The dog days of the offseason are finally behind us now that training camp is underway, just in time for our countdown of the Top 100 Chicago Bears of all time to really heat up. As we get closer to the season opener, we get closer to naming the #1 Chicago Bear of all time.
After finishing 3rd in the Heisman voting at Columbia in 1939, Sid Luckman was drafted 2nd overall by Pittsburgh. Bears owner George Halas had a pre-draft agreement in place with Pittsburgh to obtain Luckman and he joined the Bears in 1939. George Halas had hand-picked Luckman to transition the Bears offense to the relatively new “T formation” scheme. His decision looked bad at first as Luckman struggled with fumbles and his footwork in the new offense.
Halas moved Luckman back to tailback for a few games, but then luckily gave him another shot at QB later in the season. By the 1940 season, Luckman and the rest of the Bears offense had the T-formation down pat and it took the league by storm. The Bears went 8-3 during the regular season and then destroyed the Washington Redskins 73-0 in the NFL Championship game. By 1941, half the league was trying to implement the T-formation, but no other teams had Sid Luckman and the Bear dominated the rest of the decade winning 4 NFL Championships in 10 years, losing one championship game and finishing in second place in the division the other 5 years. It was an unprecedented and never matched stretch of dominance.
The Bears were the best team of the 40’s and Luckman was the best QB; He was 1st team All-NFL five times, second team All-NFL once, led the league in touchdown passes three times, set the record for most touchdown passes in a game (7), and won the MVP in 1943. Luckman has the 2nd best career yards per attempt of 8.3 yards (behind Otto Graham, ahead of Aaron Rodgers) and the best single-season mark ever at 10.9 yards per attempt (1943). He also holds the single season record for the best touchdown rate per attempt (13.9%).
Luckman retired after the 1950 season. In his 12 years with the Bears, Luckman threw for 14,686 yards which is 2nd in Bears history (Cutler) and 137 touchdowns which is still the Bears record. Luckman was voted to the NFL’s all-decade teams (40s), had his number retired by the Bears (#42), and made the Hall of Fame in 1965.
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.