I compiled these stats in 2006 when we were all wondering what on earth was going on with Good Rex / Bad Rex, so they don't include Orton's 2008 campaign. But you'll get my point: However bad you think our QB history is, it's actually worse.
Original post: Grossman in context, from Dec. 16, 2006.
For those of you who are fans of normal NFL teams, this may be difficult to understand, but... Rex Grossman of the Chicago Bears is having one of the best statistical years in franchise history.
I just looked at Bears records back to 1933, and here's what I found:
Only three Bears QBs have ever thrown for 3,000 or more yards in a season (Erik Kramer did it twice). Grossman has 2,628 so far and is on-pace to finish with more than 3,200 -- the second-highest yardage total in a season by any Bears QB (Top 4: 1995, Kramer, 3,838 yards; 1962, Bill Wade, 3,172; 1991, Jim Harbaugh, 3,121; 1997, Kramer, 3,011).
Last Sunday Grossman became the sixth Bears' QBs to throw for 20 touchdowns in a season (Sid Luckman did it twice). He's on pace to finish with 25, and if he stays on his per-game average he'll notch the third-best mark in team history (Top 7: 1995, Kramer, 29; 1943, Luckman, 28; 1947, Luckman, 24; 1949, Johnny Lujack, 23; 1961, Wade, 22; 2006, Grossman, 20; 1965, Rudy Bukich, 20).
More touchdowns than interceptions:
At the moment, Rex has thrown 20 TDs against 17 interceptions. This may seem like an odd thing to even consider, but Bears quarterbacks seldom throw more touchdowns than interceptions. Grossman has a 20-17 ratio this season, and while that isn't exactly stellar, it's pretty remarkable for this franchise.
In only 25 seasons since 1933 has the Bears' annual passing leader thrown more scores than picks. The average TD-to-INT production in those 25 rare seasons? 14-to-9. By way of comparison, that's basically the year Jim Miller had in 2002, notching 13 touchdowns against nine interceptions and 1,944 yards as the Bears stumbled to a 4-12 record.
OK, nobody likes throwing 17 interceptions, and let's face it: Rex is on pace to throw 20 of 'em. You'd think that a team this historically adverse to throwing the ball would rarely give the ball away that many times in a season, but again, you'd be wrong. Eleven Bears' annual passing leaders have done it a total of 12 times before 2006, and only one of those quarterbacks threw more touchdowns than interceptions that season (Lujack threw 23 touchdowns against 22 interceptions in 1949).
And this is kinda sad: Bears QBs have thrown 20 or more interceptions seven times. The Bears' record for touchdown passes in a season? Twenty-nine. The Bears' record for interceptions? Thirty-one (Luckman, 1947).
Look who isn't on these lists:
Jim McMahon is generally considered the second-best quarterback in franchise history (Luckman is the consensus pick for the best of the Bears' quarterbacks, and after that the discussion gets kinda pathetic), but if you look at him statistically, he's not all that impressive. The punky QB led the team in passing seven times but never passed for 3,000 yards (2,392) or 20 touchdowns (18) in a season.
Man, Chicago really isn't much of a quarterback town. Maybe the reason people keep jumping on Grossman's back this year is that they expect their quarterback to suck. Because Chicago quarterbacks almost always do.
Consider this: Grossman's current passer rating is a mediocre 74.5... which would still rank as the 26th-best annual passing-leader rating in team history. Between 1967 and 1982, the best passer rating posted by a Bears' annual passing leader was 69.7 (Mike Phipps, 1979). As lousy as that was, it looked positively stellar compared to the litany of failures that surrounded it (Jack Concannon, 1967-70, 49.8, 31.3, 49.5, 59.2; Bobby Douglass, 1971-73, 50.4, 57.1, 49.7; Gary Huff, 1974-75, 50.4, 57.1; Bob Avellini, 1976-78, 49.7, 61.7, 54.6; Vince Evans, 1980-81, 66.1, 51.0).
It's hard to believe, but even when you discard his 11-2 record as a starter this season, Grossman is having one of the best seasons in team history. If he continues to progress the way that he has since his return to the lineup last winter, Grossman could be on track to become the franchise's Top QB in multiple categories. Quickly. Because to be blunt about it, the bar has been set pretty low.
P.S. For the record, in his first full season as a starter with the Packers (1993), Brett Favre finished with 19 touchdowns, 24 interceptions, 3,303 yards and a passer rating of 72.2. Chew on that for a while, Bears fans.