Miami finished 12–4 in 1985 and, in an epic Monday Night Football showdown on December 2, 1985, handed the previously-undefeated Chicago Bears their only defeat of the season. Several members of the 1972 Dolphins were in attendance at the game.
After rallying from a 21–3 third quarter deficit in the divisional playoffs to beat the Cleveland Browns 24–21, many people were looking forward to a rematch with Chicago in Super Bowl XX. The Cinderella New England Patriots, the Dolphins' opponents in the AFC Championship, had different plans. New England forced six turnovers on the way to a 31–14 win – the Patriots' first in Miami since 1966. The Patriots had lost 18 games in a row at the Orange Bowl. In 1969, the Boston Patriots had beaten the Dolphins at Tampa Stadium.