The 10 Worst Bears Quarterbacks Since 1986

The 10 Worst Bears Quarterbacks Since 1986

As I explained in my post yesterday, I would be taking the time to evaluate the worst Chicago Bears quarterbacks since my first year of full viewing (1986).

This was a daunting task considering the amount of research that took place.  We measured how each quarterback performed in regard to their competition and their surroundings at the time.

For instance, some quarterbacks had to play through a rough stretch of games while others coasted (See 1997).  Some of these quarterbacks had pitiful offensive lines, terrible receivers, no defensive support, or played under a clueless offensive coordinator...and some of these quarterbacks had to deal with all of the above.

In yesterday's post, we brought up a new statistic called the 'Catastrophe Rating'.  It's the anti-QB rating...and it's pretty simple.  A passer makes 'X' amount of attempts in any given year.  Out of those attempts, they have additional dropbacks that end in fumbles or sacks.  While an interception counts toward the attempts, the output of interceptions will be counted towards the total CATs (Catastrophes).  It's simple and painless...or the complete opposite of watching this team.

Yesterday I also mentioned (see why you need to check this damn site every day!) who didn't make the cut.  Many of these folks would easily find their way onto a Top 10 list of any organization:  Rex Grossman, Erik Kramer, Jim McMahon, Mike Tomczak, Steve Walsh, Jim Miller, Kyle Orton, Jay Cutler, Dave Kreig, Chris Chandler, and Shane Matthews.    Got you thinkin', huh?  Yeah, it's worse than these guys.

We have 13 finalists and only 10 drumroll are our honorable mentions:

HM1: Kordell Stewart.  The 2001 Pro Bowler came to Chicago with high hopes.  'Slash' could do it all run, pass, catch, kick, block...well...back in 2001.  By the time #10 wore a Bears uniform in 2003 he was a shell of himself.  Stewart threw 7 TDs, but threw 12 interceptions while completing only 50% of his passes.  The Bears offense in 2003 struggled on all levels, so it wasn't completely all-Stewart.  But he got votes here for leading one of the Bears' worst played games ever: The 2003 Opening Day debacle at San Francisco, and for getting a CTCR of 15.9.  (12 interceptions plus 25 sacks plus 7 fumbles / 283 dropbacks.   What keeps him out?  The guy could improvise on the field; he could run the ball.  Plus, he led the Bears to an upset win in Denver.  There you go flat top!

HM2: Steve Stenstrom  I know what you're thinking.  'Stenstrom didn't make the top 10!'  Trust me, we're going to get much worse.  Stenstrom had a cup of coffee on the 1997 squad, and then had to take over for Mirer in 1998.  Stenstrom's '98 numbers weren't anything to write home about.  The Stanford graduate went 1-6 as a starter and committed 31 CATs in 219 dropbacks.  This led to a Catastrophe Rating of 14%.  He doesn't make the list due to a 300 yard passing performance against a 15-1 Vikings squad, and for not being absolutely horrific.  And yes...there are 10 worse.

HM3: Moses Moreno.  Our guy!  Everybody loves Moses Moreno!  Like Hanie, Moreno was a Colorado State product who always seemed to have his feet moving in the pocket.  This was good for evading sacks (Which is amazing because he was actually never sacked in 43 dropbacks), but also needless throws on the run.  While the 1998 backup started the regular season finale at Tampa Bay, he was able to finagle a touchdown pass and win our hearts.  God bless you, Moses...but you didn't make the list


10.  Cade McNown 1999-2000

How could Cade McNown make it and Moses Moreno not make it?  You would seriously put Stenstrom in front of a starter?  The thing is McNown was the worst of the regular starting quarterbacks since 1986.  Not Tomczak, Harbaugh, Kreig, Matthews, Miller, Orton, etc.  The list goes on.  What I mean by regular is making at least 12 starts.  In McNown's career, he was a putrid 3-12 as Bears starter. He was clueless in the Bears offense, yielding a 13 CTCR in 1999 and a 14 CTCR in 2000.  He did throw for over 300 yards in 1999 against a playoff-bound Lions team.  However, this event delayed the inevitable.  After some spotty performances in 2000, ole' MacNuisance was gone.  While guys like Stenstrom and Moreno had their faults, they were not responsible for holding back their organization for years at one position.

9. Doug Flutie, 1986

Some people say that Mike Ditka lost his team during the 1987 strike when he called his striking players 'prima donnas'.  This writer believes it started the year before, in 1986, when Ditka championed the dimunitive Flutie for the Bears' title run.  All scouts said Flutie was too small to play in the NFL.  Ditka was adamant that the former BC star could help the Bears deal with the abrupt late season injury to Jim McMahon.  When Flutie came in for relief during a home game against Tampa, results were mixed.  Flutie wasn't terrible in the regular season finale at Dallas, but it was in the 1986 NFC Divisional Playoff against Washington that moved Flutie into this group.  #2 was an anemic 11 for 31 throwing the football, and only completed a 50 yard touchdown to Willie Gault based on the speedster's adjustment to the throw.  YouTube actually has a compilation of just how horrible Flutie was.  (Click Here) Flutie's combined stats show 34/77, 4 TD, 4 INT, 3 Fumbles, and 7 Sacks.  That's 14 of 83 (16.1 CTCR), with a Pro Bowl offensive line and a 1,000 yard rusher to relieve far the worst quarterback since 1986 given his surroundings.  Needless to say, Flutie didn't last long as a Bear.

8.  Chad Hutchinson 2004

The whole thing didn't make sense.  Chad Hutchinson was surfing one day, and the next he was throwing for over 300 yards against the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings.  The victory over Minnesota was one of the more unexpected wins of the decade.  This performance was the only thing that kept Hutchinson from being lower.  He also participated in what was arguably the worst Thanksgiving Day game in modern history.  Hutchinson was responsible for losing his start against Dallas to Drew Henson...a man who never started another game.  From the Minnesota game on, Hutchinson grew from bad to worse to painful.  Chad completed 57% of his passes for 903 yards and 4 TDs, but was a statue in the pocket.  'Hutch' was sacked 23 times leading to 8 fumbles over a rather thin 192 dropbacks.  Hutchinson also led the Bears to 8 total points over the next two games (and yes, two were from a safety).  He gets a 17.7 CTCR, and a wonderful spot on the committee.

7.  P.T. Willis, 1991-1993

Peter Tom Willis graduated from Florida State with some serious potential.  The Bears picked him up as a potential wild card in the 'StrangleMyself' Quarterback Competitions of the early 90's.  Willis and Hanie were actually very similar.  Willis had shown serious areas of growth during a couple relief appearances...however, this slowly deteriorated.  Willis was a fantastic pre-season quarterback.  Willis threw 8 interceptions and was sacked 10 times in only 102 dropbacks for a robust 17.6 CTCR in 1992.  The tough times really came through in 1993 after an injury to Jim Harbaugh.  Willis came in relief late in the season while the Bears were trying to make the playoffs and may have been the single reason behind the team's downfall.  In 67 dropbacks, Willis threw 5 picks, was sacked 5 times, fumbled twice and did not score one touchdown.  Given the 1993 Bears may have been the worst passing team of all-time (Yes, maybe worse than 2004), maybe it's tough to blame Willis completely for the breakdown.  The Bears had only 7 passing touchdowns for the whole year.  (Please read and re-read the previous sentence)  Willis' 17.9 CTCR for 1993 makes him consistently awful.  Congratulations, P.T.'re the 7th worst Chicago Bears quarterback I've ever seen.

6.  Henry Burris, 2002

Poor Henry Burris.  O'Henry is a CFL legend, somewhere below Doug Flutie and Warren Moon.  But when Burris came in relief to face the 2002 Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccanneers...things got bad...real bad.  Burris could be lower, but his competition was top of the line.  Burris' performance was so inept it became memorable.  Burris finished 2002 against Carolina and Tampa Bay going 18 of 51 for 207 yards, 3 TD, 5 INT, and 4 fumbles.  Burris was quick, so he was never sacked.  It was his 5 interception performance against Tampa that made him memorable.  Only 55 dropbacks yielded a CTCR of 16.3.  God help us...and god help poor Henry Burris...I still think Warren Sapp is sitting on him.

5. Will Furrer, 1992

Will Furrer tested higher than any other Chicago Bears quarterback since 1986.  Is it even fair to put a guy who attempted 25 passes on this list?  How could I be so cruel?  Well, Ditka sold Bears fans during his final year that he may have found something special in Furrer...then the southpaw appeared in a game at Cleveland Stadium looking like Bobby Douglass on a crack binge.  Furrer was so uncomfortable in the pocket that it made his gun of an arm pointless.  Furrer played against Cleveland and then was given a chance by Ditka to face the 1992 World Champion Dallas Cowboys.  Way to provide some confidence in a young man, Mike!  Furrer ended the year 9 of 25 for 89 yards, 0 TD's, 3 picks, 4 sacks, and a gaping CTCR of 24.1.  For all you mathmaticians out there, that means that nearly 1/4 of the time Furrer dropped back, something catastrophic happened.  Waste of a draft pick.  Thanks, Virginia Tech!

4. Craig Krenzel, 2004

I love meatball Bears fans!  Hey, where would this site be without meatballs?  We all have a little meatball in all of us.  However, the 'He Just Wins Games' morons were out in full force after Craig Krenzel started his career 3-0.  Never mind that the 2004 quarterback got his 3 wins by virtue of playing a horrific Niners team, a defense that annihilated the Giants for a half, and another game where they beat the Titans on a punt return and safety.  Great job, Craig!  You...uh...still suck.  This Ohio State product never even showed a glimpse of pro potential.  Many people on this list had a moment, a game (see: Hutchinson, Stewart, McNown)...Krenzel just was a bi-product of a defense that was on the verge of becoming great.  Krenzel's 04 figures are staggering since they dwarf everybody else based on volume.  Krenzel only completed 46% of his passes, had 6 INTs, 718 yards, 8 fumbles, and 23 sacks in 158 dropbacks.  That's a CTCR of 23.4...the highest for attempts amongst any Bears player.  If you look at yards/dropback, that's 4.5 yards.  You can't beat that...if you have no arms.

3. Rick Mirer, 1997

Oh, oh, oh, how badly I wanted to put him #1.  Rick Mirer did a smashing job destroying the 1997 season and leading Dave Wannstedt out the door in 1998.  It should be noted that Mirer faced playoff teams in Weeks 3, 4, and 5.  His first starting job came against the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots and was followed by rude awakenings by Dallas and Detroit.  However, it was Mirer's 6th game that leaves a legacy.  Mirer lost a close decision at home to New Orleans Saints stalwart QB Heath Shuler.  That deserves a CTCR game ball!  Mirer oversaw a three week stretch where the offense scored a combined 13 points.  He couldn't run, he couldn't throw, and he cost the Bears a lot of money.  The man from Notre Dame was pathetic.  He threw no touchdowns and six interceptions.  He was sacked 16 times and fumbled 4 times.  In 123 dropbacks, QuagMirer was catastrophic 26 times...which is good for a robust 21 CTCR.

2. Todd Collins

Yes!  He's not #1!  The Bears needed a calming veteran presence on the sideline while Jay Cutler ran his new offense.  Insert Todd Collins!  The former Buffalo Bills starter seemed to be a perfect compliment to the quiet Cutler.  After Collins' performance against the Carolina Panthers, many wondered if it was worth the chance.  Collins went 10 for 27.  68 yards.  2.5 yards per attempt.  0 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 2 sacks.  It's a CTCR of 24%.  The man was horrible in relief of Cutler.  His specialty?  The drive-killing interception!  I love that man.

1. Jonathan Quinn

At no point during the development of Jonathan Quinn did he look like a qualified NFL player.  But Terry Shea thought so.  Bears offensive coordinator Terry Shea came from Kansas City preaching a new style of offense.  The Bears felt it would be in their best interest to use a quarterback familiar in the system as a backup.   Quinn met all the requirements...except for being able to throw a ball.

Quinn's stats don't match the people before him.  However, he represents the ineptitude for Bears quarterbacks since 1986.  This guy was discovered, sold as the answer, and then looked worse than any Bears quarterback...ever.  Some plays in particular that I liked from Quinn...The four yard in-route thrown to the player's knees.  The 3rd and 18 checkdown that leads to a 2 yard gain.  And the best of the best...the 'I followed through too far and I chucked the ball at the ground so far that it bounced right back up and I caught it for a six yard loss' play.  I love that play.

What made Quinn so special was that he didn't have any touch.  Tomczak was the same way, but Tomczak made plays.  Quinn made my stomach hurt.  Quinn threw screen passes like he was trying to knock the pins down at the county fair.  Although he yielded a CTCR of 17.4, which doesn't beat everybody, his lack of any discernable talent creating a void in my heart that I have tried to fill to this day keeps him down on this list...okay, maybe that was too much.  He just stunk.

Filed under: Chicago Bears


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  • Being so Young, you have the added advantage of never seeing Jack Concannon, etc. my favorite was the snap while trying to call a timeout play.

  • I was at the game in Tampa that marked the end of the brief Quinn era and the beginning of the also-brief Krenzel era. If that wasn't enough awfulness for one afternoon, a 70+ yard td run by Thomas Jones was negated by a flagrant and completely un-needed David Terrell holding penalty. He made up for it though by also not catching a single goddamn pass all day.

  • JerBear, I believe the whole triumverate made it into that Thanksgiving Day debacle against Dallas in 2004. Hutchinson started, got hurt, Krenzel came in, got hurt, and Dr. Quinn Medicine Man came in to obliterate all hope.
    The 2004 Bears defense wasn't half bad...considering they won any games with that offense was a miracle (after Grossman got hurt).

    I still need to know the last team in NFL history that didn't have one quarterback throw for over 1,000 yards. The 2004 Bears have to be the only one in the past 35-40 LEAST.

  • I remember that Tampa game, too! I wonder if people remember just how bad Krenzel and Quinn were...I think most people blacked it out of their memory.

  • First time on your site. GOOD STUFF. Of course I had to go back and read some of your older posts. OK Captain Meatball tell the truth - are you really Les Grobstein. LOL

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