We’re heading into the dog days of the offseason, counting the days until the Chicago Bears 2014 season kicks off. Thanks to Bear Goggles On contributor and the fine editor of Blackhawk Up Keith Schultz’s suggestion, we’re going to do a Top 100 list of the all time Chicago Bears. It’s a fun way to pass the time and take a stroll down memory lane.
Bobby Layne is a Hall of Famer who put up most if his stats with the Lions, so his eligibility for this list is questionable but he was drafted 3rd overall by the Bears in ’48 and spent his rookie year in Chicago. Layne was the Bears 3rd string QB behind Sid Luckman and Johnny Lujack and threatened to hold out his 2nd year to force a trade. George Halas ended up trading him to New York for a 1st round pick and $50,000. Layne played well for New York, but was traded again before his third season, this time to the Detroit Lions.
It was in Detroit that Layne became the “Blond Bomber” and had most of his professional success. In his third season with the Lions (1952) the Lions won their first NFL championship. They repeated as champions in ’53 and again in ’57 though Layne missed some of that season with an injury. After the Lions third NFL title, Layne was traded to the Steelers in 1958 where he finished his career. The trade from the Lions to the Steelers was infamous in Detroit due to Layne supposedly saying that “the Lions won’t win again for 50 years”. It’s been 56 years and the Lions still haven’t won a Super Bowl so the “Curse of Bobby Layne” turned out to be prophetic.
Layne didn’t put up huge statistics, but was known more for his clutch play, intangibles and leadership. He did lead the NFL in passing yards twice (50,51), passing TDs once (51) and was selected to 6 Pro Bowls during his career. Layne was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967.
What do you think of the ranking? Too high? Too low? I guess you’ll have to check back to see who finished ahead of him to judge for yourself. We’ll be counting down a different person each day as we inch our way to the September 7th season opener.