If you want a surefire way to annoy Chicago Bears fans, all you need to do is suggest that another team’s defense is superior to the one that the 1985 Bears put on the field.
Enter Michael Bennett, brother of Bears tight end Martellus Bennett and defensive end for the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. After an emphatic 35-6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night, Bennett boldly asserted that his team was superior to the one that Buddy Ryan assembled and brought to a title in the 1985 season:
“We’re the best defense to ever play football. So when we play the way we play, the way we’re capable of playing, whatever [Ryan Lindley] did didn’t really matter. What we line up and play the way we are capable of playing, I don’t think anybody can play with us.”
If the Seahawks’ excellent performance against Arizona doesn’t convince you that Bennett may have a point, consider the numbers that they’re putting up. They’re allowing just 16.5 points per game this season, best in the NFL. Behind the exploits of players like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, they’re allowing just 184.5 yards per game through the air, the best in a pass-happy league. They are also allowing 84.1 yards per game on the ground, which is third in the NFL.
268.6 yards per game is an excellent number, and it’s right up there with the best defenses in history. The 1985 Bears allowed a total of 258.4 yards per game (176 yards per game through the air, 82.4 on the ground). The 2000 Baltimore Ravens allowed just 247.9 yards per game total, allowing a preposterous 60.6 yards per game on the ground and only 10.3 points per game to their opponents.
While there isn’t a defined winner among the three teams, Bennett’s comments do open an interesting debate. Are the modern Seahawks the best defense in NFL history? There is certainly an argument that they are, but there is one thing they can do to really push their candidacy over the top: win a second consecutive Super Bowl.