Now, this is one spicy take from Chicago Bears legend Dan Hampton:
— Pro Football HOF (@ProFootballHOF) July 8, 2017
Armed with an all-time great defense, an elite running back, and Hall of Fame players scattered throughout the roster, the Chicago Bears had a chance to be the team of the 1980s. The Super Bowl winning 1985 Chicago Bears make one of the most compelling arguments for being the greatest single-season team in NFL history, but the team’s inability to parlay all that was going well into multiple championships still lingers. Perhaps some stability at quarterback would have helped?
Here is the list of the 12 quarterbacks who started games for the Bears during Hampton’s career, which spanned from 1979-1990:
- Jim McMahon (61 starts)
- Vince Evans (32)
- Mike Tomczak (31)
- Jim Harbaugh (21)
- Mike Phelps (16)
- Steve Fuller (11)
- Bob Avellini (6)
- Mike Hohensee (2)
- Steve Bradley (1)
- Doug Flutie (1)
- Greg Landry (1)
- Rusty Lisch (1)
And if we narrow our search to focus on the post-Super Bowl XX stretch of Hampton’s career, the Bears started seven different quarterbacks, with Tomczak’s 31 starts leading the way. If we tighten our focus even more, more games were started by McMahon’s backups (26) than McMahon himself (21).
No wonder Hampton said: “If my team had Jay Cutler at QB we would have won four Super Bowls.”
First, it’s nice to hear someone put some respect on Cutler’s name. After all, he is atop the charts of many franchise passing categories. But also, maybe Hampton is onto something here, even if we’ll never be able to prove it. From 1986-89, McMahon made only 21 starts in 47 possible games in what were his age 27-29 seasons. And during his career with the Bears, McMahon never played more than 14 games. During Cutler’s age 27-29 seasons, he played in missed only eight games by comparison and played in at least 15 games five times in eight seasons. McMahon owned an 80.4 quarterback rating, a 4.4 TD% and 3.7 INT% during his Bears career, while Cutler posted an 85.2 rating, 4.7 TD% and 3.1 INT%.
It’s fair to point out that McMahon and Cutler were statistically similar players. Because of that, it would be hard to sway me to go against Hampton. Simply put, a healthy McMahon (or in Hampton’s eyes, a suitable replacement such as Cutler) would have likely led the Bears to championship glory at least one more time.
Whether it has been because of injury or poor performance, instability at quarterback has long plagued the Bears – even during its greatest era.
You’re up next, Mitch Trubisky – but after Mike Glennon has “his year” first.
- One player from the iconic 1985 Bears who isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is offensive lineman Jimbo Covert. And over at The Athletic, Dan Pompei presents the argument for Covert’s inclusion into the Hall. Covert played played 111 games at left tackle from 1983 to 1990, made two Pro Bowls, earned two first-team All Pro nominations, was a member of the 1983 NFL All-Rookie team, and selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-1980’s first team. Those are some pretty great accolades for a player excluded from the Hall. Hopefully, Covert gets his due sooner, rather than later because he looks very deserving of enshrinement.
- Gil Alcraz IV of NFL Spin Zone identifies five Bears players on the roster bubble heading into training camp. There are no players out of place on this list as Ka’Deem Carey, Kyle Fuller, Lamarr Houston, Zach Miller, and Mark Sanchez each will enter a positional battle in a crowded room this summer. Even though Miller is the most talented player of the bunch, Sanchez’s leadership as a backup quarterback in a young position room might give the Bears enough of a reason to keep him on the roster. Fuller is the wild card because he has a first-round pedigree, but the Bears added two starting corners in free agency and have a pair of young nickel corners who gained starting experience last season. The numbers game might phase him out of a job in Chicago.
- Your daily reminder of Jordan Howard’s awesomeness:
Jordan Howard did it all as a rookie pic.twitter.com/abu0S1c6zw
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 8, 2017
- Current Bears Charles Leno Jr. and Jerrell Freeman were among the celebrities who played in a wheelchair basketball game as part of the Department of Defense Warrior Games, which is an event that allows ill or injured veterans or armed service members to participate in multiple sports in an Olympic-style atmosphere.
- Over at CSN Chicago, Chris Boden takes a look at what the Detroit Lions need going into 2017. Detroit was a playoff team last season and was a win away from winning the NFC North outright, before losing to the Green Bay Packers at home in the season finale. And while the team has some pieces in place (namely quarterback Matthew Stafford) that could push the team toward making the postseason in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1994-95, the Lions seek balance on offense with their running game and an improved pass rush on the defensive side of the ball.
- Bucky Brooks draws a line in the sand in an attempt to separate who are the NFL’s true stars, and which players are “system guys.” It’s an interesting analysis of some of the NFL Network’s Top 100 players with a scouting eye.