Hall of Fame former Bears defensive end Richard Dent was the MVP of Super Bowl XX, but it still bugs him, nearly three decades later, that that was the only Super Bowl he ever played in. And Dent blames two men for that: Mike Ditka and Doug Flutie.
Dent said on 670 The Score in Chicago that the 1985 Bears thought they were going to be a dynasty, but Ditka cost them the opportunity to reach more Super Bowls after that year by failing to figure out the quarterback situation and playing Flutie when starter Jim McMahon got hurt.
“Well, we are going to be king of the hill all the time,” Dent said, via the Chicago Tribune. “And we came back three years in a row and had home-field advantage. Our coach couldn’t figure out the right quarterback to play. The disappointing part to me is that we only got one out of it. We should have been the first team ever to win three Super Bowls in a row. It was there in the taking, but we didn’t manage that one position right.”
Dent said that if Ditka hadn’t started Flutie, who at the time was an inexperienced 24-year-old, in the playoffs after the 1986 season, the Bears would have won Super Bowl XXI, too.
“Mike didn’t manage that quarterback position,” Dent said. “Bringing Doug Flutie in and thinking that he’s gonna come in and be on a team for three weeks and start him in a playoff game? Hell, I mean you’re trying to change the name on the Super Bowl trophy to Mike Ditka from Vince Lombardi when you do something like that. We had won with [Mike] Tomczak and [Steve] Fuller. That’s all we needed to do is stay with that plan.”
The Bears lost in the playoffs after the 1987 and 1988 seasons, too, and Flutie wasn’t around for those, so he doesn’t deserve any of the blame for that. But Dent is only the most recent of a number of former Bears who have said they’re still angry that Ditka botched the quarterback situation in 1986. That failure to repeat remains a bitter pill to swallow for the 1986 Bears, all these years later.