The 1985Miami Dolphinsseason was the 20th season in franchise history. The club won their fourth consecutive AFC East championship and appeared in the AFC Championship Game.
Due to Dan Marino's offseason holdout, and an injury to receiver Mark Duper, the Dolphins were only 5–4 through Week Nine, and in third place in the AFC East, behind the 7–2 Jets and 6–3 Patriots. Their 220 points scored through Week Nine were fifth in the league, and 85 points fewer – 9.4 per game – than in 1984 at the same point in the season.
The Dolphins righted the ship, however, and won their final seven games, including a stunning upset of the then-undefeated Chicago Bears in a Week Thirteen Monday Night contest. (It would be Chicago's only loss of the season.) Miami won the division and defeated the AFC Central Champion Cleveland Browns 24–21 in their first playoff game. Their season would end, however, with a 31–14 home loss to division rival New England in the AFC Championship Game.
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.