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Chicago Bears quarterbacks don’t exactly tend to take center stage.

This particular NFL organization is known for playing smashmouth football led by impenetrable defense rather than airing it out with gun-slinging signal-callers. Dating back to 1950, when our analysis begins, the 73 qualified quarterbacks have made a meager 10 combined Pro Bowl appearances.

That’s it.

Worse still, they’ve been spread between seven different quarterbacks, two of whom failed to submit above-average scores for the totality of their tenures and made it clear their accolade-earning efforts were just outlier years.

Perhaps Justin Fields can continue his upward trajectory and change the narrative, which at one point included the Bears potentially replacing him with a new top pick at the sport’s most important position, but that’s easier said than done.

Using the Total Yards Added (TYA) metric I developed for QB Math, which evaluates quarterbacks’ success relative to league average in four facets of the game — rushing, passing, sack avoidance, and fumble avoidance — we’re highlighting each and every one of the 73 Chicago Bears quarterbacks with at least one qualified game for the organization since ’50. These rankings will be updated continuously and are accurate heading into Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season.

Chicago Bears quarterbacks Nos. 73-11

Franchise RankQuarterbackQualified GamesTotal Yards Added
73Jack Concannon41-1,638.583
72Bob Avellini61-1,417.909
71Zeke Bratkowski34-1,326.559
70Gary Huff28-1,173.004
69Kyle Orton33-1,075.642
68Mike Phipps25-1,075.004
67Justin Fields28-977.42
66Rex Grossman39-938.653
65Jay Cutler104-874.398
64Vince Evans39-754.308
63Mitchell Trubisky51-716.498
62Caleb Hanie6-639.369
61Chris Chandler15-592.069
60Nick Foles9-581.94
59Craig Krenzel6-545.594
58Rick Mirer6-541
57Kordell Stewart9-520.698
56Shane Matthews20-519.085
55George Blanda27-511.93
54Bobby Douglass50-474.426
53Jim Harbaugh73-429.436
52Andy Dalton7-400.994
51Cade McNown20-395.701
50Steve Romanik17-393.843
49Jonathan Quinn4-393.396
48Jim Miller33-383.237
47Larry Rakestraw8-367.867
46Chad Hutchinson5-357.241
45Peter Tom Willis12-339.714
44Henry Burris3-339.108
43Todd Collins2-333.103
42Mike Tomczak49-331.091
41Rusty Lisch5-319.892
40Matt Barkley7-319.298
39Mike Glennon4-315.502
38Kent Nix7-299.014
37Steve Stenstrom9-280.814
36Jimmy Clausen4-278.977
35Chase Daniel5-245.237
34Brian Griese9-231.604
33Steve Walsh14-231.495
32Will Furrer1-193.458
31Virgil Carter9-192.449
30Jason Campbell3-170.395
29Steve Bradley1-157.738
28Sean Payton2-125.609
27Tim Boyle1-116.349
26Sid Luckman4-109.374
25Dave Krieg12-97.427
24Moses Moreno1-82.4
23Willie Thrower1-52.98
22Doug Flutie4-47.924
21Joe Barnes1-46.998
20Nathan Peterman2-39.841
19David Fales1-35.162
18Trevor Siemian1-29.781
17Tommy O’Connell7-24.077
16Tyler Bray1-12.983
15John Huarte1-12.939
14Greg Landry1-5.584
13Cory Sauter18.314
12Jeff Blake122.087
11Bob Williams1325.379

Keep in mind that this is about career production.

Playing in more games usually means moving further away from the league-average score of zero, which is why Jay Cutler — objectively not the least-talented of the Chicago Bears quarterbacks — falls nearly all the way to the bottom of the pack despite having a far superior per-game output to other low finishers such as Caleb Hanie, Kyle Orton, and Rex Grossman.

10. Mike Hohensee

  • Years: 1987
  • Stats: 2-0 record, 28-of-52 (53.8%), 343 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 87.035

After thriving with the Washington Federals of the USFL and the Ottawa Rough Riders and Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, Mike Hohensee got a chance to play NFL football for the Chicago Bears during the league’s strike in 1987 that mandated replacement players.

In other words? Analyze his (limited) numbers with a massive grain of salt. No one can take away his four touchdowns and single interception while going 2-0 for the Windy City residents, but it’s hard to come away too impressed.

9. Steve Fuller

Chicago Bears quarterback Steve Fuller | Getty Images
  • Years: 1984-86
  • Stats: 6-5 record, 140-of-249 (56.2%), 1,823 yards, 6 TD, 9 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 139.98

Largely backing up Jim McMahon, Steve Fuller held his own whenever the Chicago Bears called upon him — even during the famed 1985 season. Throwing more interceptions than touchdowns isn’t a positive, but that didn’t deter Fuller from serving as a dual-threat weapon in his limited run. Despite rushing just 24 times and gaining only 77 yards during that ’85 campaign, he recorded five rushing touchdowns to finish second on the squad, trailing only the inimitable Walter Payton.

8. Brian Hoyer

  • Years: 2016
  • Stats: 1-4 record, 134-of-200 (67.0%), 1,445 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 244.118

Making a brief pit stop between similarly brief tenures with the Houston Texans and New England Patriots, Brian Hoyer took over for an injured Jay Cutler in Week 2 and then got off to a rip-roaring beginning to his time as a first-stringer by throwing for 1,318 yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions in his first four starts.

Hoyer broke his arm during the ensuing contest against the Green Bay Packers, landed on inured reserve, and never played another snap for the Bears. But despite his forgettable 1-4 record as the starter in Chicago he graded out rather positively during his time in charge.

7. Ed Brown

Chicago Bears quarterback Ed Brown | Diamond Images/Getty Images
  • Years: 1954-61
  • Stats: 39-25-2 record, 607-of-1,246 (48.7%), 9,698 yards, 63 TD, 88 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 300.658

A two-time Pro Bowler during the mid-1950s, Ed Brown was both accurate and aggressive during his best seasons. The completion percentage masks that truth since the NFL, as a whole, was far more reliant on the ground game and featured signal-callers who rarely completed 50% of their attempts — much less 60%.

While leading Chicago to a 9-2-1 record in 1956, Brown paced the NFL completion percentage (57.1%), touchdown percentage (6.5%), and yards per pass attempt (9.9). Naturally, it was the season before — an inferior campaign, both by statistical and record-based perspectives — that saw him finish sixth in the UPI MVP voting.

Per TYA, only six seasons by Chicago Bears quarterbacks outshined his ’56 efforts.

6. Johnny Lujack

  • Years: 1948-51
  • Stats: 13-5 record, 404-of-808 (50.0%), 6,295 yards, 41 TD, 54 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 323.165

If the TYA database went back further than 1950, Johnny Lujack would likely rise far higher in the pecking order. After all, he led the NFL in completions (162), passing attempts (312), passing yards (2,658), and passing touchdowns (23) during the 1949 campaign, admittedly while throwing 22 interceptions. Albeit over the course of nine games and three starts, he was on a similarly prolific pace as a rookie one year earlier.

As it stands, Lujack only receives credit for the Pro Bowl efforts he put together in both 1950 and 1951 before he returned to Notre Dame as an assistant coach.

A few other fun facts? Lujack was backed up by Sid Luckman and George Blanda at various points in his Chicago tenure, set an NFL record with 468 passing yards (and six touchdowns) in a 1949 defeat of the rival Chicago Cardinals, and managed to rush for 11 touchdowns during the 1950 season alone.

5. Billy Wade

  • Years: 1961-66
  • Stats: 27-20-2 record, 767-of-1,407 (54.5%), 9,958 yards, 68 TD, 66 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 345.558

Billy Wade landed with the Bears via trade request after seven successful seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, and he continued to put up big numbers — relative to his era, of course — after the squad switch.

His 1963 efforts, in particular, stood out positively as he made the Pro Bowl after an 11-1-2 season that saw him score a career-high six rushing touchdowns in addition to the success he found with his right arm. Wade then led a 14-10 victory over the New York Giants to claim a championship for Chicago.

4. Rudy Bukich

  • Years: 1959, 1962-68
  • Stats: 17-11-2 record, 474-of-878 (54.0%), 6,254 yards, 46 TD, 45 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 350.568

After functioning as a reserve on the Chicago Bears’ 1964 championship squad, Rudy Bukich took over for Billy Wade during the 1965 campaign and never looked back.

Well, for two years, at least.

Making 12 starts and 14 appearances in 1965, Bukich guided the Bears to a 9-3 record while keeping his mistakes in check (his 2.9 interception percentage was first among qualified passers) and making big plays down the field to the tune of 2,641 yards and 20 touchdowns. He finished behind only Jim Brown and Gale Sayers in the UPI MVP voting while putting together a TYA score topped by only 1995 Erik Kramer and 1985 Jim McMahon among all Chicago Bears quarterbacks.

3. Erik Kramer

Chicago Bears quarterback Erik Kramer | Doug Pensinger/Allsport
  • Years: 1994-98
  • Stats: 18-28 record, 913-of-1,557 (58.6%), 10,582 yards, 63 TD, 45 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 569.446

Speaking of Erik Kramer, how about that 1995 season?

In his first go-round as the Bears’ full-time starter, the North Carolina State product completed 60.3% of his passes for 3,838 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions while guiding his troops to a 9-7 record. He basically refused to take sacks, rarely fumbled, and limited his mistakes so well that he submitted the second-best TYA in franchise history.

Sure, that 1995 effort was a massive outlier amidst the sea of mediocrity Kramer sailed throughout his NFL career, but he still put up the numbers.

2. Josh McCown

  • Years: 2011-13
  • Stats: 4-3 record, 184-of-279 (65.9%), 2,243 yards, 15 TD, 5 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 569.641

Josh McCown returned from a stint with the United Football League’s Hartford Colonials as a backup for the 2011 iteration of the Chicago Bears, and he never received a full promotion to the starting lineup. He did, however, make the most of his opportunities to take snaps — and even open games — when Jay Cutler was unavailable due to a wide assortment of injuries.

The journeyman played brilliant football during his five starts in 2013, going 127-of-191 (66.5%) for 1,544 yards, 11 touchdowns, and just a single interception. He even submitted a three-game stretch in which he bottomed out at 348 yards.

McCown may only have been the quarterback of record in seven contests, but he was so efficient with his limited snaps in 2013 that he submitted a top-five season in franchise history, per TYA.

1. Jim McMahon

Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon | Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Related Ranking All Carolina Panthers Quarterbacks in Franchise History

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  • Years: 1982-88
  • Stats: 46-15 record, 874-of-1,513 (57.8%), 11,203 yards, 67 TD, 56 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 1,509.112

Was there any doubt?

Jim McMahon is the clear-cut best quarterback in Chicago Bears history, and it’ll take a sustained stretch of production from a new option to even come within sniffing distance.

Jay Cutler, Sid Luckman, and Jim Harbaugh have more passing yards for the Bears. Cutler, Luckman, and Billy Wade have more passing touchdowns. But the efficiency with which McMahon ran the show alongside a suffocating defense allowed him to avoid the negative plays that dragged down everyone else.

Sure, McMahon only has one Pro Bowl appearance (earned during the famed 1985 season as he threw for 2,392 yards and 15 touchdowns without dropping a game he started) and isn’t a Hall of Famer. But he remains the obvious top dog in this competition, lapping the field and then some in the chosen metric.