Chicago Bears Quarterbacks: Top 10 All-Time

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#8 All-Time Bears QB, Rex Grossman

Aug 6, 2013; Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Appropriately situated in this list at the number which he wore is one of my personal favorites, Rex Grossman.  Remember that desperation I alluded to when it comes to hoping the next young QB they draft is going to be the guy?  That aptly describes how I felt about Grossman and the feeling was only heightened as he showed flashes of ability early in his career with the Bears but seemed star-crossed and couldn’t stay on the field due to injury.

In the 2003 NFL Draft, a year when the Bears had two first round picks in hand, Rex Grossman was selected #22 overall out of the University of Florida.  Jim Miller was gone and with him Henry Burris, but old man Chandler was still around and the Bears also brought in Kordell Stewart to be the starter.  Stewart, who at that time wasn’t too far removed from garnering legitimate MVP consideration during his 2001 season with Pittsburgh, flamed out in Chicago like many QBs before him and ceded the starting gig to Chandler after a 1-4 start.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler didn’t do much either so Sexy Rexy got his chance to start as a rookie in the last three games of the 2003 season, going 2-1 with the one loss coming in the final game against Kansas City after Grossman left the game in the 2nd quarter with a broken finger.  The requisite amount of potential was shown and into the 2004 season the Bears went, excited about what Grossman could do with a full season under center.  Unfortunately for Rex and those best laid plans, he blew out his knee in week 3 against the Vikings while diving in for a go-ahead TD.

What followed in 2004 was mostly QB hilarity with Hutchinson, Krenzel and ultimately Quinn taking their turns on the carousel.  The result was a 5-11 record in the first year under HC Lovie Smith and a solidified belief that if Rex could stay healthy, they could fare much better than that.  In 2005 those hopes were quickly squashed as Grossman suffered a broken ankle in preseason, pushing rookie Kyle Orton into the starting role.

In one of the most memorable games for me as a Bears fan, on December 18th, 2005 against Michael Vick‘s Atlanta Falcons on a frigid Sunday night in Chicago (game-time temp was 12 degrees, per, a recuperated Rex Grossman dramatically returned to action in the 2nd half to lead the Bears to their 10th win of the year.  The 11-5 Bears went on to host a divisional round playoff game against the John Fox-led Panthers and while Grossman hung in and played decently, Steve Smith shredded the Bears secondary for 218 yards and two TDs on 12 receptions in a game the Bears lost 29-21.

The hope for health was finally answered for Grossman and the Bears in 2006 as Rex started all 16 games and posted a 13-3 record, elevating the offense to 2nd-highest scoring in the league behind his 3,193 yards passing (fifth highest single-season mark in team history).  That year, while it was a successful one for him, displayed Grossman’s penchant for wild swings in the level of his play from one game to the next.  With a passer rating that exceeded 100 in 7 games and didn’t reach 50 in 5 games, Grossman earned the Good Rex/Bad Rex nickname.  The good side of his Jekyll and Hyde act showed itself often enough for the Bears to make it all the way to Super Bowl XLI, but the bad side of it surfaced on the biggest stage and resulted in a defining loss.

2006 was as good as it got for Grossman with the Bears.  In 2007 when his ball security issues remained prevalent through the first 3 games, Grossman was benched in favor of Brian Griese.  Grossman returned to the starting lineup later that year for a handful of games and then played sparingly in 2008 as Orton got his chance to lead the team.  Grossman’s “Screw it, I’m going deep” mentality was fun to watch and as frustrating as the turnovers were, I enjoyed his time under center.

  • 1 of only 2 quarterbacks in Bears history to lead his team to a Super Bowl
  • 7th-highest passing yards per game in team history (171.2)
  • 10th-most wins in team history (19-12)
  • 13th-most passing yards in team history (6,164)
  • Tied for 13th-most passing TDs in team history (33)

Next: #7: Detroit Defector