I’m sure by now you’re all aware of the recent ESPN Insider article, The best and worst quarterback play of the Super Bowl era: Ranking all 32 NFL teams. It’s been referenced in our daily Den and it had some social media buzz surrounding it as well, so there should be no surprise when it’s revealed that the Chicago Bears checked in dead last in their rankings.
The three main categories they used to make their list was Overall Performance, Peak Performance and Continuity, and without any further detail it’s clear the Bears haven’t been very good in any on those areas.
The Bears have only appeared in two Super Bowls, and while that’s better than some teams, there has never been a stretch of time where they were a QB driven franchise. The Bears have never had a quarterback named an All-Pro during the Super Bowl era (1966-2019), and they have only had two Pro Bowl QBs during that time.
We can’t show you their full article since ESPN Insider is behind a paywall, but we will share their takes on the Bears.
Best QB: Jim McMahon. Because we’re ignoring the pre-Super Bowl era (sorry Sid Luckman), it’s McMahon, who helped lead the Bears to their only Super Bowl title and won an NFL record 25 straight starts from 1984 to ‘87 (including playoffs). He was ravaged by injuries with Chicago, starting 61 of 102 possible games (60%).
I know some fans will argue that Jay Cutler is the best QB in the Super Bowl era, but anyone that saw the Punky QB play will understand how good he was. McMahon had the “it factor” when he played, and he had a knack for making plays when the team needed him to. If Charles Martin never delivers the cheap-shot, the Bears go back to back in 1986 and who knows how McMahon’s injury history and legacy ends up.
Worst QB: Cade McNown. McNown (12th overall pick in 1999) was the Bears’ highest drafted quarterback since McMahon, but he won just 3 of 15 starts with Chicago. To make matters worse, Chicago traded back in the 1999 draft for him, while the Redskins took Hall of Famer Champ Bailey with the Bears’ original pick.
There’s no question that McNown is the worst ever. Sure there have been worse QBs to take snaps during the era for the Bears — Todd Collins, Jonathan Quinn, and Craig Krenzel to name a few — but none came with the hope that McNown brought to the franchise.
Remember ... Kordell Stewart? “Slash” had a cup of coffee with the Bears in 2003, his last career quarterback starts. There’s a reason they were his last starts at QB: He completed 50% of his passes and won only two of his seven starts in Chicago.
I remember being excited at the possibility of the Bears having a dual threat QB, but the Stewart the Bears got at 31-years old wasn’t the Stewart that took the NFL by storm with the Steelers.
Did you know? Here’s one reason the Bears finished last in the rankings. There are 126 instances of a player throwing 30 touchdown passes in a season, and 186 instances of a player with 4,000 passing yards in a season in NFL history. Yet no Bears player has done either. They are the only franchise never to have a 4,000-yard passer, despite having played 100 seasons. The stat is so mind-boggling, I had to extend it beyond the Super Bowl era.
Actually I did know, and you would have too if you read my article chronicling how poor Erik Kramer’s franchise passing records are in comparison with the rest of the league.
Clay’s 2020 projections for Nick Foles: 13 TD passes, 8 INTs, 2,626 passing yards and 144 fantasy points.
Another NFL expert predicting that Foles will get the bulk of the playing time at QB for the Bears in 2020, but if that’s the stat line he puts up then the Bears will be looking for a new QB in 2021.
Chicago's bleak QB situation during the Super Bowl era was broken down in more detail by ESPN’s Bears’ beat writer Jeff Dickerson in this article, Why the Chicago Bears have failed in solving their eternal quarterback quandary, and he received an assist from Don Pierson with these six categories, bad management, bad trades, bad drafts, bad coaching, bad luck and injuries.