This is the third Super Bowl for Buddy Ryan, now the defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, and so far he's batting .500.
He was an assistant with the New York Jets when Joe Namath did his number on the Baltimore Colts, and he was on the Minnesota staff when the Vikings got run down by the Oakland Raiders, 32-14, in 1977. That one was at the Rose Bowl, and it wasn't Buddy's finest hour.
The Raiders, running to the left behind dreadnaughts Art Shell and Gene Upshaw, steamrollered over Alan Page and Jim Marshall, comparative lightweights, and Clarence Davis ran for a total of 137 yards. Altogether, the Raiders netted 266 yards on the ground, a Super Bowl record at the time. Marshall didn't make a single tackle.
In total offense, the Raiders netted 429 yards, also a record.
Said Oakland Coach John Madden afterward: "I knew last night that we were going to win big. I usually don't feel that way before a game, but I was so sure of it I was even saying it. Everything was perfect."
Note: It was the fourth Super Bowl loss for Minnesota linebacker Wally Hilgenberg who couldn't handle the blocking of Oakland fullback Mark van Eeghen and finally was replaced in the game. Wally is the uncle of Chicago Bears center Jay Hilgenberg.
Trivia Time: True or false: Sunday's game at the Superdome will mark the first time the Chicago Bears have played for the NFL championship indoors? (Answer below.)
Would-you-believe-it Dept.: Walter Payton, after setting a record by gaining 100 yards or more in nine straight games, hasn't gained 100 yards since in four games.
In regular-season games against the New York Jets and Detroit Lions and playoff games against the New York Giants and Rams, the best he's done is 93 yards in 27 carries against the Giants. His worst was 32 yards in 18 carries against the Rams.
Overall, he's averaged 65 yards in 23 carries, a 2.8 average.
Who says you can't run against the Bears? In the 1985 opener, Tampa Bay's James Wilder gained 166 yards in 27 carries at Soldier Field. The Bears turned it around in the rematch at Tampa, however, limiting Wilder to 29 yards in 18 carries.
The Bears have scored four shutouts this season, two in the playoffs. The last time they had four shutouts was in 1942. That year, they went 11-0 in the regular season, outscoring opponents by an average score of 34-8.
They were overwhelming favorites in the title game against Washington, but Sammy Baugh led the Redskins to a 14-6 win. Baugh threw a touchdown pass and ended a Chicago threat with an end zone interception. Chicago's only score came on a 52-yard run with a recovered fumble by All-Pro tackle Lee Artoe.
Trivia Answer: False. In 1932, the Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans, later to become the Detroit Lions, played for the championship in Chicago Stadium. The game was scheduled for Wrigley Field, but it was forced indoors by snow and 30-below temperatures. The game was played on an 80-yard field, and the Bears won, 9-0. The only touchdown coming on a two-yard pass from Bronko Nagurski to Red Grange.
Steve McMichael of the Chicago Bears, on why he's avoiding Bourbon Street: "It's amateur night out there right now. I'll do my partying after. I've got five months."