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1985 Bears Coverage: Packers vs. Bears: This is war

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.

Packers vs. Bears: This is war

Kevin Lamb

Originally published Nov. 3, 1985

In losing to the Bears Oct. 21, the Green Bay Packers left the impression they can talk a good game.

“It seems like as soon as the game’s over, they can’t wait to get in and run their mouths off for the media,” said Dan Hampton, looking forward to the rematch at Green Bay today. “It seems like they don’t want to play the game on the field. They want to play it in the newspaper.

“You’d think they’d want to play in the present. When we were playing, it seemed like all they could think about was, wait ’til we come to Green Bay. Like it’s some kind of scenic tour.”

The last time the Bears played at Green Bay, the game had an inordinate amount of punching and puffing.

“They always come out and want to fight and verbally try to abuse you,” Otis Wilson aid. “Just little unnecessary things. But that doesn’t work against us.”

Coach Mike Ditka said he thought the teams’ mutual dislike might trace back to the 1960s, when the Packers were “maybe the best team ever assembled.” Ditka and Packer coach Forrest Gregg both played on those Bear and Packer teams.

But the players’ strong emotion toward each other seems to be based more on events of the 1980s.

As Hampton said, “I have a lot of respect for Lynn Dickey, but I wouldn’t give you two cents for the whole Packer team. We don’t like them and they don’t like us.”

“That’s how football’s supposed to be played,” Ditka said. “I didn’t know it was supposed to be a buddy-buddy thing.

“Their players don’t pick any of ours up off the ground and ours don’t pick any of theirs up. We went through a time in pro football where there was so much pattin’ guys on the butt and pickin’ them up, you wonder what was going on.

“We play with good sportsmanship, but we play hard. If the game was meant to be played like that, we wouldn’t need pads. We wouldn’t need a lot of things.

“But we need that stuff. Those are articles of clothing that you wear when you go into battle. And this is a little bit of a war.”

Trainer Fred Caito said cornerback Mike Richardson would not play today. Ken Taylor will replace him, and Ditka said Reggie Phillips, the other rookie cornerback, probably would play, too, because the Packers like to use three wide receivers.

Maury Buford’s 45.7-yard punting average ranks second in the league. His net average, 37.4, is tied for fifth. Buford has had more touchbacks than punts inside the 20, but he has compensated for that by having only 32 percent of his punts returned, the lowest in the league.

Bear league leaders are Jim McMahon in passing, Willie Gault in kickoff return average (29.5) and Kevin Butler in scoring (75 points). Walter Payton is tied for second with six rushing touchdowns and tied for third with eight altogether. Dennis McKinnon is third with seven receiving touchdowns.

Payton has crept up to sixth in rushing yardage (652) and eighth in yards from scrimmage (869). In 18 games against Green Bay, he has run for at least 100 yards 12 times.