Mike Ditka and Walter Payton Running the Wildcat Formation

“Cards & Dice Man” posted this video in a thread on the Strat Fan Forum and it enthralled me for the next nine minutes and fifty-four seconds of my life.

The following video is from December 9, 1984. The Chicago Bears are at home, coached by Mike Ditka, and facing the Green Bay Packers.

Ditka’s Bears offense is running what we would call today the “Wildcat” formation, with Sweetness himself taking the snaps.

Though he was credited with a touchdown pass, Payton didn’t perform well as a “quarterback.” His passing line from the game: 4 ATT, 1 COMP, 2 YRDS, 1 TD, 1 INT. It’s worth noting, however, that the touchdown completion actually came on an option play when he was lined up as a halfback.

The Bears lost 20-14 to fall to 9-6 on the year (Green Bay’s win put them at 7-8).

The Press was not kind:

“He’s no quarterback,” Packers coach Forrest Gregg said. “Let’s face facts. He’s a hell of a running back. Let’s don’t disillusion ourselves on that one.”

Though no one would confuse Walter Payton with Dan Marino, when carrying the ball he ran like, well, like Walter Payton. Payton’s stats on the ground: 35 carries, 175 yards, 1 TD.

“Boring as it might look,” Ditka said, “the best thing we do is run the football.”

I don’t know what you thought of that clip, but, to me, watching Walter Payton take snaps from a shotgun formation in December, 1984 at Soldier FIeld is anything but boring.

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One Comment

  1. Just think; had this happened in our current media era, ESPN would have gotten 12, 14 hours out of that nine minutes and 54 seconds of video.

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