Being a Chicago Bears quarterback is not easy. Apparently it’s the hardest thing to do in professional football. This organization has had fewer success stories at the position in the past 50 years than any other in existence. Every time they try to make a strong push to get it right, something seems to go wrong. People can’t figure out. Is it athleticism? Intelligence? Toughness? It can’t be. Several QBs who came and went had those things. Yet they couldn’t lift the position out of the mud.
Mitch Trubisky is now the latest to try. While his tenure is not a failure yet, it does seem to be floundering. Inconsistencies that plagued him since his rookie year remain unresolved. For every great play he makes, there are a couple one of his experience should never make. The Bears haven’t lost their faith in him and that’s good. It means he still has a grip on them as a leader. Still, at some point, he has to start pulling his weight every week. That’s why they drafted him.
There are people out there though who think he’s not the answer. It is his third year in the league and second in a modern offense. He should be playing better. Not necessarily great but better. People are out of patience. They just don’t know what must be done in order to finally get this thing fixed. So what is it? Is there anything that makes for the type of quarterback who’s had success in this city? Or is it all random?
Chicago Bears quarterbacks tend to have extra attitude
When most people think about the best quarterbacks in Bears history, two names stand above the rest. Sid Luckman, their only Hall of Famer, and Jim McMahon, the leader of the fabled 1985 Super Bowl champions. While their numbers weren’t always elite, they won a ton of football games and always seemed to have success when called upon. Even Jay Cutler achieved heights in Chicago few have. Granted, it came and went a little too often but it was there.
So how did those guys manage to navigate the treacherous waters of Chicago while others drowned? Talent was part of it. However, one thing that stood out about them was their attitude. These were men who went by their own beats. They weren’t loyal soldiers who did everything they were told. Authority didn’t affect them like it would most others.
Sid Luckman – Son of a murderer
People think Luckman was this happy-go-lucky kid from Brooklyn. In truth, he was the son of a man who was in league with organized crime. An actual killer. Not only that, but the quarterback initially didn’t plan to play pro football. He aimed to join his father’s trucking business. The same one that was later revealed to have deep connections to the mob. Only once George Halas made a strong financial offer did Luckman agree to join the Bears. This guy grew up in the shadow of murderers. Why would playing a game intimidate him?
Jim McMahon – Lifelong rebel
California kids are a different breed. McMahon attended BYU and routinely had people monitoring him for violations of the school’s honor code. He admitted later he broke the rules a lot and wasn’t asked to leave until after his final season of football was over. When he arrived in Chicago, he had a beer in his hand when meeting the press. He constantly defied head coach Mike Ditka on the field and read a Hustler magazine while the coach tried to discuss the playbook. Nobody was going to tell him what to do if he thought it was stupid.
Jay Cutler – The tough gunslinger
Cutler had some McMahon attributes as well. He chaffed whenever he felt he was getting coaching he hated. He told Mike Martz off on national TV. His disconnect with Marc Trestman imploded the entire team. Cutler was a pain in the ass but he was tough and never afraid to take risks. A lot of times that led to some painful turnovers, but when he was feeling it he could deliver some incredible performances. His game against Seattle in the playoffs was easily the best a Bears QB has ever had.
It’s not that these guys had to be the most gifted players in history. None of them were. Their secrets lay in their mentalities. They carried a certain self-confidence and swagger that a city like Chicago can appreciate. The stage wasn’t too big. That is what sets them apart from all the others. They didn’t concern themselves with the minor details. They went out and played hard. They didn’t fear making mistakes because mistakes were inevitable. They were about making plays, and they did. A lot.