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5 Most Overrated Chicago Bears in Franchise History

Ben PhillisContributor IIIMay 7, 2013

5 Most Overrated Chicago Bears in Franchise History

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    In the entire history of the Chicago Bears, a quarterback stands atop the list of most overrated players.

    Underneath him are a defensive lineman, an offensive lineman, a linebacker, and a wide receiver.

    Since a universal criteria for “most overrated” is nearly impossible to create, this list is highly subjective.

    Bears fans will not all agree on the value of a player during or after his career, but many people view the following players as better than their performances actually were.

5. Bernard Berrian, WR

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    (Dis)honorable mention: Willie Gault

    Both speedy receivers considered for this spot had decent careers in Chicago before leaving the Bears. Fans worried that Berrian and Gault would be missed, but neither cracked the 1,000 yard receiving mark in the NFL.

    Gault misses the list because he had a longer and more productive career.

    Bernard Berrian had the second-most regular season receiving yards for the 2006 Chicago Bears, eventual Super Bowl XLI losers. He followed up that performance with 951 yards in 2007.

    Many fans felt that Berrian was a very good wideout who would be the cornerstone of the receiving corps for years. He was only 27 after that 2007 season.

    Berrian had one good year with the Minnesota Vikings (964 yards in 2008), but he was a one-trick pony. His production declined every year until the Vikings finally cut him in 2011 (via ESPN).

    Berrian was later replaced by fellow speedster Johnny Knox. He turned out to be greatly overrated both in Chicago and Minnesota.

4. Warrick Holdman, OLB

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    Some Bears fans may remember playing the Madden video game with Brian Urlacher, Rosevelt Colvin and Warrick Holdman at linebacker.

    Those three were often lumped together as a great linebacking corps, but in reality Warrick Holdman was not that great.

    Urlacher is a borderline Hall of Famer, and Colvin had 10.5 sacks his last two seasons in Chicago. Holdman cannot hold a candle to either of them.

    Warrick Holdman had one good season in 2001, which led to the Madden franchise and Bears fans overvaluing him. About 1/5 of his career tackles came in that 2001 campaign.

    Holdman was a decent tackler, but he didn’t do anything else all that well. He only played three more seasons in the NFL after he left Chicago.

3. Tom Thayer, OG

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    Tom Thayer won a Super Bowl with the 1985 Chicago Bears, and he currently comments on Chicago Bears radio broadcasts.

    The offensive line on that ’85 team is revered by Bears fans, but Thayer was not even close to the best player on the line.

    Mark Bortz and Jimbo Covert each made two Pro Bowls, and Jay Hilgenberg was voted to seven.

    Keith Van Horne was never sent to Hawaii either, but he played more seasons on the line than Thayer did.

    Thayer is beloved by Bears fans, but he was just a serviceable lineman. He wasn’t bad, but his evaluation was always boosted by the great linemen around him.

2. Adewale Ogunleye, DE

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    Ogunleye was brought to Chicago from Miami to be a difference-maker on the defensive line.

    Like Thayer, Ogunleye was a player who benefited from the players around him.

    In 2003, Ogunleye notched 15.0 sacks for the Dolphins. On the other end of the Dolphins’ line was one of the great modern pass-rushers, Jason Taylor.

    Taylor was coming off a season in which he had 18.5 sacks, so opposing offenses might have been a little more preoccupied with him than Ogunleye.

    Regardless, Ogunleye was brought to Chicago as an elite defensive end. Chicago’s front office vastly overrated him.

    Ogunleye only posted double-digit sacks one more time in his career, when he had 10.0 in 2005.

    Tommie Harris and Alex Brown played on the line with Ogunleye in Chicago from 2004 to 2009. Ogunleye was only a shade better than both players at pressuring opposing quarterbacks.

    Tommie Harris got the credit he deserved at defensive tackle, but former Gator Alex Brown was underrated. That is probably because he almost produced at Ogunleye’s level without being considered as high profile.

1. Jim McMahon, QB

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    That’s right; the jury is still out on Jay Cutler, and he definitely doesn’t deserve a spot on this list yet.

    The extremely popular Jim McMahon is the most overrated quarterback and player in the history of the Chicago Bears.

    Cutler isn’t even second on the list of quarterbacks. Jim Miller, the quarterback who led the Bears during their great 2001 season, takes that spot.

    Miller was well-liked but average at best.

    The punky QB known as McMahon earned a Super Bowl ring with the 1985 Bears, but McMahon is closer to Trent Dilfer than Joe Montana in the rankings of champion quarterbacks.

    McMahon proved himself to be a winner over his career, compiling a record of 67-30 over 15 years in the NFL.

    Though he won games, McMahon was really the beneficiary of great teams. He wasn't the catalyst for greatness.

    His career TD-INT ratio is 100-90, and even in '85 he had 11 interceptions against 15 touchdowns. That was the only year McMahon made the Pro Bowl.

    To be fair, McMahon was tough, a good leader and also a threat with his legs. Even so, his quarterbacking ability didn’t scare anyone.

    To prove that McMahon’s winning had more to do with the team than him, look no farther than back-up Steve Fuller’s record in 1985. He tossed five interceptions to one touchdown with an abysmal 49.5 completion percentage, but he finished 4-1 in five starts.

    The greatest football team of all time greatly inflated McMahon’s actual value.

     

    *All statistics prior to 2000 provided by Pro Football Reference. All statistics after 2000 provided by ESPN.

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