The Bears will travel to Philly tonight to take on the Eagles on Monday Night Football. This marks second MNF game for the Bears this season, having lost previously to the Detroit Lions. Overall, the Bears have a 22-34 record all time on Monday night.
The rap on the Bears is that they have a problem playing under the bright lights. The record speaks for itself, but Chicagoans are acutely aware that something seems to be a bit “off” when we play on Monday Night Football.
Even though the record is bleak, the Bears still have had a few great games over time. Win or lose, here are my picks for some of the more memorable Monday Night games in Bears history.
Chicago Bears vs. Denver Broncos, Nov. 16, 1987 at Mile High Stadium
The Bears ended up losing this game in dramatic fashion. This was the strike year, but the strike was over. Ditka had his full team back in business and the thought was that the Bears were contenders. In this game, the Bears went back to the well a few too many times and in one particular goal line drive, the Bears handed off to the Fridge…who not only didn’t get in, but fumbled the ball away in the process. These are the highlights you rarely think about when you think of the goal line shenanigans of Ditka and the Monsters of the Midway. I can’t find the actual fumble on You Tube, but in this clip (1:42), they bring the Fridge back in and the announcers go crazy about the fumble earlier.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears, September 2, 1996 at Soldier Field
The Bears started off their 1996 campaign in top form by beating the Super Bowl defending champion Dallas Cowboys. And they didn’t just beat them; they sent a message that the new Wannstedt Bears were a team to be reckoned with. The Bears were coming off a playoff run (granted, a teeny little playoff run) and the league was betting the Bears would be destined for bigger things in 1996. Of course, the Chicago Bears faltered that season and didn’t make the playoffs. But we beat the Cowboys on national TV! That was pretty much the only good memory from the Wannstedt era.
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears, October 31, 1994
Maybe the worst MNF game in Bears’ history. The rain was coming down sideways and the Bears were drubbed by the Favre-led Green Bay Packers. Oh right, this was the game they honored Dick Butkus. Ouch.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears, 1988 at Soldier Field
The Bears and 49ers were considered the cream of the crop in 1988. Ditka’s Bears were in rare form, winning again against the 49ers, who were led by Joe Montana and Steve Young. The 49ers came to town during a freezing Monday night in November, 1988 with Steve Young starting for the injured Joe Montana. The game was a bloodbath: a low scoring, defensive match-up. And it was a late fourth down attempt by the 49ers that defined that Bears team. A little swing pass to star running back Roger Craig was stopped one yard short by safety Dave Duerson. A fitting way to end the game. Unfortunately, the two teams met again in the NFC Championship game and the 49ers destroyed the Bears, 28-0 en route to a Super Bowl victory.
Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings, 1988, 2010 at the Metrodome, University of Minnesota
Of all their opponents, the Bears have played the most MNF games against Minnesota Vikings. Head-to-head, the Bears lead the series 7-6. In a 1988 game that didn’t mean anything for their playoff hopes, the Bears played an intense game at the Metrodome. The big memory in this one? QB Mike Tomczak audibled out of a play, threw to the flat and the Vikings intercepted the pass and brought it back 94 yards to ice the game. Ditka wasn’t pleased. The Vikings made the playoffs that year. The Bears went on to beat the Eagles in the famed “Fog Bowl” and lost to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
And who could forget last year’s outdoor game in Minnesota after the Metrodome collapsed? It was Brett Favre’s last game in the NFL.
Chicago Bears vs. Arizona Cardinals, 2006 at University of Phoenix Stadium
The Super Bowl-bound Chicago Bears took their undefeated record into Arizona for a road game in the Cardinals brand new stadium. The Cardinals exposed QB Rex Grossman and handled the Bears offense, jumping put to a huge lead in front of a national audience. But the Bears defense scored two touchdowns and rookie Devin Hester sealed it with a late touchdown return. Then, the Cardinals missed an easy field goal to lose the game. The Bears were very lucky to win, as we were infamously told by Arizona coach Dennis Green.
Chicago Bears vs. Miami Dolphins, 1985 at Joe Robbie Stadium
This one is well-documented. Remember, Chico Rivera called it - the Dolphins cheated.
Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants, 1987 at Soldier Field
The New York Giants had just won the Super Bowl. The year before, the Bears won the Super Bowl. The NFL schedule makers gave the fans a great one, and the Bears responded by pummeling the defending champs at Soldier Field. This video just shows the first couple drives, but take a look at the Soldier Field turf. Yikes, that’s very artificial.
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears, 1985 at Soldier Field
I know, I know. It’s a very obvious choice. But that game in October of 1985 turned football into FOOTBALL. It was something bigger than the sport had ever seen. Watching William Perry dive into the end zone and essentially begin the country’s love affair with Bears football makes this game still stand out as the biggest one for Chicago on Monday Night Football. Surprisingly, I can’t find the Perry TD on YouTube, so I will show you what was made because of that play:
Now I know I missed some. Remind me in the comments. And Go Bears.