We’re all going a little stir-crazy these days, so let’s have a little fun tonight, shall we?
There’s nothing like the Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers rivalry. So, as we considered compiling the Packers’ quarterbacking success into a digestible format, we figured we’d include the team’s ancient rival.
For better or worse, depending on which side of the rivalry you find yourself on.
Now everyone knows the Packers have dominated at quarterback over the years. Many NFL fans would say in the Super Bowl Era no franchise has been better than Green Bay at quarterback citing Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. However we contend that the Packers have been great at this position from the very beginning.
In the 1920s Curly Lambeau was throwing with unprecedented success and by 1930, as a sideline walking head coach, he had a future Hall of Fame passer in Arnie Herber. A lot of people don’t realize how dominant Herber really was, but we try to explain it here.
But this quarterbacking success carried over to Cecil Isbell and Tobin Rote in the coming years, too. Rote specifically was one of the top dual threat quarterbacks of his day. Each put together absolutely fantastic seasons in their own right. In the 1950s the Packers were hapless, but that didn’t stop Rote from putting together an utterly historic 1956 season.
After Starr, the Packers had few forgettable quarterbacks before settling on a strong-armed Lynn Dickey. He put together a notable career, including an insane 1983 season. Yes, even in the “Lean Years” quarterback was one of the bright spots for this franchise.
Just how good have the Packers’ quarterbacks been lately?
Lets put it this way:
In the entire Super Bowl Era the Chicago Bears, as a franchise, have thrown 884 touchdown passes. Since 1990 alone, the Green Bay Packers have thrown 886 touchdown passes.
Yes, you read that correctly. Remember, the Super Bowl Era dates back to 1966.
The last 30 years haven’t been so kind to the Bears, as they’ve been the victim of the greatest comeback in NFL history.
How about this one? In the Bears’ entire history they’ve never had a quarterback throw at least 30 touchdowns in a single season.
In the last 25 years alone the Packers have had quarterbacks accomplish this feat 14 times. If not for injuries to Aaron Rodgers, the number would be higher, too.
Lets keep going, shall we?
The Bears have never had a quarterback win the AP MVP Award. In fact, as a franchise they’ve won the award once (the great running back Walter Payton).
The Packers have had a quarterback win AP MVP six times (eight times including other positions). In Green Bay, winning that award is a rite of passage for a starting quarterback. When juxtaposed against the situation in Chicago, it’s hard to fathom.
The Bears have had some success at quarterback though. Their best all-time quarterback was Sid Luckman who retired in 1950. We have him ranked as the 15th best quarterback in NFL history. He was great, but man, since him it’s been rough.
They’ve only had one quarterback throw for 150+ touchdowns all-time. None other than our collective favorite, Smokin’ Jay Cutler (with 154 touchdown passes). The Packers have had three different quarterbacks surpass 150 touchdowns (two surpassing 350).
The Bears’ winningest quarterback (and I know, “quarterback wins aren’t a stat, blah, blah”) is Cutler. His overall record with the Bears? 51-51. Seriously. It sums up his career perfectly.
You could literally triple Cutlers’ wins, the winningest quarterback in Bears history, and he still wouldn’t have as many wins as Green Bay’s winningest quarterback.
Speaking of, the Packers’ winningest quarterback, Favre, won 160 games while in Green Bay. Starr, who played 55 more games than Cutler, lost just six more games. Rodgers, who has already played 72 more games that Cutler did as a Bear, has only lost nine more games.
Some of these numbers are staggering.
The Bears have had quarterbacks selected to the Pro Bowl 15 times in 100 years, just twice in the Super Bowl Era. Twice!
The Packers have had a quarterback selected to that game 28 times, 19 times in the Super Bowl Era.
Now lets look at First Team All-Pro selections. The Bears have zero selections in the Super Bowl Era.
Green Bay has had a quarterback named First Team All-Pro six times in the Super Bowl Era.
Okay, that’s enough fun at the Bears’ expense… for now.
Some records that Packers quarterbacks enjoy:
Brett Favre is the only player to ever win three consecutive AP MVP Awards. And his starting streak of 297 games, including 253 consecutive with the Packers, will likely never be broken.
Aaron Rodgers currently has the highest rating (102.4) in NFL history, minimum 50 starts. Rodgers was the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 300 touchdowns without also throwing 100 interceptions. As you can guess, he has the highest TD/INT Ratio in league history.
Bart Starr has the highest postseason rating (104.8) in NFL history. Starr was also the first two-time Super Bowl MVP Award winner, accomplished when he led his team to win the first two Super Bowls.
All-Time Quarterback Franchises:
The only other franchises in NFL history that can even begin to talk about all-time quarterback success in the same breath of the Packers are the Indianapolis Colts (including their time in Baltimore of course) and the San Fransisco 49ers. Both of those franchises have two all-time greats to boast about. Remember though, the Packers have four (three in the Super Bowl Era).
Pittsburgh, Denver, Dallas, Miami, and New York could also put together ultimately feeble arguments that they’re actually the best all-time quarterback franchise.
Three of the top 11 quarterbacks in NFL history, and four of the top 22, have been stars for the Green Bay Packers. We stand behind that claim as fact, not opinion. See our reasoning here, as we rank the top 50 quarterbacks in NFL history.
Was this piece groundbreaking? Of course not, but we think it did a good job of putting the Packers’ quarterback success into proper context. It explains the difference between these the Packers and the Bears. Yes, Chicago historically has had the better linebackers and running backs, but the NFL is a quarterback game after all. If you don’t have an elite passer, you cannot stay a dominant team for an extended period of time — especially now.
Chicago knows this better than most franchises.
The Green Bay Packers have been so blessed with quarterbacking success dating back to The Great Depression. But be warned Packer Nation: once Aaron Rodgers retires, this franchise is due for some pretty rough quarterback play for awhile. But who knows, this franchise’s quarterback culture seems to always regenerate. Maybe the impossible will continue to happen and they’ll find another Hall of Fame talent under center.
We doubt it, but hey, we’ll gladly be wrong!
We had a lot of fun putting this quick piece together, so thanks for reading. And for any Bears fans that stumble upon this, know it’s all in good fun. We adore this rivalry and its fabled history.
As always, Go Pack Go!