Chicago Bears Top 100: #72 – Billy Wade


Dec. 23, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; General view of University of Phoenix Stadium as reflected in a Chicago Bears helmet during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

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. The next stop in our Top 100 Chicago Bears countdown brings us to one of their top passers and one of the few QB’s to lead the Bears to a championship.  #72 in our countdown is Billy Wade.  Wade was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams out of Vanderbilt as the top pick overall of the 1952 draft.  After serving two years fulfilling his military obligations, he spent seven seasons with the Rams from ’54 – ’60.  Wade never lived up to the lofty expectations of a top draft pick and didn’t excel in the Rams’ wide open passing attack. Wade was traded to the Bears in a complicated three-way deal where L.A. received defensive back Erich Barnes and quarterback Zeke Bratkowski; then L.A. traded Barnes and linebacker John Guzik to the New York Giants for defensive back Lindon Crow after the 1960 season.  Wade lived in the shadows of Norm Van Brocklin in LA and then had to come to Chicago and try emerge from Sid Luckman’s status as the team’s best quarterback of all time. Wade was able to fit in well into the Bears’ offense, where he had to be more of a “game manager” while the Bears defense took center stage.  Sound familiar?  Wade went on to lead the league in attempts and completions in 1962 before leading the Bears to the NFL Championship in 1963. Wade was second on the Bears all-time list with 68 touchdowns before Jay Cutler came along.  He ranks sixth all time in Bears history in passing yards with 9958 yards while compiling a record of 27-20-2 with the Beloved. 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.