Longtime NFL fans are quick to call 1993’s Bills-Oilers game, in which Buffalo rallied from 28-3 at halftime to force overtime and beat the Houston 41-38, the best comeback in history. It is nicknamed “The Comeback” after all. While it was certainly great, it’s not the best or even the most interesting comeback of all-time. Not at all. That game was a simple, Hollywood tale – one offense scored more points than the other offense. There were defensive stops and onside kick recoveries, but that game was an Old West shootout. We can wrap our head around it.
The October 16, 2006 Bears-Cardinals Monday Night Football comeback was Johnny Knoxville starring in a David Lynch movie. Ten years later, the only thing that makes sense is Dennis Green’s post-game meltdown.
The Bears are what we thought they were. They’re what we thought they were. We played them in preseason. I mean, who the hell takes the third game of the preseason like it’s bullshit? Bullshit! We played them in the third game, everybody played three quarters. The Bears are who we thought they were! That’s why we took the damn field! Now, if you want to crown them, then crown their ass! But, they are who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook!
This is what happens when you play the perfect game, take the ball away six times and have 40 minutes of possession, only to give up a third quarter 23-3 lead via two defensive TDs, a Devin Hester punt return for a touchdown, and a shanked field goal. And *cough* the Bears didn’t need overtime to get it done, either. Ten years later, the rant after the Meltdown in The Desert showed up on every list imaginable:
No one’s holding the rant against Green, blowing that game in the fashion they blew it would send any man over the edge, and we all got to see it happen in real-time. It became a meme, and one of the first YouTube viral hits. The rant’s reach was undeniable — when you have a random guy doing a bad Space Ghost impression doing a bad Dennis Green impression, you know you’ve tapped into something beyond self-loathing.
Of course, there was a techno remix. A viral video from the mid-aughts could not exist if it didn’t have a techno remix to balance the universe:
Even the old FOX crew made fun of the meltdown.
The rant made the No. 1 spot on ESPN’s Top 10 Post Game Tirades:
But don’t feel bad for Green, he found a positive in it all, “My doctor was very happy. He called me, and said: ‘You know what? That kind of game, with (me) blowing up like that was a very good stress reliever,’ and my wife agreed.” Green embraced the ridiculousness of it all and realized it was a historical moment. Even Red Zone revisits the rant whenever the Bears and Cardinals play each other. The love for Dennis Green’s blow-up is heartfelt, even for those on the losing end of the game.
Beyond YouTube and NFL broadcasts, the tirade would go mainstream and become a national Coors commercial which would cement its legend further.
Green was a good sport about the national spot, telling ESPN in 2007 that he thought it was funny and he had moved on. “First of all, it had healed, and you move one. Everything that you do, it’s part of who you are.” It truly did become part of Green’s persona. It was his trademark, and not only overshadows his team blowing the game but the Bears comeback. When Green passed in 2016, the rant was right alongside his greatest coaching moments and heartfelt remembrances of Green the man, and he welcomed the jokes and memes, partaking in callbacks himself.
Ten years later, we may not remember the comeback or the game itself, but we’ll always remember the meltdown, and we’ll remember when Green’s Cardinals LET ‘EM OFF THE HOOK.