Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace traded up in the 2017 NFL Draft for the right to select Mitch Trubisky, because there’s a belief he can be the quarterback who leads the team to its next Super Bowl title.
Mike Ditka is the only head coach in franchise history to win The Big Game, so it’s worth listening when he says he sees similarities between Trubisky and the only quarterback to win a Super Bowl for the Bears.
“I was with the guy who played quarterback for us last night, Jim McMahon, he wasn’t the most talented guy in the world but he knew how to play the position,” Ditka told NBC Sports Chicago. “He wanted to win. I think that’s the way Mitch is, but I think is a very, very talented guy.”
While having The Will To Win™️ is an important trait for a quarterback, let’s not short-change McMahon’s talent. The Bears chose McMahon with the fifth overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft, and was the second quarterback to come off the board (seriously, what did Art Schlichter do anyway?). McMahon but was arguably the most talented player at his position, especially if you consider he finished his career as a two-time All-American and the 1981 Davey O’Brien Award winner.
Trubisky didn’t have the college experience, accolades, or credentials McMahon had when he was drafted. But third-team All-ACC honors behind Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and two-time Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson is nothing to sneeze at if you really think about the talent, depth, and competition at the position in that conference.
What Trubisky might have over McMahon is pure skill. Trubisky has high-end arm talent, notable athleticism, and tremendous upside that is easy to dream on. But as we have learned the hard way over the years, talent without leadership skills often tends to lead to wasted seasons. Trubisky earned the respect of his teammates on offense and defense as a rookie, and has caught the eyes of new teammates (and old ones, too) with how he has handled himself in the huddle. Clearly, this is something Ditka has caught on to while watching from afar.
“I like Mitch a lot, I really do. I think he is a good leader and has a lot of talent,” Ditka said. “I know he has heart and I think that’s the main thing.”
Having talent and the drive to use it could make for a championship-caliber combination in Chicago sometime in the near future. And if it all clicks under Matt Nagy, Trubisky could one day join McMahon as Super Bowl winning Bears quarterbacks.