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NFL – Throwback Thursday: The Fog Bowl

31 Oct

It’s time for another Throwback Thursday feature with the NFL entering week nine of its’ season, and two old NFL franchises, the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles, are matched up this week. That will take us back to a playoff game between these two teams, played on New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 1988 at Chicago’s Soldier Field. The game was a coaching matchup of two men who served together on the Bears’ coaching staff during their 1985 Super Bowl run, Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan. Ditka was a Chicago icon dating back to his playing days with the team in the 1960s, while Ryan, during his time as the defensive coordinator of the team in the Ditka regime, stole as much of the spotlight as he could from the head coach since his defensive unit was the strength of the team. There was no love lost between the 2 men, and Ryan left to take the Eagles’ head coaching position in 1986. The game itself was no masterpiece, at least allegedly, since there wasn’t much of the action visible to the fans in the stadium or on television. A deep fog descended on the field making visibility difficult for the players, coaches and officials. The game, won by the Bears 20-12, would go down in NFL lore as “The Fog Bowl”.

 

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Bears, Eagles enjoying “Fog Bowl” action

 

The Chicago “Monsters of The Midway” defense, although a couple of years removed from their ’85 championship, was still a formidable unit and held the Eagles to 4 Luis Zendejas field goals on the day. Randall Cunningham, Philly’s elusive quarterback, threw for 407 yards in the game but couldn’t get his team into the end zone. He was intercepted 3 times and sacked 4 times. Bears’ QB Mike Tomczak also threw 3 picks, but was able to find his wide receiver, Dennis McKinnon, through the fog for a 64 yard touchdown to open the scoring in the first quarter. When Neal Anderson scored on a 1 yard run for the Bears in the second quarter to up the Bears’ lead to 14-6, the game was pretty much over. The teams spent the rest of the afternoon trading Zendejas and Kevin Butler field goals and feeling their way through the fog. McKinnon was able to make himself visible enough to catch 4 passes for 108 yards and his TD, and a pair of Eagles, running back Keith Byars and tight end Keith Jackson, also had over 100 yards receiving, making up most of the passing yardage from Cunningham. Unfortunately for the Bears, they would get torched 28-3 by Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers the following week in the NFC Championship game, and San Fran would go on to win the Super Bowl.

 

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Bears’ fans express their sentiments during the “Fog Bowl” game

 

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