Analysis puts 1985 Bears No. 8 among NFL’s greatest defenses

SHARE Analysis puts 1985 Bears No. 8 among NFL’s greatest defenses

Follow @dancahill_cst

It’s pretty much accepted around Chicago that the 1985 Bears had the NFL’s greatest defense. Even nationally, few will argue against Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense as being one of, if not, the best of all-time.

But a comprehensive statistical breakdown by USA Today’s “For the Win” tells a different story.

After the Broncos stuffed Cam Newton and the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, the “greatest defense” debate stirred, just as it did after the Seahawks thrashed Peyton Manning and the Broncos three seasons ago.

Some Bronco defenders were even laying claim to GOAT. At least one ’85 Bear, Steve McMichael, said do the math first.

So, USA Today did.

The analysis compared the Broncos to the 10 defenses that are generally considered to be the best. The numbers were era-adjusted to account for points and yardage variances. The results are rather surprising.

The Broncos couldn’t break into the Top 10. Even more stunning? The vaunted ’85 Bears were no better than eighth.

Of the 11 teams analyzed, the Bears were seventh in points allowed per game (11.9), seventh in yards per game (247.5), fourth in percentage of plays ending in a turnover (5.46%) and last in yards per play (4.37).

So, who was No. 1?

The 1991 Eagles defense led by Reggie White was first, followed by the 2000 Ravens, 2002 Bucs and 1976 Steelers.

From USA Today:

Any talk about the best defenses ever starts with teams like the 1976 Steelers, the 1985 Bears, the 2000 Ravens and 2002 Buccaneers. All of those teams set numerous records on their way to lifting a Lombardi Trophy. Denver may not have enjoyed a record-breaking season, but its consistently stout play in a league with rules slanted toward the offense makes this team deserving of a spot in the debate.

And the debate rages on

50 iconic Super Bowl photos

The Latest
Alex Lyon stopped all 28 shots in the 4-0 victory in Game 5
State Sen. Darren Bailey had been seeking Trump’s endorsement for months. The downstate farmer met with Trump last year and attended a fundraiser in April in which he snapped a photo with the former president.
Offense has scored three runs in its last three losses to the Orioles, who entered Saturday’s game with a 4.10 ERA - 12th in the AL
“The risk to residents of suburban Cook County remains low, but we want individuals to be aware of the signs and symptoms of monkeypox so that they seek medical care if they develop,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, CCDPH chief operating officer.