The offseason is long, and dreary, and hell, I even watched soccer this week. To liven things up it's time for another sure-to-be-quickly-abandoned Start Kyle Orton Recurring Feature. This one focusing on the principle this entire site was founded on: discussing mediocre Bears quarterbacks.
Today, it's time to re-visit the man whose arm strength made Christian Ponder look like Brett Favre (if Brett Favre's throwing arm had actually been replaced with a cybernetic throwing arm that was even stronger): Shane Matthews.
How He Came to Be a Bear:
After a record-breaking career at the University of Florida (where all of his records were like, immediately broken by Danny Wuerffel), Matthews went undrafted because, well, dat arm. The Bears signed him as a UFA and he spent 1993-1996 as the third string quarterback, starting zero games and throwing just 17 passes, all in his final year. He then spent 1997 and 1998 with the Panthers before the Bears brought him back for the 1999 season.
Matthews was expected to compete for the third string job with Jim Miller and Moses Moreno, as longtime Bears starting QB Erik Kramer was expected to start until first round pick Cade McNown was ready. Everything about that sentence depresses the living shit out of me. The Bears unexpectedly released Kramer in June, however, and entered training camp with Matthews competing directly with McNown for the starting spot, which Matthews won, because the opponent was Cade McNown.
High Point as a Bear:
I'm tempted to just say his entire 1999 season, as Matthews shocked the hell out of everyone by proving somewhat competent (if you consider 6.0 YPA and 9.9 YPC competent) as a starter, averaging 205 YPG , managing a 10-6 TD:INT ratio, an 80.6 passer rating, and a .500 record in games he started and finished.
I'm not going to do that, though, because when it comes to Shane Matthews and high points, there can only be one:
If you're not interested in watching the entirety of a 13 year old Bears game (and we can't be friends anymore if you're not), this was the game where Matthews stepped in for an injured Jim Miller and famously rallied the Bears from a 21-7 deficit to tie the game up on a Hail Mary pass to James Allen. The Bears then won in overtime on Mike Brown's second game-winning pick six in as many weeks.
Low Point as a Bear:
Later that same year Matthews again had to step in for an injured Miller, this time in the Bears first playoff game since 1994. He was unable to repeat the magic that everyone seems to have when the play the Cleveland Browns against the Eagles, and went an abysmal 8-17 for 66 yards, 0 TDs, and 2 INTs as the Bears lost 33-19. Matthews was released shortly after the season.
Shane Matthews is one of only 5 quarterbacks since the NFL merger to throw at least 750 NFL passes while averaging less than 5.7 YPA in his career. Two of the other four also played for the Bears.
Where is he Now?
Matthews works in sports talk radio in Gainesville, where Urban Meyer once got pissed at him for criticizing his decisions. He also spent two years coaching Tim Tebow's old high school team, because Florida football is very incestuous.