24th Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game since 1979
Bears 61, Packers 7: December 7, 1980
Pearl Harbor day in Chicago broke as warm and balmy, with a gametime temperature of 56 degrees. As a pregame ceremony commemorated the 1941 attack that led to America’s entry into the Second World War, no one knew of the perfect storm brewing on the field.
Ironically in a game that would feature 68 points scored, neither team registered a point in the opening period. The Bear onslaught started in the second, when they scored three rushing touchdowns. Green Bay tightened the score on a touchdown pass from Lynn Dickey to James Lofton, but it was all Bears after that. The next three Chicago touchdowns, notched in the third quarter, would be passes from quarterback Vince Evans, who would finish the day with 316 yards through the air. Walter Payton would score three touchdowns and rush for 130 yards on 22 carries.
If not for kicker Bob Thomas missing two extra points, the Bears would have set their record for most points scored in a regular season game with 63. Instead they tied their record with 61.
Much controversey swirled around the game both on that day and well into the future. According to Mudbaths and Bloodbaths by D’Amato and Christl, Packer coach Bart Starr refused to shake Bear coach Neill Armstrong’s hand after the game. According to the book, Starr wasn’t angry that Mike Phipps kept throwing the ball or that Walter Payton re-entered the game after it was out of hand, but because Buddy Ryan and his defense continued to blitz young Packer quarterback David Whitehurst. “That was the way we played,” Ryan said.
Also covered in the book was that the Bears were stealing Green Bay’s offensive signals. According to Bear personnel man Bill Tobin, the Bears had figured the signals out, and the information was relayed to Ryan on the sidelines, then to the players. Ryan and safety Gary Fencik downplayed the significance of the stolen signals, while Tobin insisted that it helped.
In the end, Chicago defensive lineman Dan Hampton summed up the day and his feeling for the Packers when he said “We wanted to score 100 points. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of pr*cks.”