Can Mitch Trubisky be the one to rewrite Bears history after 99 seasons of franchise mediocrity at quarterback?

Chicago Tribune Sports 2 months ago
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky high-fives fans during the Bears100 Celebration Weekend at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont on June 7, 2019. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky takes a picture for a fan before a preseason game against the Titans at Soldier Field on Aug. 29, 2019. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky gets pumped up before a preseason game against the Panthers at Soldier Field on Aug. 8, 2019. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky practices May 22, 2019, at Halas Hall. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears offensive tackle Charles Leno, left, and quarterback Mitch Trubisky practice May 22, 2019, at Halas Hall. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, center, takes a selfie with punter Pat O'Donell, left, and former Bears tight end Zach Miller during the annual Bears Care Gala on May 18, 2019, at Soldier Field. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky and Hillary Gallagher arrive on the orange carpet during the annual Bears Care Gala on May 18, 2019, at Soldier Field. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky leaves the field after the Bears lost to the Eagles in a wild-card round game at Soldier Field on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) makes a pass as Eagles defensive ends Brandon Graham (55) and Chris Long (56) apply pressure in the fourth quarter of a wild-card round game at Soldier Field on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) hands the ball to a referee in the fourth quarter of a wild-card round game against the Eagles on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) scrambles out of bounds ahead of Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) in the second quarter of a wild-card round game at Soldier Field on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) gives instructions during the second quarter of a wild-card round game against the Eagles at Soldier Field on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) celebrates a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) in the huddle against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) looks down to offensive live during the firstst quarter against the Vikingsat U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky and coach Matt Nagy prepare to face the Vikings on Dec. 30, 2018,  in Minneapolis. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky looks on as the 49ers take the field during player introductions on Dec. 23, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky runs the ball in the fourth quarter against the 49ers on Dec. 23, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky yells to the sideline in the fourth quarter against the 49ers on Dec. 23, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky signs an autograph for a disabled fan prior to a game against the 49ers on Dec. 23, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky celebrates with fans after the Bears defeated the Packers to clinch the NFC North title on Dec. 16, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky puts on a NFC North champions hat after the Bears defeated the Packers to clinch the division on Dec. 16, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up on the field before the Bears play the Packers on Dec. 16, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky walks on the field before the Bears play the Packers on Dec. 16, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky celebrates after the Bears defeated the Packers to clinch the NFC North title on Dec. 16, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky runs the ball during the first half against the Packers on Dec. 16, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky hugs Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after the Bears defeated the Packers to clinch the NFC North title on Dec. 16, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky points toward running back Tarik Cohen after Cohen scored a touchdown in the second quarter against the Packers on Dec. 16, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky scrambles against the Rams in the first quarter Dec. 9, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky passes against the Rams in the first quarter Dec. 9, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky scrambles away from Rams linebacker Dante Fowler in the first quarter Dec. 9, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up to face the Rams on Dec. 9, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky walks off the field following a 15-6 win over the Rams on Dec. 9, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky avoids Rams linebacker Dante Fowler before he is sacked by other Rams players in the first quarter Dec. 9, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky and receiver Allen Robinson celebrate a win over the Rams on Dec. 9, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky talks with Giants quarterback Eli Manning at the end of a game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky watches the game from the sidelines in the first quarter against the Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky watches the game against the Lions from the sidelines at Ford Field on Nov. 22, 2018. The Bears, with QB Chase Daniel, won 23-16. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) gestures against the Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) celebrates as the team finishes the first half against the Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) runs out during player introductions before facing the Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up to face the Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback MitchTrubisky (10) points after running for a first down during the second half against the Lions at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) rushes in the second quarter against the Lions at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) reacts after his touchdown against the Lions during the second quarter at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) spikes the ball after his touchdown against the Lions during the first half at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky walks off the field after winning on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bears defeated the Bills 41-9. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) nearly scores a touchdown on a scramble in the second quarter of a game against the Bills at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) fumbles under pressure from Bills linebacker Julian Stanford (51) in the first quarter Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky takes the field against the Bills on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky is congratulated by quarterback Chase Daniel, right, after the Bears scored a touchdown on a run by Jordan Howard in the fourth quarter against the Jets at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller (17) and quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) celebrate after a touchdown catch by Miller in the third quarter against the Jets at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky looks downfield before making a throw in the third quarter against the Jets at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky stands behind the line during the first half against the Jets at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky walks on the field during the second half against the Jets at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky meets Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after the game on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. The Patriots defeated the Bears 38-31 at Soldier Field. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws against the Patriots in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky looks to throw in the second quarter against the Patriots at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) tries to run from Patriots defensive back Jonathan Jones (31) in the first quarter at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky rushes for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Patriots at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) rushes for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Patriots at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky (10) and Chase Daniel (4) enter the field to warm up before a game against the Patriots at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky signs autographs before a game against the Patriots at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, right, gives a fist bump to P.J. Spizzirri, 5, before a game against the Patriots at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) throws in the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before a game against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before a game against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky smiles as he runs off the field after his team's Week 4 win over the Buccaneers at Soldier Field on Sept. 30, 2018. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws during the first half against the Buccaneers at Soldier Field on Sept. 30, 2018. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears wide receiver Josh Bellamy celebrates with quarterback Mitch Trubisky after scoring a touchdown against the Buccaneers at Soldier Field on Sept. 30, 2018. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) walks off the field after the Bears defeated the Cardinals 16-14 at State Farm Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) runs the ball during the second half against the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 in Glendale, Ariz. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) sits on the bench after fumbling the ball during the first half against the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 in Glendale, Ariz. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) walks on the field during the first half against the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 in Glendale, Ariz. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky fumbles the ball during the first half against the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 in Glendale, Ariz. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) talks in the huddle in the first quarter against the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller (17) and quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) celebrate after their victory over the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) talks with the Seahawks' Mychal Kendricks after the Bears defeated the Seahawks 24-17 at Soldier Field on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) heads to the sideline after throwing a touchdown reception in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks at Soldier Field on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) looks for an open receiver during the second quarter against the Seahawks at Soldier Field on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before a game against the Seahawks at Soldier Field, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky chats with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers after the Packers beat the Bears 24-23 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Sept. 9, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) runs past the Packers defense in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky is stopped by Packers defensive back Tramon Williams as he runs for some yards during the second half on Sept. 9, 2018, in Green Bay. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky runs for some yardage against the Packers during the first quarter on Sept. 9, 2018, in Green Bay. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky stares down a Green Bay Packers defensive back Tramon Williams on Sept. 9, 2018, in Green Bay. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky throws a pass late in the fourth quarter against the Packers on Sept. 9, 2018, in Green Bay. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Packers linebacker Nick Perry is surrounded by teammates after he sacked Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky late in the fourth quarter on Sept. 9, 2018, in Green Bay. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky sit on the bench as time ticks down late in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sept. 9, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Green Packers linebacker Nick Perry sacks  Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and forces a fumble late in the fourth quarter on Sept. 9, 2018, in Green Bay. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky takes a high snap against the Packers in the fourth quarter on Sept. 9, 2018, in Green Bay. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before the game against the Packers on Sept. 9, 2018, in Green Bay. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky watches a preseason game against the Bills from the sideline on Aug. 30, 2018, at Soldier Field. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before a preseason game at Soldier Field on Aug. 30, 2018. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky gives a fan his armband after the Bears defeated the Chiefs 27-20 in a preseason game at Soldier Field on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) walks on the field during warm-ups before a preseason game against the Chiefs at Soldier Field, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky practices with the team at Vernon Hills High School Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, in Vernon Hills. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky attends a practice at Vernon Hills High School on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, in Vernon Hills. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb hits Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky in the end zone for a safety during the first half of a preseason game Aug. 18, 2018, in Denver. (Dustin Bradford / Getty Images)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky stands in the tunnel before a preseason game against the Broncos during a preseason game on Aug. 18, 2018 in Denver. (Dustin Bradford / Getty Images)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, right, signs a jersey of a fan after drills during a joint practice with the Broncos on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in Englewood, Colo. (David Zalubowski / AP)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky hands off the ball to running back Taquan Mizzell (33) in the first half of a preseason game against the Bengals on Aug. 9, 2018. (Gary Landers / AP)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky looks to pass in the first half a preseason game against the Bengals on Aug. 9, 2018. (Frank Victores / AP)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky at training camp in Bourbonnais on Aug. 7, 2018. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky signs autographs for fans after the Hall of Fame Game against the Ravens at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) reacts after a touchdown reception by Michael Burton in the first quarter of the Hall of Fame Game against the Ravens at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 2, 2018. (Joe Robbins / Getty Images)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up for the Hall of Fame Game against the Ravens at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich chats with quarterback Mitch Trubisky at the start of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais on Thursday, July 26, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) jogs at the start of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky takes part of drills during training camp, Sunday, July 22, 2018, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky speaks as the Bears report to training camp, Thursday, July 19, 2018 at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky poses for a selfie with Aerahan Skanthakumar, 15, of Napreville. Trubisky participated in the Offense-Defense Football Camp on behalf of the 14th annual Gatorade Beat the Heat program in Naperville on Monday, July 2, 2018. (James C. Svehla / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky jokes with media about his beard after participating in the Offense-Defense Football Camp on behalf of the 14th annual Gatorade Beat the Heat program in Naperville on Monday, July 2, 2018. (James C. Svehla / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) warms up at organized team activities held at Halas Hall in Lake Forest on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) stretches at organized team activities held at Halas Hall in Lake Forest on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky at voluntary minicamp at Halas Hall on April 17, 2018. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) and the Bears offense fail to score in the red zone during the 4th quarter on Sunday, Dec. 31. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) feels the pressure during the 2nd half on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 in Minneapolis. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) in the fourth quarter against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) feels the pressure as his team takes possession of the ball near the Vikings' goal line during the first half on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) hits the ground after a complete pass in the third quarter against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) is sacked by Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) in the fourth quarter on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) puts pressure on Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) in the third quarter on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) is tackled for a safety in the second quarter against the Vikings on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) runs the ball during the first half against the Browns on Dec. 24, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) signs autographs after the Bears defeated the Browns, 20-3, at Soldier Field on Dec. 24, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) talks with Browns defensive tackle Danny Shelton (55) after the Bears defeated the Browns on Dec. 24, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) throws a pass during the second half against the Browns on Dec. 24, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) celebrates his touchdown during the third quarter on Dec. 24, 2017. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) runs on the field before the first half against the Browns on Dec. 24, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) walks to the bench after throwing an interception to end the Bears drive in the fourth quarter against the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky chats on the bench with teammates before a game against the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky runs in for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Bengals on Dec. 10, 2017 at Paul Brown Stadium. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky throws a deep ball in the 3rd quarter of a game against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Dec. 10, 2017. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) walks to congratulate players after losing to the 49ers at Soldier Field, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) waits for a snap in the second quarter against the 49ers at Soldier Field, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) picks up a fumble in the third quarter against the 49ers at Soldier Field, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) calls a play in the first quarter against the 49ers at Soldier Field, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) tries to inspire his offensive line during the second half against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) scrambles away from the Eagles defense in the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Philadelphia. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before a game against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Philadelphia. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) runs for a first down during the final minutes of the fourth quarter of a game between the Lions and the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) hits the ground after running for a few yards during the second half against the Lions at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) runs the ball during the first half against the Lions at Soldier Field on Sunday Nov. 19 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) fumbles the ball before Lions defensive back D.J. Hayden would recover it for a touchdown during the first half at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 19 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) looks for an open receiver during the first half against the Lions at Soldier Field on Sunday Nov. 19 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) winds up to throw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Bellamy in the fourth quarter against the Packers at Soldier Field Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) is sacked by  Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) and defensive end Mike Daniels (76) in the second quarter Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 at Soldier Field. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) throws against the Packers in the first quarter at Soldier Field Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) is tripped up by Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) during the second half of their game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) directs the offense in the first half of a game against the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) throws a pass in the second quarter of a game against the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) smiles as he exits Soldier Field following a victory against the Panthers, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (Alyssa Pointer / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) is tackled by Panthers offensive tackle Daryl Williams (60) a few feet from the goal line during the second quarter of a game at Soldier Field, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (Alyssa Pointer / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) handles the ball during the first half against the Panthers at Soldier Field Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) celebrates the teram's 27-24 win against the Ravens on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) throws a pass during the first half against the Vikings at Soldier Field on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) stands behind the line during the first half against the Vikings at Soldier Field on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) looks to throw a pass during the second quarter against the Vikings at Soldier Field on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Bears quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky (10) and Mike Glennon (8) warm up before a game against the Packers at Lambeau Field on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky leaves the field after the Bears' Week 2 loss to the Bucs on Sept. 17, 2017. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky walks on the field after the Bears lost to the Falcons 23-17 in the Bears season opener at Solider Field on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky before the start of the game against the Falcons at Soldier Field on Sunday, Sept., 10, 2017. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky takes the field before the start of the game against the Falcons at Soldier Field on Sunday, Sept., 10, 2017. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up for a preseason game against the Browns at Soldier Field on Aug. 31, 2017. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky has a laugh on the field after a preseason game against the Browns at Soldier Field on Aug. 31, 2017. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Mitch Trubisky sit on the bench during the second half of a preseason game against the Cardinals on Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (Ralph Freso / AP)
Bears quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky and Mike Glennon sign autographs after practice at Prospect High School on Aug. 17, 2017. (Kamil Krzaczynski / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws a touchdown pass to wide receiver Victor Cruz during the first half of the preseason opener against the Broncos at Solider Field on Aug. 10, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky hands the ball off to Deon Bush during the second half of the preseason opener against the Broncos at Solider Field on Aug. 10, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky runs the ball during the second half of the preseason opener against the Broncos at Solider Field on Aug. 10. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Michael Burton celebrates with Mitch Trubisky after Trubisky made a touchdown pass to Victor Cruz during the first half of the preseason opener against the Broncos at Solider Field on Aug. 10, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky watches the 4th quarter of the game against the Bucs from the sideline on Sept. 17, 2017. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky warms up before the the preseason opener against the Broncos at Solider Field on Aug. 10, 2017. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky at training camp on Aug. 7, 2017. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky hands off to Benny Cunningham during training camp on Aug. 7, 2017. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky warms up before an exhibition against the Titans on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (Mark Zaleski / AP)
Introduction of the Bears quarterbacks Mark Sanchez (6), Mitch Trubisky (10) and Mike Glennon (8) at Family Fest at Soldier Field on Aug. 5, 2017. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky during the Family Fest at Soldier Field on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up during training camp at Olivet Nazarene University on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 in Bourbonnais. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky is pushed out of bounds in the second quarter of a preseason game against the Browns on Aug. 31, 2017. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky practices during training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais on Monday, July 31, 2017. (Alexandra Wimley / Chicago Tribune)
Mitch Trubisky greets fans after an exhibition against the Titans on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. The Bears won 19-7. (Mark Zaleski / AP)
Mitch Trubisky (10) looks for a receiver as running back Jordan Howard (24) blocks Titans cornerback Brice McCain (23) in the second half of an exhibition on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (Mark Zaleski / AP)
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky talks with members of the press during Bears minicamp at Halas Hall Wednesday June 12, 2019, in Lake Forest, Ill. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune) (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Jim McMahon, left, and Mitchell Trubisky participate in a panel conversation during the Bears100 Celebration at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center Saturday, June 8, 2019, in Rosemont. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune) (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Soldier Field in Chicago on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune) (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) at training camp in Bourbonnais on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune) (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) during warm ups at training camp in Bourbonnais on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune) (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

The gleam in Mitch Trubisky’s smile is even brighter than usual. The bounce in his walk is undeniable. Trubisky’s “What’s up?” nod followed by a handshake and half-bro hug comes with added vigor.

And why shouldn’t this be the case?

The quarterback has just come from center stage at the Bears100 Celebration in Rosemont and he’s feeling the high of the morning’s pep rally.

For an hour, Trubisky sat in an armchair swapping stories with Jim McMahon, the only quarterback in franchise history to win a Super Bowl.

“That,” Trubisky says, “was pretty sweet.”

McMahon came bearing gifts — a headband and a pair of shades, naturally.

“Now you’re ready to go, kid,” the Punky QB said.

But McMahon also came to impart wisdom, reminding the current Bears starter to play with passion and fire, to balance his competitiveness with patience and to always have fun.

His most resounding advice is still echoing as Trubisky beams in a private atrium of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

“This is a hard-working town,” McMahon told him. “And these fans appreciate hard-working players. ... If you play hard for Chicago, they’ll love you. And if you play hard and win, they’ll love you forever.”

Trubisky sees this entire June weekend as a can of Red Bull for his already high-energy existence. The Bears and their fans have united to celebrate 99 years of rich history with a shared belief that Season No. 100 will be among the greatest of all. But the unspoken reminder also seems to be lurking, pumping through the convention center ventilation system and seemingly confirmed by the nodding of the oversized George Halas bobblehead at the entrance.

It’s Trubisky who is the linchpin of everything, the growing young quarterback with star potential yet so much more to prove. It’s his performance that may well be the most pivotal in determining how the Bears’ 2019 script ends.

If Trubisky is everything the front office and coaching staff has advertised, there’s reason to believe he can lead his team to the Super Bowl — this winter. But if his development becomes overly bumpy, if his performances are consistently middle of the road? God, it’s hard to know if this football city can survive another such tease.

Trubisky knows these are the stakes, that these conversations continue to be had in a city that has seen too many quarterback experiments go haywire. But frankly, he also doesn’t really care.

The pressure of trying to lead one of the NFL’s charter franchises back to the sport’s grandest glory? “Honestly,” Trubisky says, “the simplest way I can put it is, ‘Let’s go.’ When your chance comes, you try to make the most of it.”

So here we are, with the curtain of the 2019 season about to be raised when the Bears face the Packers on Thursday night at Soldier Field. Yet somewhat ironically, the Bears begin this, their 100th season, still dealing with a level of quarterback uncertainty. No organization has been at this whole football thing longer. Yet no team has had nearly as much difficulty creating stability at the sport’s most important position.

In the Super Bowl era alone — that’s 53 seasons in all — the Bears have sent 49 quarterbacks out to start at least one game. The merry-go-round has spun fast enough at times to give an entire city vertigo.

Through that lens, Trubisky understands what Bears fans desperately want him to be — the drought breaker, the at-long-last savior, the long-term fix to the cog in the machine that has so often been broken.

Yet Chicago will continue keeping tabs on his development with a combination of hope and trepidation.

As warm as the hugs often are at events like the Bears100 Celebration, Trubisky has also been bombarded with harsh criticism over his first two seasons and 26 starts. Some of it has been justified. Some of the knocks, he has come to realize, stem from a fan base’s deeper scars, frustrations that are older than him.

“I had to realize those feelings might sometimes be displaced,” Trubisky says. “This anger and this frustration these fans have had in the past with losing teams and losing quarterbacks gets taken out on me.

“And I’m still unproven. Which is obvious — to them and to me. So I put myself in their shoes and look at myself and say, ‘OK, I understand where they’re coming from.’ But at the same time that won’t define who I am as a person and what I’m able to do throughout my career.”

To some extent, the Bears’ lengthy track record of mediocrity at quarterback creates a low bar for the 25-year-old quarterback to clear. The organization’s record book is Trubisky’s to rewrite. With the headband and sunglasses, McMahon also should have given Trubisky a red pen.

By passing yards alone, the Bears’ single-season record is a modest total of 3,838 set by Erik Kramer during a 9-7 season in 1995, when Trubisky was still in diapers. (No other franchise’s single-season record is so low.)

The Bears’ record for passer rating in a season? That’s held by journeyman Josh McCown — who turned five starts and three relief appearances in 2013 into a 109.0 mark.

It’s also staggering to note that no Bears quarterback has ever thrown 30 touchdown passes in a season. In the 21st century alone, 26 quarterbacks have reached that milestone at least once, a fraternity that includes the obvious names — Favre, Brady, Manning, Brees — but also run-of-the-mill dudes such as Jeff Garcia, Andy Dalton, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr.

Last season, Chiefs quarterback and league MVP Patrick Mahomes threw 50 touchdown passes in his first full years as a starter. Eight others joined him in the 30-TD club.

In 99 years, the Bears have had only three quarterbacks (Jay Cutler, Kramer and Sid Luckman) who have topped 25 TDs.

Jeff Joniak pushes his left hand into his temple, rubs it from one eyebrow to the other, then down over his mouth and chin. He closes both eyes tightly, looking as if he has just been given a $2,500 mechanic’s estimate for what he thought would be a routine oil change.

In a leather-bound journal in front of him, Joniak has scribbled the names of the quarterbacks who have started for the Bears since he became the team’s radio play-by-play announcer in 2001. His list, though, is incomplete.

Shane Matthews: check.

Kyle Orton and Brian Griese: check.

Rex Grossman, Cutler and Trubisky: check.

Kordell Stewart?

“Was he really during my time?” Joniak asks. “Really?”

Brian Hoyer?

“Forgot about him too.”

That initial anguish on Joniak’s face is understandable. Over 18 seasons, he has had an at-the-mic view for eight Week 1 starters and 22 starting quarterbacks overall.

“That’s a lot,” he says. “That’s really a lot. Oh, man. The trial and error. It’s just been the endless look for ‘the guy.’”

Still, it doesn’t take Joniak long to identify the highest of emotional highs in that time period and the lowest of lows. He was on spring break in Boca Raton, Fla., playing softball with his daughters on April 3, 2009, when general manager Jerry Angelo pulled off the blockbuster trade to acquire Cutler from the Broncos. Joniak’s phone wouldn’t stop buzzing.

Bears fans seemed to believe they had finally received their Super Bowl golden key. At the airport the next day, a stranger accosted Joniak and went in for a hug.

“This guy comes up to me wearing Bears sneakers and he’s crying,” Joniak says. “Literally. He’s yelling, ‘We got our quarterback!’ And I hadn’t even gotten out of the Ft. Lauderdale airport yet.”

If only the next eight seasons had produced more of that Cutler euphoria …

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Joniak will always remember the look on Angelo’s face in August 2005 when Rex Grossman — promising first-round pick in 2003 and injured for the final 13 games of 2004 — broke his left ankle in a preseason game in St. Louis.

“I can still feel the absolute anger that Jerry felt knowing he had lost his guy,” Joniak says. “Again.”

In so many ways, this is a Cliff’s Notes summary of Bears quarterback history in the new millennium.

So many untimely injuries. So much pronounced inconsistency. So many unfulfilled promises and quarterback journeys that crashed through the guard rails.

This is why Bears fans have post-traumatic stress disorder, unable to forget their greatest heartbreaks and wanting so badly to unsee some of the team’s most embarrassing quarterback moments.

Joniak has certainly called some patience-testing performances.

That 10 possessions-10 punts snoozer from Jimmy Clausen in Seattle in 2015.

The jayvee Todd Collins performance in Carolina in 2010 — in a Bears win no less.

That shotgun snap off Mike Glennon’s shin in a four-turnover debacle at Lambeau Field in 2017.

Whatever that was on Thanksgiving Day in 2004 when Jonathan Quinn and Craig Krenzel combined for a 33.3 passer rating in Dallas and the Bears’ only touchdown came from cornerback R.W. McQuarters.

The trial and error. It’s just been the endless look for ‘the guy.’

That ‘04 season may have been the most dizzying. Grossman’s ACL tear in Week 4 led to three atrocious Quinn starts, which then thrust Krenzel, a hard-working but overmatched fifth-round pick into action earlier than he should have been.

Eventually, the Bears’ desperation reached such a level that they turned to a 27-year-old backup whom they had to call in off a surfboard in California.

“I thought Chad Hutchinson was the answer!” Joniak confesses.

Indeed, Hutchinson fired three touchdown passes in his first start, sparking a 24-14 win over the Vikings at Soldier Field in Week 13. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God! We got three touchdown passes! He completed 60 percent of his passes!’” Joniak says.

Desperate optimism overpowered common sense. But only temporarily.

Hutchinson lost his next four starts and was out of the league for good by the following Labor Day.

The Bears’ QB carousel kept spinning.

Why, over 99 seasons with 28 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, have the Bears floundered so frequently in their quest to find a reliable quarterback?

“I like to think I’m a genius,” former Bears center Olin Kreutz says. “But I’ve got nothing for you.”

Kreutz should have sharp perspective. In the history of the franchise, no offensive player has played more games than Kreutz’s 191. His first regular-season appearance came in Week 7 of 1998 — as a reserve offensive lineman with Kramer playing quarterback. His final snap as a Bear went to Caleb Hanie in the final minute of the 2010 NFC championship game.

In all, 16 quarterbacks made at least one start during Kreutz’s 13 seasons in Chicago. In seven of his first 10 years, the Bears used at least three starters. So as the six-time Pro Bowl center scrolls through the roll call — McNown, Miller, Chandler, Grossman — he finds his vision getting blurrier.

“My head is spinning,” Kreutz admits. “I feel like I’m staring at one of those Magic Eyes and I can’t see the picture. Holy (expletive)!”

There’s no point in Kreutz offering a deep dive on Henry Burris’ abysmal start against the Buccaneers in 2002. There’s little to gain in him studying that December 2000 afternoon in San Francisco when Cade McNown couldn’t even lead the Bears across midfield. “I was hurt that day,” Kreutz says. “Thank God.”

But Kreutz also thinks it’s important to understand the quarterback frustration Chicago feels isn’t always just about the quarterback himself. At times, Kreutz says, Bears quarterbacks haven’t had nearly enough help around them. Not enough big-play receivers. Not enough connection or continuity within the coaching staff. Not enough protection.

In Cutler’s first season, for example, Kreutz watched the quarterback get sacked 35 times and throw 26 interceptions. There were many contributing factors.

“Our offense was struggling. Our offensive line was terrible,” Kreutz says. “Even I was like, ‘We need some offensive line help. We can’t block anybody.’ And they said, ‘Don’t worry about it. We’ve got you, Olin.’ Then they went and gave Julius Peppers close to $100 million in free agency.”

That next season Cutler was sacked 52 times, most in the league. With a dominant defense, the Bears won the NFC North and were a win away from the Super Bowl. But Cutler left the conference championship game with a knee injury and the Bears haven’t won a playoff game since.

“A lot of times, what they’re doing here is building the defense,” Kreutz says.

That, of course, can often be a plus. As it should be for Trubisky this fall with Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and Eddie Jackson happily taking pressure off his shoulders.

Grossman, after all, helped the Bears reach the Super Bowl 13 years ago with a top-tier defense. And while Grossman will always be justifiably defined by his ball-security issues and the brutal pick-six he threw in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, Kreutz thinks the quarterback’s verve that year can be a compass for Trubisky.

Grossman had a competitive fire and think-big mentality that rubbed off on teammates. He played well and made clutch throws in playoff victories against the Seahawks and Saints.

“There was an electricity Rex brought to the huddle,” Kreutz says. “You can’t take that for granted. He always seemed like he wanted to make the big play. And he enjoyed himself out there.

“As a teammate, you love that. His personality and his belief just resonates through the whole huddle. When your quarterback is excited like that, that’s the one position on the team that affects everyone.”

For six seasons as a receiver, Tom Waddle lived through some of the Bears’ unsettling quarterback turbulence. He was a rookie in 1989 when the team finally gave up on the oft-injured McMahon, trading him to the Chargers 22 days before the season opener.

From there, Waddle spent his career catching passes from a half-dozen quarterbacks. Mike Tomczak, Jim Harbaugh, Peter Tom Willis, Will Furrer, Steve Walsh, Kramer.

Waddle will never forget the day at Soldier Field when he was running toward the huddle and star pass rusher Richard Dent stopped him as the defense left the field.

“Rich looked at me and screamed, ‘Just hold ‘em here! We’ll be back out to score!’” Waddle says. “I remember being confused. ‘Wait. Wait. We’re the offense. What does he mean?’ But that pretty much summarized what it was.”

This was toward the end of the era when the final few inches of the Bears’ Super Bowl window slammed shut, when a once-dominant defense aged away and stared at its lone Lombardi Trophy with an “If we had only had a quarterback” lament.

“The best word to describe it all is ‘unsettled,’” Waddle says. “It was just a weird time where nothing quite fell into place.”

Only it wasn’t just those six years.

Unsettled is an apt way to describe the past half-century really, retracing the steps of Bobby Douglass and Gary Huff, of Bob Avellini, Mike Phipps and Vince Evans.

The 1985 Bears are eternal legends for their unforgettable conquests on the way to winning Super Bowl XX. But the ’86 Bears fatefully lost McMahon for the season after a cheap shot hit by the Packers’ Charles Martin in late November. The Bears eventually started Doug Flutie in their home playoff game against the Redskins, less than three months after they’d acquired him.

Flutie, in just his second start with the team, completed only 11 of 31 passes, threw for 134 yards and chucked two interceptions. The 14-2 Bears scored one touchdown on 13 possessions and lost 27-13.

Unsettled indeed.

For the past two-plus decades as a sports talk radio host, Waddle has been a facilitator of Chicago’s quarterback conversation/argument/therapy session, a rational voice trying to pull the city’s extremists into the middle. Waddle understands this city’s vision is clouded by the trials and tribulations it has lived through. And he knows the polarizing nature of the Trubisky conversation is only going to intensify in the months ahead.

The 2019 Bears have a legitimate chance to play into late January and even February and Trubisky is at the steering wheel of the tour bus. But for whatever reason, that has caused the quarterback’s biggest supporters and harshest critics to adopt extreme and concrete takes.

Depending on which way your ear is turned or how your Twitter feed is organized, you might be led to believe that the third-year quarterback is a certain bust, that it’s just a matter of time before his inevitable flameout. Just like so many of his Bears predecessors.

Or you might hear those arguing he’s destined to earn a bust — in that Canton, Ohio, football museum just 65 miles from where he grew up.

“It’s that whole hate-or-hump mentality,” Waddle says. “You’re either hating a guy or humping his leg. Why can’t we find a happy medium?”

That, of course, is the equivalent of wondering why the counselors at Camp Crystal Lake get jumpy whenever they see a hockey mask. The quarterback history in this town has just been too torturous to ever count on reasoned reaction.

For more than 60 years, Hall of Famer Sid Luckman held most of the Bears’ career passing records, the exploits of a star quarterback who helped the organization win four NFL championships. He is, by almost any measure, the Bears’ gold standard at the position.

Yet in a twist of irony, most of Luckman’s records were eventually broken by Cutler, Mr. Unfulfilled Promise himself whose arm talent and statistical production never trumped his lack of high-level success. Only one playoff appearance in eight years. Never named to a Pro Bowl. A 52-52 record as the Bears starter.

“The optimism and potential never really materialized into the results we all expected,” Waddle says. “The lows were just ‘Boom goes the dynamite’ low.”

Trubisky became a Bear 48 days after Cutler was released. He now has the opportunity to clear the many hurdles Cutler never could.

His 2019 season begins with great anticipation and many important questions. Kreutz, for one, wants to know if Trubisky has the DNA to win big games. Plural. Over and over again.

“When the game is on the line, can he make the play?” Kreutz says.

To that end, the former Bears center points to Trubisky’s fourth-quarter performance in his last meaningful game — against the Eagles in the playoffs. Bears fans should rewatch Trubisky’s 22-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Allen Robinson in the fourth quarter. They should recall Trubisky’s last-minute 33-yard march to set up a potential game-winning field goal.

“He made big-time throws in the toughest situation he’s been in in his career,” Kreutz says. “That right there gives you some excitement about where Mitch Trubisky can take the Chicago Bears.”

Joniak understands the biggest Trubisky doubters still have to be won over.

“Fans here have been conditioned to fear the worst,” he says. “And that’s a fair thing. But it’s not fair to Mitch.”

Over Trubisky’s first two seasons, Joniak believes he has “seen enough to be tantalized,” enamored with Trubisky’s upbeat nature and his magnetic belief that the Bears will win the Super Bowl while he’s around. Joniak feels that aura from the young quarterback.

“It’s like, ‘Guys, we’re going to conquer this,’” Joniak says. “Your quarterback has to be that guy. And they’re not all wired that way. But Mitch is.

“Nothing is too big for him. He has this look in his eye. His competitiveness is on a different level. This guy is the guy you want to lead you into battle.”

While it’s important for Trubisky to understand the big-picture goals the Bears are working toward, there’s nothing in it for him to live anywhere but in the present. Feeling the weight of the franchise’s 99-season quarterback scavenger hunt is counterproductive. Imagining a confetti celebration at Super Bowl LIV or LV or LVI is also premature.

This spring and summer, receiver Taylor Gabriel peppered Trubisky with repeated advice about how to attack the 2019 season. Gabriel’s guidance: Live in the moment.

That’s what the 2018 Bears were so damn good at. Maximizing each day. Dialing in on each drill and every practice period. Enjoying the preparation, then letting it all loose on game days.

This season has to carry a similar approach, with all of the Bears and especially Trubisky mixing a grinder’s mentality with a kid’s enthusiasm.

Says Trubisky: “We have to live in the moment and really enjoy it. Because we’ve got something special — some really good people we’re around, some great friends, great brothers.”

Gabriel has been impressed with Trubisky’s work ethic and approachable manner. He loves that the young quarterback openly takes accountability for his errors. Those are all things that create a bond, that push teammates to push harder for their quarterback.

“You want to take some of that weight, some of that heavy off him,” Gabriel says.

On May 31, Trubisky happily showed off his purpose and ebullience at Guaranteed Rate Field. A media-relations representative alerted Bears players in attendance for that Friday night White Sox game that they would soon be shown on the video board. So Trubisky did what great quarterbacks do. He huddled his teammates and took charge.

And then, naturally, he helped wrangle up the necessary supply of Miller Lite.

“Just started cracking them open,” he says, “and pouring it into cups.”

Packers rival Aaron Rodgers had been notably, um, wimpy in chugging a beer at a Bucks-Raptors playoff game in Milwaukee a week earlier. And that viral humiliation had suddenly given the rest of the NFL’s quarterback fraternity chances to respond.

Trubisky knew he had his moment and directed his offensive linemen to be ready. He even gave them a cadence. And when they all appeared on the video board, they delivered as one.

Says Kyle Long: “As soon as the camera came on us, Mitch gave us the cadence. ‘Down! Set! Hut!’ And we hit it.’”

Trubisky couldn’t beat Long to the bottom of his beer. But the Bears quarterback posted a sub-4.4-second chug time and punctuated the moment by triumphantly launching his plastic cup over his head.

“It looked like he had done that before,” offensive tackle Bobby Massie says.

The place went nuts.

“It was really loud,” Trubisky says with a big grin. “Chicago loves that stuff. For some reason.”

It was a far different reaction from the quarterback’s first Chicago video-board cameo when, on the night after he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2017, the crowd at the Bulls-Celtics playoff game at the United Center booed footage of the pick being announced. Trubisky was in attendance, he says, “just shriveling in my seat with my family.”

So, yes, the approving roar of Chicago fans appreciating his beer guzzling felt gratifying. Trubisky, after all, has always believed he is a perfect fit for this city.

“I have that intense love and passion for this game. And that’s exactly what the fans in Chicago have for football and the Bears,” he says. “It’s a unique situation. It just heightens everything and makes everything more exciting.”

Obviously, Trubisky’s ability to read defenses, to deliver on third downs, to make his incremental daily improvements add up to something really big will be far more significant than his ability to pound a brewski. But his magnetic personality, his competitive edge, his hard-working approach and have-fun attitude have created a buy-in at Halas Hall that has resonated.

Says Long: “He embraces his teammates. He embraces the fans. He embraces his workload. He embraces the responsibilities of being the quarterback of the Chicago Bears. I don’t have a crystal ball. But if I was a betting man, I’m betting on Mitch Trubisky.”

Keep in mind, last season when Trubisky was still riding down the block with training wheels on, he wasn’t shy about repeatedly squeezing the horn on the handlebars. Just for fun.

The young quarterback showed up to the Bears’ Oct. 29 game against the Jets wearing a Mike Ditka costume. Seven weeks later, he rolled into Soldier Field in an ugly Christmas sweater, Bears orange accessorized with blinking lights.

Had the Bears lost either of those games — they didn’t — Trubisky likely would have been bashed for his costume parties. But he never thought of it like that.

“You’ve got to be a risk taker, man,” he says. “The fans loved that. It blew up and created a lot of positive energy for our team. Why not, right? That’s the stuff that makes this all a lot more fun.”

It’s the same reason that, after his on-stage chat with McMahon in June, Trubisky spent an additional 15 minutes mingling with fans, leaning over the edge of the platform to shake hands, to pose for selfies, to sign a few autographs.

“These people came out, carved out their entire day or their weekend for this and then stood in a line down the block for an hour or more just to get in,” Trubisky says. “It’s the least I can do to spend 10 minutes walking around and giving high-fives.

“When you give out positive energy it will come back to you.”

Sure, this 2019 season may carry more pressure than any Trubisky has ever been a part of. But in the quarterback’s mind, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be the most invigorating.

“Life is short, you know? I would be doing myself a disservice if I wasn’t having fun with this and making the most of it,” Trubisky says. “For me it’s all about keeping perspective and showing my personality. If you’re too serious with this all the time, you can get overwhelmed easily and start putting too much pressure and stress on yourself. You have to take that step back and say, ‘Wow, what an amazing opportunity I have to play this game in Chicago.’ Look, I’m just a kid from Mentor, Ohio, who dreamed to be in this position. And now I am.”

The Packers come to town Thursday night. A season with great expectations begins. That gleam in Trubisky’s smile remains bright. His directive remains straightforward: Let’s go.


Source link
Read also:
Chicago Tribune › Sports › 1 month ago
In the wake of Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky asking that the Halas Hall TVs be turned off to mute criticism, here’s a good old-fashioned debate about whether the Bears should bench Trubisky.
Chicago Tribune › Sports › 1 month ago
The Bears hope to snap their four-game losing streak Sunday when they face the Lions. The Bear Download podcast breaks down the matchup, including whether Mitch Trubisky should start at quarterback for the Bears.
New York Post › Sports › 1 week ago
Mitch Trubisky had one of his best moments of a disappointing season in leading the Bears to a 24-20 Thanksgiving win over the Lions. The beleaguered third-year quarterback led the Bears on a 90-yard drive, capped off with a 3-yard touchdown pass to...
Chicago Tribune › Sports › 1 month ago
Mitch Trubisky put the Bears in position to score on the final drive. But his mistakes throughout the game did nothing to quell the outside questions about his future as the Bears quarterback.
Chicago Tribune › Sports › 1 month ago
Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer break down the Bears-Saints matchup — including what putting Kyle Long and Akiem Hicks will mean — in the latest Bear Download podcast. They also dive into what the Bears need from quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who is...
BBC News › Sports › 4 days ago
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws three touchdowns and runs for one himself as they beat the Dallas Cowboys 31-24, their fourth loss in a row.
Chicago Tribune › Sports › 2 weeks ago
Bears coach Matt Nagy said Mitch Trubisky’s hip doesn't appear to be holding him back. Trubisky practiced in full Friday for the third straight day.
Chicago Tribune › Sports › 3 weeks ago
After reviewing the victory over the Lions, Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky felt good that he “did my job across the board.”
Chicago Tribune › Sports › 1 month ago
Brad Biggs has answers to all your questions about Matt Nagy, Mitch Trubisky and the slumping Chicago Bears, who have lost three consecutive games.
The Guardian › Sports › 2 months ago
Chicago Bears 31-15 WashingtonQuarterback throws first touchdowns of season to boost teamAfter the Chicago Bears’ offense was slow to get going this season, Mitchell Trubisky was excited to speed things up. Trubisky and the Bears used a no-huddle...
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google
OR