Updated: Oct 29
The Chargers know a thing or two about the Quarterback Desert. They have wandered it twice since Dan Fouts retired in 1988 at 36-years-old. Those two gaps in quarterback play could be divided into two comically bad five-year eras titled: Before Humphries and After Humphries.
The names "Babe" Laufenberg, Mark Vlasic, Billy Joe Tolliver, John Friesz, Bob Gagliano, Craig Wheilihan, and Moses Moreno should arrive with lugubrious recognition for any Chargers fans old enough to remember. If one of these guys was your starting quarterback then the odds are your team was taking the L. Those names combined to start 70 games for the Chargers and went 20-50 (.286 win percentage).
Stan Humphries arrived via a trade during the 1992 preseason after John Friesz, their starter, suffered a season-ending knee injury and after learning the playbook took the team to a division title and a playoff victory—their first in a decade! Though it seemed like Humphries was perpetually being taken off the field and examined on the trainer's table, when he was whole he was a winner ; as evident in being the only Charger quarterback to ever play in a Super Bowl.
That said, no team knows the Quarterback Desert better than the Chicago Bears.
After Sid Luckman and Jim McMahon you would be hard-pressed to find a third Bear to chisel onto a hypothetical Mount Rushmore of Chicago QBs. In recent years the Bears passed on drafting Patrick Mahomes in a draft in which they selected Mitch Trubisky. Cue an audible groan from the Windy City.
The list is much too long to go into here, but if you ever want to go down that rabbit hole the names are worth the exercise . One of the funniest things about delving into quarterback purgatory is seeing how many of the names showed up on both lists. In other words, the names of the quarterbacks who started games for both franchises; the Venn diagram of the Bears and Bolts wandering through the QB Desert looking for Him.
The Punky Qb himself, Jim McMahon, is the most famous amongst them. McMahon's personality clash with coach Mike Ditka was so toxic by 1989 that the team agreed to trade him to San Diego for a conditional second round pick. Unfortunately for the Chargers his antiauthoritarian tendencies chafed Dan Henning so badly that he was jettisoned after one season in which he started eleven games and won only four.
The others? Dying of thirst, both teams took drinks from water bottles labelled: Jim Harbaugh, Doug Flutie, Eric Kramer and Moses Moreno.
For the Bears, and their fans, the search for quarterback dates all the way back to Sid Luckman. Owner, general manager, head coach, and founding father of the NFL, George Halas convinced Luckman, a halfback from Columbia into signing with the Bears after trading up in the 1939 draft. In those days professional football still had a unsavory reputation and Luckman told Halas that he had wasted a draft pick on him.
Rich Cohen chronicled the courtship in his book Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Pro Football.
"Well, what the hell do you plan to do?" Halas asked.
"I'm going into the trucking business." said Luckman.
Halas, ever the negotiator, eventually got his man and together they authored fantastical pages of NFL history together. Luckman became a master of the T-formation which revolutionized the game after Hallas used it to decimate his competitors.
In the 1940 Championship Game Luckman's Bears put together a performance so dominant it has never been matched. The goalposts did not have netting behind them to catch the footballs after a field goal or an extra point so they would fly into the stands and become souvenirs. Referee Red Friesel began the game with 12 balls. In the middle of the fourth quarter he told the Bears that if they scored again they would have to convert the extra point via a run, or a pass. Friesel had run out of footballs!
The final score was Bears 73, Redskins 0.
In the early 1940's the Bears domination resulted in two more championships—a stretch punctuated by a twenty-four game winning streak. The championship careers of Luckman and his teammates would be interrupted by America's entry into World War II. On Nov. 14, 1943, Luckman enlisted in the war effort himself, as a merchant marine.
The following day Luckman threw a record seven touchdowns, breaking the Redskin's Sammy Baugh’s two-week-old record and leading the Bears to a 56-7 win over the Giants. His 433 yards passing shattering the Green Bay Packer Cecil Isbell’s single-game record of 333 set in 1942.
As difficult as it is to imagine, for a moment at least, the Chicago Bears laid claim to the best quarterback in the game.
Borrowing from the Greek Uncles in Chicago, you could say that the egress from Luckman to undrafted free agent Tyson Bagent is longer, and more precarious, than the one travelled by Odysseus to Ithaca.
All you need to know is that Justin Herbert's record as a starter is 27-28. Bagent has never lost.
The Chargers, and their fans, think that Justin Herbert's face should be on a different Mount Rushmore—the one with Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Josh Allen. You have no right to be up there if you can't beat the brakes off of Tyson Bagent on Sunday night.
SEO: NFL Predictions LA Chargers Bears
Bears vs. Chargers Predictions
Bolt Bros Podcast
Kyle Sawyer (Season Record 3-3)
The "Broracle" reads the runes!
EIHWAZ. There have been many changes in the history of the Chargers. Discipline and standing true to one's principles has always been the best course of action in history.
RAIDHO. This journey the Chargers are on demands a different perspective for this week against the Chicago Bears. The run game needs to step up.
JERA. Now is the time to reap the rewards of all that we have worked up for, and all that was promised. The remaining schedule looks bright for the team and we should be able to continue the upward trend all the way to the end.
Chargers 31 - Bears 24
Rivers Lake Yacht Club
Señor Snappy (Season Record 1-2)
A wise woman once said “What’s he supposed to do? Pass the ball to himself?”
She wasn’t talking about Justin Herbert in 2023, but she might have done. With Josh Palmer unable to practice this week with a knee injury and Mike Dub recovering from season-ending surgery (did you get a message on the Brisket Broads’ handmade get-well card? Tell us what you wrote in the comments!) the struggling Chargers offense is going to have to change its ways to beat a stiff (but vulnerable) Bears defense.
Mid-season quarterback replacements scare the heck out of me, because the Chargers haven’t had a great record in the past few years against them.
Still, this is a primetime game and a must win situation. I still believe Herbert can find a way, so long as the defense plays as well as they did last week.
Chargers 27 - Bears 21
Kea Humilde (Season Record 2-4)
Chicago Bears or Chicago Cubs? Hard to tell with the way this Chicago team has been playing.
With Tyson Bagent under center and the second worst 3rd down defense in the league, it’s safe to say we’ll be playing some cubs instead of Da Bears.
Our Bolts have been in a hibernation of their own, warming up for this battle with a hungry (former) bear in Khalil Mack. Bolt up guys, we’re in for a grizzly one.
Chargers 28 - Bears 10
Mark White (Season Record 4-2)
The battle of two 2-4 teams—one arguably more deserving of that record than the other. The Chargers have been a let down so far, and it may not get better with Tyson “French” Bagent at the helm. The NFL loves storylines so I wouldn’t be shocked to see “Bagent out duels Herbert!” come Monday morning. But I doubt it though.
Chargers will take this one. (Yuck)
Chargers 31 - Bears 28
The Greek Uncles in Chicago
Abram Sexson and Panos Mamalis (Season Record 3-3)
He is reputed to have carried three cannons, firing them without losing his footing. Panagis Koutalianos, in the legacy of Greek strongmen from Hercules to Kyriakos Grizzly, travelled the world demonstrating his strength.
Koutalianos may as well have been from the City of Big Shoulders. We reversed the flow of the Chicago River, built the nation’s first skyscraper and the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction on the University of Chicago’s Football Field nonetheless.
Bagent’s seed is strong. His dad Travis is 23-year-veteran world champion strongman/arm wrestler with over 417 titles. Built Bagent-Strong, on Sunday Tyler’s gonna fire his nuclear canon Chicago style.
Bears 24 - Chargers 21
Thunder Down Under Podcast
Jack Reed (Season Record 2-4)
Tyson Bagent is playing his second game in the NFL. We should beat them by three touchdowns. If we don't win this game by two touchdowns then it is an utter failure. If not, then the holidays come early. See you after Christmas.
Chargers 35 - Bears 10
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