-man when they found him in the service.”

Perry, Summerall believes, is a product of the changing times in professional football.

“Situation substitutions has been the big change in the game over the last 10 years,” he said. “Now every team has some kind of multiple defense. It’s much more a situation game than it used to be. Rarely does a player stay on the field for four downs. Perry fits right in to situation substitutions.”

Summerall and Madden mostly worked Giants’ games until last weekend when CBS decided to utilize them on the day’s biggest game, Dallas-Washington. They’ll continue on the day’s big game the rest of the season.

NBC, meanwhile, decided yesterday to switch the second game of its Sunday doubleheader from Kansas City at San Francisco to Cincinnati at the Los Angeles Raiders (3 p.m., Ch. 5). That network will also alter its pre-game show (NFL ’85, 11:30 a.m., Ch. 5), shifting to a live studio audience format with NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle fielding questions from about 200 fans.

Bob Costas will moderate the show, which will be held on the same New York set where David Letterman helped add to Perry’s notoriety earlier this week.