Bears Franchise Five: Jay Cutler edges Sid Luckman at QB on list of Chicago’s all-time greatest figures

With a delivery year of 1920, back when they were being identified as the Decatur Staleys two many years right before they formally turned the group we realize nowadays, the Chicago Bears have a loaded and storied history total of all-time good linebackers, one of the very best operating backs at any time, one of the best coaches in NFL history, and so on, which makes deciding upon their Franchise 5 just about not possible. Regretably, that challenging endeavor was handed to me as we continue our offseason series below at CBS Athletics, so with the assist of CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli, who also comes about to be a Bears supporter in Chicago, I did my very best to sort by the jumbled record of Hall of Famers that have donned the blue of the Bears to appear up with a Franchise 5.’s Franchise 5 dives into 5 most impactful men and women in each individual NFL’s group history. Our regulations below bind us to pick just one quarterback, three non-quarterback players and one head coach.

For the Bears, selecting a coach and quarterback was instead simple for differing factors, but selecting only three non-quarterback players was instead challenging. An NFL-high twenty-seven Chicago Bears have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. So, tough conclusions and controversial snubs had to be produced. That couldn’t be prevented.

But with the assist of Fornelli, I arrived up with a Franchise 5 that I feel correctly demonstrates the loaded and storied history of the Bears. We commence with the founder of the franchise in what was the simplest selection of the 5.

Coach George Halas

There is a cause the winner of the NFC receives awarded the George Halas Trophy, a custom that started back during the 1984-eighty five year. Halas isn’t just the Bears’ very best-at any time coach, he’s also one of the best coaches in the history of the sport. In his 40-year coaching vocation that started in 1920 with the Decatur Staleys — who would turn out to be identified as the Chicago Bears in 1922 — and ended in 1967, Halas went a exceptional 318-148-31 with the franchise, main them to 6 championships along the way.

Halas, who also owned the group, is the only acceptable reply below. His initials are nonetheless stitched on the Bears’ uniforms, immediately after all. It truly is challenging to consider them at any time receiving taken out.

This isn’t actually up for discussion, but shoutout to both equally Mike Ditka and Lovie Smith, who ought to have recognition as good Bears coaches, both equally of whom took the group to the Super Bowl — with Ditka profitable his visual appearance with that traditionally good 1985 defense, and Smith potentially not receiving the recognition he deserved until eventually the Bears tried using to swap him with Marc Trestman and then John Fox. Most likely firing Smith immediately after a 10-win year was not a sensible shift, immediately after all. In the seven seasons considering the fact that Smith previous walked the Bears’ sidelines, the Bears have produced the playoffs only once (in 2018 less than latest coach Matt Nagy)

Just skipped: Mike Ditka

QB Jay Cutler

Most likely the most underappreciated and misunderstood participant in Bears history, Jay Cutler by no means created into the superstar the Bears thought they were being obtaining when they traded a fortune for him in 2009, but by the time his vocation with the group ended immediately after the 2016 year, he’d established himself as the very best quarterback in the franchise’s history. 

Definitely, the Bears’ history of quarterback play is dreadful — so dreadful that Sid Luckman, who previous performed for the Bears in 1950, held most of the Bears’ passing documents until eventually Cutler arrived along — but Cutler departed Chicago as the team’s all-time chief in passing yards (topping Luckman by eight,757 yards) and landing passes (17 far more than Luckman). Maintain in thoughts that for most of Cutler’s key, he was participating in powering a awful offensive line and throwing to receivers like Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, and Earl Bennett. He didn’t have a lot assist. Matt Forte, a operating back, was possibly his most reliable weapon around the many years. 

With a minimal far more luck, Cutler could’ve brought a championship to Chicago, but luck was by no means on his side — a torn MCL in the NFC Championship Video game ruined his very best opportunity, a broken thumb the following year wrecked a seven-three start out to the year, a 10-win year in 2012 was not enough to qualify for the postseason, and an Aaron Rodgers’ fourth-down landing bomb to Randall Cobb ended the Bears’ 2013 year one win shorter of the playoffs. 

Cutler could possibly not be well-liked amongst Bears followers because he by no means lived up to their anticipations and by no means cared about his public notion, but that won’t make him a terrible participant. He is the very best participant to play the quarterback place in franchise history, but that won’t make him a good participant. In the finish, Cutler was superior, not good. But that nonetheless represents the very best the Bears have at any time had at quarterback. Just after seeing Mitchell Trubisky the earlier couple of seasons, Bears followers should really last but not least value Cutler for what he was: the very best they’ve seen less than middle.

Just skipped: Sid Luckman


RB Walter Payton

One particular of the very best operating backs in NFL history, Payton, who tragically handed absent in 1999 at the age of forty five, was the simplest selection on the participant side. From 1975-87, Payton totaled 21,264 yards and 125 touchdowns from scrimmage. He is the franchise’s all-time chief in hurrying yards with sixteen,726. For the sake of comparison, consider that Matt Forte ranks second with eight,602 hurrying yards. So, Payton has just about double the amount of yards as the second-main rusher in Bears history. Payton also sales opportunities the franchise in hurrying touchdowns with 110 — the upcoming closest participant, Neal Anderson, has fifty one. This time, Payton has correctly doubled up (and then some) second position. 

Payton fulfills all of the necessary specifications: He is the very best operating back in franchise history and it is not specially close, won a Super Bowl, captured MVP in 1977, and is one of the very best players at his place team in the history of soccer — only Emmitt Smith has Payton defeat in vocation hurrying yards.

If we were being ranking the major three players in Bears history, Payton would guide the record. Just get it from those who performed with and coached him. Ditka once known as Payton “the extremely very best soccer participant I have at any time seen, time period. At any place.” Meanwhile, Dan Hampton once mentioned Payton was “the very best soccer participant of our time. Bar none.” 

LB Dick Butkus 

In far more than 50 % of his nine seasons, Butkus was named very first group All-Pro, produced eight Pro Bowls, racked up 22 interceptions, and generated the ninth-highest approximate value amongst all Bears players at any time. But Butkus’ relevance to the Bears extends beyond the stats. He by no means won a Super Bowl, which would’ve enhanced his legacy, but he is regarded as one of the very best and most feared linebackers in the history of the sport.

“Dick was an animal,” mentioned Hall of Famer Deacon Jones, for each NBC Athletics Chicago. “I known as him a maniac. A stone maniac. He was a nicely-conditioned animal, and each time he hit you, he tried using to place you in the cemetery, not the hospital.”

Since the stats will not generally do him justice, let us go to the anecdotes. This one, also via NBC Athletics Chicago, could possibly be my favored:

Minnesota Vikings operating back Dave Osborne had once been annihilated by Butkus on an unwell-fated tried sweep. Osborne was requested immediately after the sport what had happened to his blocker on the play. “I will not know,” Osborne mentioned. “Probably Butkus ate him.”

Butkus retired all the way back in 1973 and he’s nonetheless regarded as one of the very best linebackers in the history of the sport. It should really stay that way. At the extremely minimum, it is challenging to consider him at any time receiving changed on a record of the very best three Bears players at any time. 

LB Brian Urlacher 

The Bears could possibly not have at any time had a certainly good quarterback, but you won’t be able to deny just how a lot of good linebackers they’ve produced. If Butkus is 1A, then Urlacher is 1B. The current Hall-of-Fame inductee wrapped up his vocation in 2012, retiring with the most solo tackles in franchise history. The starting of his vocation was marked by a Defensive Rookie of the 12 months award. Alongside the way, he won Defensive Player of the 12 months in 2005, garnered four very first group All-Pro picks, and eight Pro Bowl nods.

Urlacher, of program, by no means won a Super Bowl, but he did play an integral section in receiving the Bears to the Super Bowl in the 2006 year. He was able of performing it all: hurrying the passer as a blitzer (forty one.five vocation sacks), covering downfield (22 vocation interceptions), and stuffing the run. It truly is challenging to feel of a far more full linebacker to have performed the sport, and it is no coincidence that the Bears’ defense quickly experienced once he retired — nevertheless they’ve considering the fact that returned to kind. Urlacher is the very best Bears participant of the earlier two many years, and it is not specially close. 

Just skipped: Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton, Richard Dent