The Top 10 Chicago Bears Quarterbacks of the Decade
I like to challenge myself with the impossible. Making a list of 10 decent Chicago Bears quarterbacks in the history of the franchise is questionable, let alone making a list of decent QBs from the last 10 seasons.
The Bears have had 13 starting quarterbacks since 2000, the most in the NFL. Here is a quick look at the "best."
10. Chad Hutchinson
With Chad Hutchinson starting the list, it gives readers an idea of how pathetic this list is going to be.
Hutchinson, who played for the MLB's St. Louis Cardinals in 2001, was signed as a third-year player by the Bears in 2004.
After a 2-7 season as a starter with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, and a seat on the bench in 2003, Hutchinson was part of the carousel of Bears quarterbacks in 2004 also consisting of Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel, and Rex Grossman.
Hutch was 1-4 as a starter with 904 yards passing, three touchdowns, four interceptions, and a QB rating of 66.3.
Hutchinson finished his MLB career with an ERA of 24.75.
9. Kordell Stewart
Like the majority of quarterbacks on this list, Kordell Stewart saw most of his success before joining the Bears.
A 1995 draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Stewart was 48-34 as a starter for the Steelers, who have a similar game plan as the Bears: Tough defense and heavy running.
Stewart was the starter for the Bears heading into the 2003 seasons. Afte inadequate play, he was benched in favor of Chris Chandler. After similar results from Chandler, Stewart was named the starter again, only to be benched in favor of rookie Rex Grossman after the Bears were eliminated form playoff contention.
Stewart, in his one season in Chicago, was 2-5 with 1418 passing yards, seven touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a QB rating of 56.8
8. Chris Chandler
Prior to joining the Chicago Bears in 2002, Chris Chandler only had two winning seasons under his belt (9-4 in 1988, 13-1 in 1998). Chandler lost 11 consecutive starts with three different teams from 1989 to 1992.
Thing didn't get much better for him in Chicago.
After leading the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl in 1998, Chandler was released by the Falcons after Michael Vick became the starter in 2002, and was immediately signed by the Bears.
Chandler was 5-8 as a Bears starter, throwing for 2073 yards, seven touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a QB rating of 69.8 in 17 appearances as a Bear.
7. Craig Krenzel
Craig Krenzel was a fifth round draft pick of the Bears in 2004. Krenzel was a two-time Fiesta Bowl MVP while he was quarterback at Ohio State.
Despite sub-par play from Krenzel, he won his first three starts with the Bears during his rookie season. After a two-game skid, he would miss the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.
Krenzel's 3-2 record, 715 passing yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions is good enough to put him at number six on the list.
6. Shane Matthews
Although Shane Matthews played the majority of his Bears career in the 1990s, he still earned a place in the Top Ten.
Matthews, an undrafted free agent out of Florida, signed with the Bears in 1993. He didn't appear in a game until 1996, a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in which Matthews didn't throw a pass. He would see his first regular NFL action in a Week 17 loss to the Tampa Bay Bucaneers.
Matthews would spend the 1997 and 1998 seasons on the practice squad of the Carolina Panthers before returning to the Bears in 1999, where he split time with Cade McNown and Jim Miller.
After a 1-8 start by a Cade McNown-led team in 2000, Matthews became the starter, and went 3-2 for the Bears down the stretch.
After Jim Miller was named the starter in 2001, Matthews came in as a backup, going 2-1 for a Bears team that would win the NFC North with a 13-3 record.
Matthews finished with an 11-11 record as a Bears starter, throwing for 3462 yards, 19 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, and a QB rating of 75.1.
5. Brian Griese
A two-time Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowler with the Denver Broncos, the Bears brought in the son of NFL Hall of Famer Bob Griese in hopes that he would be able to bring some experience and depth to the position.
Brian had only one losing record as a starter before coming to the Bears (2004 with Tampa Bay), and he was 3-3 for the Bears in 2007. He finished his two seasons with the Bears with 2023 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 13 games.
4. Jay Cutler
The Bears ruined their short-term future to aqcuire Jay Cutler from the Broncos in 2008, but at least he can say that he is number four on my list.
The Bears traded Kyle Orton and their 2010 first round pick to get Cutler from Denver. They would later trade their second-round pick that season; and won't have a pick until the third-round of the 2010 NFL Draft, having many needs to fill.
Cutler was a Pro Bowler in 2008, throwing for 4526 yards and 25 touchdowns.
This season, Cutler has thrown for 3666 yards and 27 touchdowns, he has thrown a league-leading 26 interceptions.
The Bears finished with a 7-9 record in 2009, with Cutler starting all 16 games.
3. Jim Miller
Jim Miller began his journeyman career as a Pittsburgh Steeler in 1994. Before joining the Bears, he was on the roster of the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions, although he never took a snap.
Miller joined the Bears in 1998, and was starting a season later. His season was cut short, however, due to a violation of the league's substance abuse policy.
In 2001, Miller led the Bears to a 13-3 record, although he threw for only 2299 yards and 10 touchdowns, and the Bears reached the playoffs for the first time since 1994.
During Miller's time with the Bears, he was 15-11 as a starter, threw for 5867 yards, 36 TD and 31 INT while completing 58% of his passes.
After leaving the Bears in 2002, Miller spent time with the Tampa Bay Bucaneers, New York Giants, and New England Patriots.
2. Rex Grossman
There have been many discussions debating the best player of the decade: Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. While Manning's stats dwarf Brady's, Brady has more Super Bowl rings than Manning.
Since I am one who believes that it isn't championships (or championship appearances) that define a career, I went with Rex Grossman as number two on my list.
Grossman was a first-round pick of the Bears in 2003. He would go 19-12 as a starter, the majority of his wins coming during the Bears' 13-3 campaign in 2006. The Bears would be crowned NFC Champions, but lose to the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
During his six seasons with the Bears, Rex would throw for 6164 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 35 interceptions while completing 54% of his passes.
Only one season after leading the Bears to the Super Bowl, he saw decreased playing time. He was benched by 2008, and a free agent by 2009.
1. Kyle Orton
The Bears have been searching for a franchise quarterback the entire decade.
They had one, and they traded him away.
Kyle Orton, a fourth round pick by the Bears in 2005, quietly became the Bears best quarterback of the decade, and as a reward was traded to the Denver Broncos during the 2008 offseason.
Orton, who was 21-12 as a starter, led the Bears to the playoffs in 2005 after going 11-5 and winning the Bears' first NFC North title since 2001. He was rewarded with a seat on the bench in 2006 as Rex Grossman guided the Bears to the Super Bowl.
As Grossman began to struggle, Orton took over again, going 11-7 in his last two seasons in Chicago.
Orton threw for 5319 yads, 50 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions while completing 55 percent of his passes during the three seasons in which he saw action.