1995 is a seasonal beacon for the Chicago Bears organization. It is the oasis in the desert of poor quarterback play, with Erik Kramer delivering the best positional performance in franchise history. They won three straight games in October, scoring 31, 30 and 35 points. (They would lose two later scoring 34 and 28.) They finished 9-7, missed the playoffs, and wouldn’t record another winning season until the ridiculous, fluky magic of 2001.
What does this game have?
- One of Curtis Conway’s finest afternoons with the Bears. I put this game right up there with Marty Booker’s 2001 performance against the Bucs and Brandon Marshall’s 2012 game in Tennessee. (I’m probably forgetting a few.)
- Rookie Rashaan Salaam. I remember being at Gunnell Oval in Kearny, NJ – dressed in my Kearny Florist Little League pinstripes – high fiving John Cali when we found out the Bears took Salaam. (The tragic fall of Salaam was detailed in this terrifically sad piece by Tim Rohan for SI.)
- What amazes me about NFL highlights from the 90s is just how slow the game looks. There is no way Mark Brunell would be as productive in this current NFL with that arm. The delivery takes forever and the balls travels through the air in slow motion.
- Where did I watch this game, you ask? There used to be a bar in Rutherford, NJ called the Jersey Sports Cafe and it was owned by a family friend. The guy was a huge Cubs fan so he had a satellite the size of a Buick on his roof pulling in the Chicago TV feed. From the ages of about 12 to 15, my dad would take me here and let me watch the Bears play. I was not legally allowed to sit at the physical bar so we took a a barstool and slid it about 3 feet away. Was it a great viewing experience? No. Was it my only option? Yep.