Editor: This article was originally published on May 10, 2011.
The off season is a great time to look back into the rich history of the Chicago Bears. In this semi regular series (meaning when ever I feel like writing one) I’ll take a look at some truly great individual seasons by a few legendary Bears. The Bears have more Hall Of Fame players than any other franchise, and they have more retired numbers than any other team in the NFL, so finding qualified candidates for these posts will be a snap. Kicking off the series is a guy that only started three of the teams eleven regular games in the 1943 season, but he had an impact on both sides of the ball. Sid Luckman’s incredible 1943 season saw him named the League MVP.
Luckman won the Joe F. Carr trophy which was given to the league MVP from 1938-1946. He also led the Bears to the NFL Championship when they defeated the Washington Redskins 41-21. Luckman capped off his incredible season with one of the greatest statistical games ever played in NFL history. In the title game Luckman intercepted two passes while playing defensive back, returning them for 39 combined yards. On special teams he returned 2 punts for 32 yards. He accounted for 64 yards in just 8 attempts on the ground, but passing the ball he completed 15 of 26 attempts for 286 yards, with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. Not too shabby...
As incredible as that stat line was, in week eight he went 21 of 32 for 433 yards and 7 TD passes in leading the Bears to a 56-7 whipping of the New York Giants.
His 1943 QB rating of 107.5 is the best single season mark in team history and his 28 TD passes (in only 202 attempts) is 2nd all time. His 1943 TD percentage of 13.9% is the highest in the history of the NFL as is his 10.9 yards per passing attempt. The Bears went 8-1-1 in 1943 and led the league in total offense, passing offense, and scoring.
In 1943 Sid Luckman completed 110 passes in 202 attempts for 2194 yards with those 28 tuddys to 12 picks. And on defense he intercepted 4 passes. Did I mention he was the teams primary punter too. He booted 34 punts for a 39.5 average. He only rushed for 1 TD in 22 attempts for -40 yards (this may ave been a time when sacks were subtracted from rushing yards), but that title game's rushing performance made up for that.
When the 1943 season ended, Luckman enlisted into the United States Merchant Marine, and the rest is history.
Seventy five years ago, #Bears great Sid Luckman was one of the over 70,000 American troops that landed on the beach at Normandy on June 6, 1944. In all, 19 players from the 1943 NFL Championship team, as well as George Halas, served in the military that year. pic.twitter.com/vxEDtmkG6J— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) June 6, 2019