Richard Dent sees similarities in Bears, '85 champs

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Chicago hasn't seen a pro football title in over 33 years, a span during which every other major sports club in the Windy City has claimed a trophy -- even the White Sox (!) and Cubs (!!).

Entering their 100th season as one of the NFL's founding clubs, the Bears have never experienced such a drought. Their previous longest period between titles was a 22-year span between their 1963 NFL championship and 1985 Super Bowl season.

One member of the latter team, Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent, thinks this year's Bears squad has the potential to quench the franchise's prolonged thirst for a Lombardi.

"To me, this team looks just like us in '84, '85," he said at the Bears100 Celebration Weekend on Saturday, per the Associated Press. "We really started to jell, to be the best that we can be. We beat one another, and when you beat one another, no one else can beat you but yourself. That's what drove us to be the best that we can be."

Chicago is entering its second year under coach Matt Nagy having won the NFC North and returned to the postseason for the first time in nearly a decade in his first go-around. Unlike the 1984 Bears, who fell to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game, Nagy's unit dropped out of the playoffs in the wild-card round.

There are striking similarities, however, between the two eras of Chicago football. Both iterations of the Bears boast dominant defenses. Chicago led the league in yards allowed in three consecutive seasons from 1984 through 1986 and in points allowed in '85 and '86. The 2018 Bears paced all teams in points allowed and was third in yards allowed.

Buddy Ryan's Monsters of the Midway sported names like Dent, Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Dave Duerson, where Vic Fangio's 2018 Bears defense starred Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, Akiem Hicks and Eddie Jackson. A minor difference: Fangio left Chicago to coach the Denver Broncos this offseason, while Ryan departed the Bears after their Super Bowl title.

Both sides also appear to have a franchise quarterback. The '85 Bears had Jim McMahon, whereas Mitchell Trubisky looks to be Chicago's signal-caller of the future. Trubisky so emulates McMahon that the Bears starter dressed up as the Super Bowl champion this weekend, headband, sunglasses and all.

McMahon reciprocated with some advice for the 24-year-old Bears quarterback.

"All he has to do is play hard here," McMahon said Friday, per the Chicago Sun-Times. "If he plays hard, people understand that. They're very knowledgeable fans. They'll love him if he plays hard. And if he plays hard and wins, they'll love him forever."

The 2019 season is shaping up to be a special one for the Bears, what with their place in the season-long NFL100 celebrations (front and center) and in the latest NFC North standings (atop). 

While whether Chicago can live up to lofty Super Bowl expectations lofted by its own established alumni remains to be seen, what's clear is that both Bears teams, past and present, are comfortable celebrating each other's greatness and potential.

"You can't double everybody," Dent said of the 2019 Bears. "That's just like us."

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