When you think about franchises that have had bad luck at quarterback, most of them come from the NFC North outside of the Green Bay Packers. More than any other franchise, though, it seems to be the Chicago Bears, who have been searching for their franchise signal caller since the retirement of Sid Luckman in the late 1950s.
With Luckman being the obvious top quarterback in franchise history, who makes up the rest of the top five quarterbacks in Bears’ history? Let’s take a look at the list.
5. Ed Brown
A lot of the younger people may not have heard of Ed Brown, and even some of the older crowd probably doesn’t think of Brown in terms of all-time greats. However, Brown was the quarterback and punter for the Chicago Bears for several years after being drafted by the team out of the University of San Francisco in 1952.
Brown didn’t begin his NFL career until he was 26 years old, and it wasn’t until his second season that he was made the team’s starter. Brown played for eight total seasons, finishing with a record of 39-25-2. During that time, he threw for 9,698 yards, 63 touchdowns, and 88 interceptions. The two-time Pro Bowl selection also added 841 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
4. Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh is one of those people that has had such a long coaching career that many people forget that he was actually a player. The man that has been a head coach for Stanford, the San Francisco 49ers, and the University of Michigan had a long career as a quarterback, with his first and longest stop being with the Bears after he was a first-round pick in 1987 out of Michigan.
It took some time for Harbaugh to make it onto the field as he backed up Jim McMahon at the beginning of his career, and he was handed the reigns full-time in 1990, going 10-4 in his first season as a starter. Overall, Harbaugh won 35 of his 65 starts in a Bears uniform and threw for 11,567 yards, 50 touchdowns, and 56 interceptions.
3. Jay Cutler
The Bears have had some rotten luck at quarterback since the start of the 1990s and were able to finally get some stability to start off the 2010s when the team acquired Jay Cutler. Cutler was a former first-round selection out of Vanderbilt for the Denver Broncos and was traded to the Bears before the 2009 season for Kyle Orton and several draft picks.
Cutler didn’t make the Pro Bowl while with the Bears and didn’t have a winning record (51-51), but he gave the Bears a quarterback that was capable of winning them games for the first time in a long time. Cutler finished his Bears career with over 23,000 passing yards, 154 touchdowns and 109 interceptions.
2. Jim McMahon
The 1980s were one of the best decades in Chicago Bears’ history, and it wasn’t just because of the strong defense. The team also had great quarterback play from Jim McMahon, with the Bears drafting McMahon out of BYU with the fifth overall selection in 1982. McMahon remained with the team through the 1988 season, and it may have been longer had it not been for a shoulder injury and regime change in Chicago.
Interestingly enough, McMahon was only named to one Pro Bowl team during his time with the Bears, but he fit right in with what the franchise needed at the time. McMahon won 46 of his 61 games as a starting quarterback in Chicago, throwing for 67 touchdowns and 46 interceptions.
1. Sid Luckman
When it comes to Chicago Bears quarterbacks, there’s only one full-time QB that has been enshrined as a member of the Bears in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That quarterback is Sid Luckman, who was the second overall pick out of Columbia in 1939. Luckman played with the Bears from 1939 to 1950 and then became the quarterbacks coach from 1954 to 1969.
Luckman won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1943 and was an All-Pro selection in six seasons. Luckman’s ability to run the T-formation offense helped the Bears win four NFL Championships between 1940 and 1946, and the Bears have been trying to find their next Sid Luckman since his retirement.