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Bears Win in the American Bowl in London

Football On This Day

On this day, in 1982 the American Bowl was played at Wembley Stadium, London between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys, Bears won 17-6.


  August 3, 1986

Sport: Football


The Chicago Bears met the Dallas Cowboys in the inaugural American Bowl, held at Wembley Stadium in London on Aug. 3, 1986. While NFL highlights were shown on television in Great Britain starting in 1982, the game was the first chance fans of the league had to see the sport played on British soil. 

A sellout crowd of more than 86,000 packed the open-air stadium to watch two of the league’s most storied franchises play, and the game had a uniquely English twist: It was held in a torrential downpour. The poor weather, and the fact it was an early preseason game, resulted in both teams turning in lackluster performances en route to a 17-6 Chicago victory. 

Bears stars Jim McMahon (quarterback) and Walter Payton (running back) made brief appearances, and teammate Dave Duerson scored the game’s first touchdown on a fumble recovery. Later, Chicago’s William “The Refrigerator” Perry charged into the end zone from the 1-yard line to increase the team’s lead. Dallas managed only two field goals in a performance under longtime head coach Tom Landry that proved prophetic. The 1986-87 season was the first of three consecutive in which the Cowboys finished with sub-.500 records, ultimately leading to Landry’s firing in 1988. 

Pro Football HOF, Football in the UK 1986 American Bowl


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