It’s no secret the Chicago Bears have struggled to get the quarterback position right for decades. The Bears have become synonymous with great defenses wasted by mediocre-to-terrible quarterback play over the years, and now, a new article courtesy of ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson breaks down why Chicago has found themselves stuck in the NFL’s worst quarterback quandary.
Dickerson notes that after taking Mitchell Trubisky second overall in 2017 and trading for Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, the Bears are still heading into the 2020 season with questions about the quarterback position flashing like an alarm clock after a power interruption. If neither Trubisky nor Foles breaks out in a big way, the Bears will have to start over at the position. Again. And based on their history managing QBs in the Super Bowl Era, that’s a scary proposition for fans to think about.
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Bears Are Dead Last in QB Play in Super Bowl Era
Dickerson brought some pretty damning statistics to light, including the team’s sheer lack of production at the position, as well as the eyebrow-raising number of players who have started for the Bears at quarterback over the last several decades.
“According to ESPN.com’s own Quarterback Index, the Bears rank last in the Super Bowl era in terms of QB production (48.3 out of a 100 point scale). During that time, the Bears have started a total of 50 quarterbacks, per ESPN Stats & Information research, the most of any NFL team in that span. The highest NFL passer rating for a Chicago quarterback over that span (minimum five appearances) belongs to Josh McCown, who played in just 11 games for the Bears from 2011 to ’13. The lowest-rated passer during that time was Henry Burris, who appeared in six games for the Bears in 2002, starting only once and posting a 28.2 passer rating,” Dickerson wrote.
Dickerson then quotes Bears historian Don Pearson, who noted that Chicago’s poor quarterback play over the years can be attributed to six factors: “bad management, bad trades, bad drafts, bad coaching, bad luck and injuries.”
There’s a great deal of truth there. The team’s only Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Jim McMahon, saw his career derailed by what has been called one of the dirtiest hits in NFL history when Green Bay Packers defender Charles Martin slammed him to the turf him well after the play was over. McMahon was never the same after that.
Trades for QBs like Rick Mirer and Jay Cutler never resulted in franchise success or Super Bowl appearances, and the team’s coaching has been a rollercoaster ride at best.
There have also been a few too many journeymen who have done nothing for the team. “For the Bears, amid the intermittent high draft picks spent on quarterbacks, it has been a constant parade of has-beens, reclamation projects or dice rolls since 1966,” Dickerson wrote. “For every Erik Kramer — who set the Bears’ single-season record for passing yards (3,838) and touchdown passes (29) in 1997 — they’ve hit on, there’s a Chad Hutchinson, Jimmy Clausen, Dave Krieg or Chris Chandler. Brian Griese, anyone?”
Dickerson did not dwell on current Bears’ GM Ryan Pace’s decision to draft Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, but he didn’t ignore it either — how could he? Still, that decision was only the most recent in a series of head-scratchers since the 1960s that has left the team in a state of perennial discord at the position.