When former NFL quarterback Blake Bortles retired (read: just ran out of teams that were willing to sign him) earlier this month, he was pervasively referred to as a “legend” in the mainstream sports media. He’s not a legend, because words have meaning, but he did have one absolutely phenomenal season, in which he threw 35 touchdown passes. Had he been a member of the Chicago Bears, and not the Jacksonville Jaguars during that season, he would have indeed been “a legend.”
That’s because no Chicago Bears QB has ever tossed 35 TDs in a single season. Or even 30 for that matter. Or even thrown for 4,000 yards in the same campaign. Yes, the history of the Chicago Bears, from a quarterbacking perspective, is indeed as you bad as you have heard. Actually, no, it’s a lot worse.
That’s kind of the Chicago Bears franchise story, at least in the modern era of NFL football, in a nut shell right there. And that’s why they often find themselves to be the underdogs. According to the odds at Betway, Bears are +4, or +170 on the money line this weekend, at home to the Miami Dolphins.
Until the Bears finally develop a true consistent vertical passing game, they will continue to find themselves less often the favorite, and more often the underdog.
The league rules have changed to facilitate passing, and the club still can’t ever find a way to do it right.
I cannot stress this enough, the NFL has made it absolutely clear that they want teams to pass the ball as much as possible, and the Monsters of the Midway persistently remain a pathetic joke in this department.
Justin Fields has put up some awful numbers this season, but it is not all his fault.
The Bears need to provide him some better pieces to work with.
And he certainly won’t have to do a whole lot to etch his name into the Chicago Bears QB records book. The bar is very low and we’ll highlight/detail that here. We start with a guy who has as many NFC title game victories as Aaron Rodgers.
It’s rather scary how Rex Grossman basically rewrote a lot of the Chicago Bears passing record book, until Jay Cutler then came along and rewrote it again. Neither of these guys were actually “good,” let alone “elite.” Sexy Rexy had a phenomenal first half of a season, in ’06 and that was enough to place him second, all-time for single season passing yards (Although today it only ranks seventh). Despite the second half of that season being totally awful for Grossman, it is still a top ten, all-time, in all major statistical categories, to this day.
What does that say about your franchise? When we’re referring to a campaign that included a Bluto Blutarsky 0.0 passer rating on New Year’s Eve, at home versus the Green Bay Packers. Grossman, who actually seemed like a pretty nice guy when I interviewed him, is still top 15 all-time, in Chicago Bears history, in completions, passing yardage and TD passes.
The franchise’s all-time leading passer, I refuse to acknowledge the idea that he’s the best quarterback is Bears history (that’s still Sid Luckman). However, I will die on the hill that he’s the best passer in franchise history. He may be an anti-vaxxer, MAGAhead right-winger extremist, who made horrible decisions on the field, and had zero leadership skills in the locker room, but he’s still the best passing QB in franchise history and it’s not even close. In addition to passing yards, he’s also the Bears all-time leader in TD passes, completions, attempts and completion percentage.
Some of these categories, he leads by a very wide margin. While he was extremely interception prone, and polarizing among the fans (the word “polarizing” is doing a lot of heavy lifting there), no one slang the rock in navy blue and burnt orange like #CuttyDoesit.
Sad but true.
His 2018 stats aren’t really that impressive but it’s one of the five greatest quarterbacking seasons in Chicago Bears history, and that speaks volumes about the sad history of this franchise’s signal callers. Like Grossman and Cutler, almost every Chicago Bears fan will tell you that he wasn’t good. Yet he still registers here on this list!
And honestly, his 2018 numbers are totally inflated by the one game in which he tossed six TD passes, so even that isn’t as legit as it seems.
Immortally beloved because he was QB1 of the 1985 team, a squad that will never ever ever go away, even long after we’re all dead, none of his single season numbers even really register. He is however, top five career wise in most, if not all the major statistics.
What does it say about the McCaskeys and how they run their franchise, that a game-manager is still considered a franchise Mt. Rushmore QB. He was a colorful guy, and he won games, but in terms of a pure passer he always was and always will be overrated.
His 1995 season (29 TD passes, 3,838 yards) is still the best in franchise history, by both metrics. His 1.9% interception percentage that year is very impressive too. Yes, it wasn’t until ’95 that the Chicago Bears developed a modern passing game, and it was Ron Turner of all people who made that happen. And here we are, more than a quarter century later, and his records still stand. Unreal.
He is the team’s all-time best QB because he was productive, efficient and he won titles. His threw 28 TD passes in 1943, meaning his club record stood for over a half-century! Speaks volumes about this sorry franchise’s pathetic history at this position.
We’re still talking about a guy from WWII when it comes to passing records?! Seriously? Well, enough said on all this then.
Paul M. Banks is the Owner/Manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”