No. 3: 1995 — Erik Kramer vs. Steve Walsh
Listen to this quote, and tell me it doesn’t remind you of a certain someone or two:
"“If we get into a situation where we have to call on him, we’ll have a certain level of confidence knowing he has been out there in tough situations before and he has won before.”"
That might sound like a Matt Nagy press conference later this season, but for now, it’s just a quote from former Chicago Bears former player personnel director Rod Graves, when asked why Erik Kramer — and not Steve Walsh — wasn’t named the starter in 1995.
The dynamic of the Bears at this time was hilarious in its own right. In former Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke’s piece detailing the two’s dismay for one another, head coach Dave Wannstedt gave us another quote that could be copied-and-pasted into any era. It wouldn’t be about who made the most great plays, it’d be about who made the fewest bad ones.
Inspiring. And just like each of the aforementioned two scenarios, the two had to play it out in a position battle. There was speculation that Kramer was given extra benefits — first-team reps, more opportunities, etc — and that’s still a subject for debate. To his credit, Walsh ran with an opportunity in 1994, filling in for Kramer after a shoulder injury sidelined him. He helped the Chicago Bears to an 8-3 record, won them a Wild Card game, and even had a positive touchdown-interception ratio.
Like a professional writer who has to give up a belt without actually getting pinned for it, Kramer was back in 1995 with a vengeance, throwing for 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Best of all, he showed us what happens when you can silence quarterback controversy talk for a season. The Bears were a success (um, 9-7).
The rest of his Bears tenure was mostly injury-riddled. With Walsh gone, the Bears turned to Dave Krieg, a 38-year-old, a gritty thrower nicknamed “Mudbone,” who was so old, his college no longer existed when he played in Chicago. Fun times, I guess?