In the 6th round of the NFL draft yesterday, Bears GM Phil Emery drafted his first quarterback. I wish them both well. Drafting quarterbacks for the Chicago Bears is a grisly proposition — always has been. The last great QB the Bears drafted was Jim McMahon in 1982 and even he had only one great season.
The Bears drafted 13 quarterbacks between McMahon in 1982 and David Fales this year. Here’s a rundown of the dirty baker’s dozen, with help from TV moms in honor of Mothers Day.
The De’Londa Brice Division
Mark Casale, 1984 9th round — 0 starts, 0 passes
Brent Snyder, 1989 7th round — 0 starts, 0 passes
Dan LeFevour, 2010 6th round — 0 starts, 0 passes
Nathan Enderle, 2011 5th round — 0 starts, 0 passes
Let’s start things off with a tribute to Namond Brice’s domineering, maybe-I’ll-bully-my-teenage-son-into-supporting-us-by-selling-drugs-today mother from The Wire. This QB quartet played a combined zero NFL games. That’s all I have to say about that.
The Betty Draper Division
Paul Justin, 1991 7th round — 0 starts, 0 passes
Circumstances count for a lot. Switch De’Londa with Betty Draper at birth and Betty is sending Sally to Bodie to get a package first chance she gets.
So we’re bumping Paul Justin up a level. Like the previous four guys, Justin also started a grand total of zero games for the Bears. But he played another five seasons in the league with two other teams, compiled a 3-4 record in three years with the Colts, and went 2-0 in 1996 with a QB rating of 83.4, almost ten points higher than Rex Grossman’s Super Bowl season.
The Estelle Costanza Division
Peter Tom Willis, 1990 3rd round — 3 stars, 183 passes
Will Furrer, 1992 4th round — 1 start, 25 passes
Moses Moreno, 1998 7th round — 1 start, 43 passes
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: My respect for the quarterbacking skills of Willis, Furrer and Moreno far exceed my respect for the mothering abilities of Estelle Costanza. These guys made the NFL — Estelle loves Lloyd Braun more than her own son. As Elaine once told George, “Boy, did your mother do a number on you.”
Still, having any of these three guys as your starting NFL quarterback does feel like getting fired and moving back in with your parents.
The Skyler White Division
Craig Krenzel, 2004 5th round — 5 starts, 127 passes
The Lucille Bluth Division
Cade McNown, 1999 1st round — 15 starts, 515 passes
Who you would rank higher in motherhood/quarterbacking on this one — Skyler & Krenzel vs. Lucille & McNown — depends on your values.
Skyler is the more loving mother. She is tender and nurturing while Lucille is cold and antagonistic. But Lucille dictates more control over George than Skyler does over Walt and is more adept running the family’s illicit affairs. The kids would prefer Skyler; the husbands, Lucille.
Likewise, Craig Krenzel was a fan favorite. He played above expectations, won his first three starts and seems like a swell off-the-field guy with his keep-your-head-down attitude and molecular genetics major.
Cade McNown, conversely, is the classic Bears shitty draft pick of a generation, the first man mentioned in the Bears Fan “It could be worse” conversation. Yet McNown’s talents and numbers are greater than Krenzel’s.
For that reason, I’m giving Cade the bump.
The Marge Simpson Division
Rex Grossman, 2003 1st round — 31 starts, 962 passes
Kyle Orton, 2005 4th round — 33 starts, 913 passes
Sweet loving Marge.
I’m putting Marge beneath our #2 mom due to a lesser ability to discipline children and #2’s greater range of talents. That said, she’s still the third best mom on the list due to her kindness, toughness, ingenuity and empathy.
That’s what I think of Rex and Orton. The former played one of the four best seasons of Bears quarterbacking between the Luckman Era and the Cutler Era, starting all 16 games in 2006 and taking them to a 14-6 lead in the second quarter of the Super Bowl.
Orton led the team to the playoffs as a rookie, then won the job in 2008 and came close to bringing them there again.
Neither was as successful as our #2 quarterback, who survived more starts and could have achieved to same as either Grossman or Orton on their respective good teams.
This clip of Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman fantasizing about playing for the Patriots perfectly sums up this pairing:
The Roseanne Conner Division
Jim Harbaugh, 1987 1st round — 65 starts, 1759 passes
Gritty, strong, successful — and probably doesn’t get as much credit as was due. Jim Harbaugh’s circumstances in joining the Bears were more favorable than Roseanne Connor’s in starting a family, but this strictly a match of the #2 QB on the list and the #2 mom on the list.
Harbaugh’s peak was going 21-9 over 1990 and 1991, a stretch that came on the heels of “Roseanne” going #1. His rough 1992 season nicely paralleled the pain of the Connors losing Dan’s bike shop. Harbaugh v. Ditka was just as fiery as Roseanne v. Dan:
The Clair Huxtable Division
Jim McMahon, 1982 1st round — 61 starts, 1513 passes
This one’s simple. Jim McMahon is the best quarterback the Bears have drafted in my lifetime, and Clair Huxtable is the greatest TV mom in my lifetime. They were both tough professionals (McMahon taking hits, Clair with less talented bosses), competitive and successful (McMahon won a Super Bowl, Clair made partner), stubborn in an argument, beloved by teammates/family.
They were also both musical, Clair in the choir and McMahon in the Shuffle. And they both rocked in the 80s.
For me? I like remembering them at their feisty, showboating best:
Happy Mothers Day to all you great moms out there! Thank you for taking care of us. Not only are you better than the Bears’s history of quarterbacks, but your job is tougher too.