I wasn’t expecting each of our guys to give a different answer to this question, and I certainly wasn’t expecting this list to be so QB-centric, but here’s how we responded to this one.
Who is your all-time favorite non-Chicago Bears player?
Bill Zimmerman - John Elway. Nobody before or since had the arm strength of Elway. The velocity he could put on a football was remarkable. His abilities with the game on the line in the 4th quarter were as good as Joe Montana or Tom Brady. He had a bad rap for most of his career for losing his first three Super Bowls, but those were teams that Elway elevated to that point and they were just outmatched. It’s no surprise that when Elway finally had some level of talent around him like Shannon Sharpe and Terrell Davis, that he won back-to-back Super Bowls. The only team to win back-to-back in the nearly 25 years since are Brady, Belichick and the Patriots.
Will Robinson - For me, it’s gotta be Donavan McNabb. I actually got to see him play when I was a kid and he was at Mt. Carmel, and I was blown away. Followed him from that day forward. Loved his play style. REALLY wanted the Bears to draft him, but without a massive trade-up, it wasn’t going to happen... they got Cade McNown instead. And the rest, is incredibly depressing history.
Robert Zeglinski - I’m a sucker for quarterbacks. As much as there are deeper nuances to football that often dictate a passer’s success, regardless of their individual talent, this is a game infinitely more interesting with good quarterback play and the stories surrounding them. Everything else is ancillary and far less compelling by my account. Now I know there’s a heavy hint of recency bias in this pick, considering he’s only played a few seasons, but Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback I’ve ever seen. Bar none. Case closed. He might not necessarily be the greatest of all time when all is said and done, but that doesn’t matter. That’s a conversation for someone else to have. At this stage, he is unquestionably the most talented quarterback to ever play. He has fully mastered the craft and may as well have been chiseled out specifically to throw 60-yard bombs effortlessly five months out of the calendar year — whether he’s on platform or not.
Mahomes is the kind of appointment viewing that necessitates you clearing out your schedule for his brilliance, rather than fitting him into your established routine. He is what football should be at its very, very best: Unconventional, surgical, and downright breathtaking.
Alex Obringer - This may be a unpopular opinion, but one of my favorite players is Tom Brady. He’s easily one of the most dominant athletes I have ever seen play a professional sport, and he is definitely the best winner as well. I understand most people are sick of Brady winning Super Bowl after Super Bowl, but I just respect the hell out of him. It’s incredibly impressive that he left the Patriots for the Buccaneers and won a Super Bowl in his FIRST SEASON! That’s just absolutely incredible.
Sam Householder - This is a little tough for me, I enjoy the NFL very, very much and there is very rarely a game I won’t turn on and find a player or storyline that can keep my interest. I love watching Larry Fitzgerald, and he is right up there for me, but I think my most favorite non-Bears player is Russell Wilson. I think he’s super likeable and fun as a player, even if his personality is a bit wooden. He’s exciting and I think he’s finally getting the national recognition that he should’ve had several years ago.
Jack Salo - Kurt Warner. I lived in Arizona when he brought the Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance (kinder word for loss), and the man had a special energy about him. His story is what every undrafted quarterback should study. He put in the work, got experience from a few lower-caliber football leagues, won a starting job in the NFL, and got a ring with a Super Bowl MVP at the summit. If there’s a MIOAT (Most-Improved-Of-All-Time) then it has to be Warner.
Ken Mitchell - I’ve got several who I’ve greatly admired over the years... Bo Jackson was off-the-charts, Dan Fouts had as pretty of a pass as you could ever see... Dan Marino and that quick release, Jim Hart the statue assassin... more modern we have Larry Fitzgerald and Tony Gonzalez...
Overall, though, my favorite has to be Joe Montana... he wasn’t the most talented player in the world, but he made absolutely the most out of every scrap of talent that he had, and the man has ice water flowing through his veins.
Jacob Infante - I’m not sure who my all-time favorite non-Bears player is, but in terms of players in the NFL right now, I love watching Kyler Murray play. Not only is he an incredible athlete for the quarterback position with elite dual-threat ability, but he has a fantastic arm, as well. He is able to deliver incredible throws off-platform with ease, putting his baseball background to good use. He’s just so much fun to watch, and I have high hopes for his NFL future.
Jeff Berckes - LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chargers have been my “AFC Team” for a long time and Tomlinson is a big part of why. I think he’s the best RB since Barry hung ‘em up.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter - Troy Polomalu. He was never the most gifted athlete. And it never mattered. His intelligence, relentlessness, toughness, and leadership led the Steelers defense for many years. Receivers feared going over the middle while Troy sat in his island. For what Troy lacked in speed, he compensated with legendary instincts, and timed up his hits better than most safeties I’ve ever seen play in person. His gamesmanship had always set the standard for others to follow. Truly, a one of a kind player that made the Underwear Olympics (combine) irrelevant in evaluating real football players.
Josh Sunderbruch - There are so many great players in league history, and for a long time my favorite non-Bear was Khalil Mack. My second choice has to be Bob Sanders. Not only is he an Iowa product, but he was just electric. Injury prone? Sure. But when he was out there, he changed the shape of that defense.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. - I’ve always had an affinity for scrambling quarterbacks, and I was a big Randall Cunningham fan back in the day. He was the first QB that I remember watching that could win games with his feet as much as his arm.
A few other historic players I have really liked watching through the years that never played in Chicago are Herschel Walker, Deion Sanders, Joe Thomas, and Anthony Munoz, and a few that I like that are still currently playing are Russell Wilson, Aaron Donald, George Kittle, Richard Sherman, and Quenton Nelson.
Now it’s your turn.
Give us your favorite all-time non-Chicago Bears player.