When you think of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in the last 20 years, you probably think of the greats like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning. More than likely, you forget about Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks like Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer.
There are two things the latter quarterbacks have in common, their teams had great defenses that carried them through the playoffs and they reinforced those defense by not making crucial mistakes.
In the 2017 NFL draft, the Bears traded up to draft Mitchell Trubisky. That trade made Trubisky the number two overall player selected and forever bound him to comparisons with Chiefs wonder boy, Pat Mahomes, and the Houston Texan’s, Deshaun Watson.
Regardless of how good Mahomes and Watson become, the Bears don’t need to Trubisky to become the gunslinging playmakers that Mahomes and Watson appear to be in order to go deep in the playoffs. With the caliber of defense that Vic Fangio has orchestrated on the Lakefront, the Bears only need Trubisky to be mediocre.
Through 13 games this season, the Bears are third in total points allowed (264), trailing only the Titans (254) and the Ravens (253). They are second behind Baltimore in yards allowed per a play (4.8) and they are first in scoring percentage defense at 28.4%.
In Super Bowl XXXV, the Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7 to win their first Super Bowl. Their starting quarterback was Trent Dilfer, who in four playoff games completed 35 of 73 passes (47.9%) for three touchdowns and one interception with a quarterback rating of 83.7.
In the regular season that year, Baltimore was first in total points allowed with 165, they were first in yards allowed per a play at 4.3, and they were first in scoring percentage defense (15.5%).
Similarly, the 2002 Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers were “led” by starting quarterback, Brad Johnson. Johnson in 3 playoff starts completed 53 of 98 passes (54.1%) for five touchdowns and three interceptions for a quarterback rating of 79.9.
The Buccaneers defense also terrorized opposing offenses that season. Led by Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp, they were first in points allowed (196), first in yards allowed per a play (4.2), and first in scoring percentage (17.8%).
This past Sunday, Trubisky and the revitalized Monsters of the Midway clinched their first division title since 2010 while simultaneously crushing the last ditch playoff hopes of the Green Bay Packers.
Trubisky in that game was exactly what the Bears needed him to be, smart with the football. He was 20 of 28 with two touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s exactly the bounce-back performance this Bears offense needed out of him. With this win over the Packers, the Bears, barring any serious injuries, have a legitimate opportunity to reach, shhh…don’t say it…the Super Bowl.
In 2006, a Similar Bears defense lost to the Colts in the Super Bowl.
That ’06 defense during the regular season was third in points allowed (255), second in yards per a play (4.6) and third in scoring percentage defense (20.6%). Those rankings nearly replicate what the Bears are doing now.
In that 06′ Super Bowl, starting Quarterback, Rex Grossman completed 20 of 28 passes for one touchdown and two interceptions. One of those interceptions came on the Bear’s first possession of the fourth quarter and was returned for a touchdown by Colt’s defensive back, Kelvin Hayden essentially sealing the 29-17 victory for the Colts. It’s mistakes like those and the three interceptions Trubisky had against the Rams in week 14 that sometimes make it impossible for a great defense to secure a victory.
I realize that Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer are just a couple of “game managing” quarterbacks that have won a Super Bowl but don’t forget about how many mediocre quarterbacks have made it to the Super Bowl behind great defenses.
I also realize the NFL has changed drastically from 2000 to 2018. Offenses have been given every advantage. However, after the Bears defense dominated the usually high powered Rams offense in week 14 at Soldier Field despite Trubisky’s three interceptions, it became obvious that this Bear’s defense is poised to make a deep playoff run. So, as disappointing it may sound, the Bears only need Trubisky to be Trent Dilfer and they can win a Super Bowl. It might not be what we want our quarterback to be as Bears fans, but it’s the truth.