Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game 16A

Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game #16A since 1979

Packers 14, Bears 13: November 5, 1989

This was the infamous “Instant Replay Game.”  For at least 10 years afterward, the Bears placed an asterisk next to the game in their media guide, calling it just that (THE instant replay game), and for this reason Bears management voted against the use of instant replay in games for many years after.

The Bears and Packers entered the game both tied with 5-4 records.  Green Bay hadn’t won a game against the Bears since 1984.  The Packers scored a touchdown first, and led the Bears 7-3 into the third quarter.  But the Bears chipped away at the lead, scoring two field goals and finally a touchdown on a Brad Muster rush to lead 13-7.

But as had, and would, happen so many times to the 1989 Bears, they let the Packers back into the game on a late drive.  With the final seconds ticking off the clock, on fourth down and fourteen yards to go, Packer quarterback Don Majkowski rolled to his right, taking all the time in the world, until he finally hit Sterling Sharpe with a 14-yard touchdown pass.  The Lambeau crowd went nuts, until the line judge threw a flag, indicating that the quarterback threw the pass from beyond the line of scrimmage.  But as happened in the early days of the instant replay system (1986-1991), the call was sent upstairs to the booth for review, and after almost seven minutes of deliberation, referees ruled that Majkowski was not over the line of scrimmage.  Green Bay kicked the extra point and won the game.

According to the Bears, they did not dispute where Majkowski’s foot was when he threw the pass, but where his arm and hand were when he released the ball.  The play continues to be debated by Bears and Packers fans to this day.

After the game, Bears kicker Kevin Butler recounted the scene in D’Amato and Christl’s Mudbaths and Bloodbaths: “[Packers fans] were literally rocking our bus, just beating on it.  They were letting out many, many years of frustration.  I thought they were going to tip our bus over.”

Unfortunately for Bears fans, Green Bay would embark on its own reign of terror over Chicago, a streak which would also prove to be broken on a bizarre play at Lambeau.

Leave a Reply