Chicago Bears Quarterbacks: Top 10 All-Time

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#4 All-Time Bears QB, Jim Harbaugh

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At the spot on this countdown that matches the number he wore while with the Bears, is Jim Harbaugh.  Jim became a Chicago Bear when the team selected him with the 26th overall pick in the 1987 draft, adding him to a roster that already featured Jim McMahon as the starter and Mike Tomczak as the established backup.  Harbaugh didn’t see much action in ’87 or ’88, starting in only 2 games, but began to get into the lineup more in 1989 after McMahon was traded to the San Diego Chargers.

In ’89 Tomczak was primarily under center, but Harbaugh started for the Bears in five games and struggled to a 1-4 record while throwing for 1,204 yards with five TDs and nine INTs.  1990 was the year that Harbaugh emerged as the true starting quarterback for the Bears, leading the team to a 10-4 record thru the first 14 games before a shoulder injury sidelined him for the rest of the regular season and playoffs.  Harbaugh’s performance propelled the Bears to a division title and while Tomczak got the team a win in their wildcard game vs the Saints, they fell short in the divisional round against the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

1991 turned out to be Harbaugh’s magnum opus with the Bears, throwing for 3,121 yards (6th-most all time in team history) on 275 of 478 passes (57.5%) with 15 TDs and 16 INTs while leading the team to an 11-5 record.  The Bears finished 2nd in the NFC Central and played the Cowboys in the wildcard round where they lost a close game, 17-13.  In 1992 things took a turn for the worse for Harbaugh, the Bears and Da Coach.

Classic stuff right there.  The Bears dropped to 2-3 at that early juncture of the 1992 season after blowing a 20-0 lead and losing to the Minnesota Vikings, and they would only win three more games the rest of the year en route to a 5-11 finish.  Despite the losing ways Harbaugh had a decent year, throwing for 2,486 yards (15th-highest single season mark in team history) with 13 TDs and 12 INTs.  The disappointment of that season signaled the death knell for Ditka and the Bears brass fired the legendary coach when it was over.

Under new HC Dave Wannstedt in 1993, Harbaugh started 15 games in a season that saw the Bears go 7-9.  For the fourth straight year Harbaugh eclipsed the 2,000 yard passing mark, accumulating 2,002 yards with 7 TDs and 11 INTs in ’93.  Harbaugh signed with Indianapolis in the offseason and would play his next four years with the Colts, taking them all the way to the AFC championship game in 1995.

  • 2nd-most rushing yards for a QB in team history (1,609)
  • 3rd-most passing yards in team history (11,567)
  • 5th-winningest QB in team history (35-30)
  • 7th-most TD passes in team history (50)

Next: #3: The Punky QB