Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams talk should only be about end of Bears' QB misery — not his fingernails

After 80 years of QB futility, heartbreak, and catastrophe, Caleb Williams can change everything for the Bears

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The nit-picking of Caleb Williams started long before the Bears’ pre-draft process got underway.

Some of it was in defense of Justin Fields, a quarterback who inspired hope but never realized his star potential. Changing regimes, lack of offensive support, and the inertia of organizational dysfunction forced Fields to fight uphill during the early years of his development. He showed flashes of promise, enough to cause an external debate about the Bears’ quarterback future but not enough to force general manager Ryan Poles to stick with the 25-year-old and pass on drafting a quarterback at No. 1 overall.

The pre-emptive critiques of Williams – from fans and analysts alike – continued throughout the remainder of the regular season and ramped up during the early portion of the offseason.

There was a three-interception loss to Notre Dame, which was a sign that Williams would wilt in big moments at the next level. There were 33 career fumbles in three years in college, including 16 last season. That’s a ball security issue that Fields also struggled with, so why would the Bears want to roll the dice with that again?

Of course, there was the conversation about painted nails and crying after a loss to Washington that deserves no more oxygen than to note it exists and has persisted even after the Bears traded Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional 2025 sixth-round pick, forcing Williams to offer a quick social media clap back at those worried about his painted nails and the color of his phone case.

Throw in the discussion that Williams’ camp had with prospective agents about obtaining equity in franchises, and you have a smorgasbord of critiques for the presumptive No. 1 overall pick over the last six months.

But none of that should matter. As far as Bears fans, even those in the pro-Fields camp, are concerned, criticisms—even those based on the football field—should wither and die on the vine.

Williams’ expected arrival on April 25 shouldn’t be about painted nails, crying, his 2023 production on a bad USC team (which was still good), or a poor game on an October night in South Bend.

For the Bears and their fans, Williams and how the Bears landed the pick to secure him represents a rare opportunity to end 80 years of quarterback futility.

Eighty years since the Bears lost a 1944 coin flip to the Detroit Lions and lost out on Otto Graham. Seven years later, in 1951, the Bears drafted Bob Williams one pick ahead of Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle. The Bears lost another coin flip in 1969, this time to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who selected Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw with the No. 1 overall pick. In 1973, the Bears picked Gary Huff over Ran Jaworski and Dan Fouts. In 1977, general manager Jim Finks passed on Joe Montana.

In 1998, the Bears drafted Cade McNown one pick after the Vikings selected Daunte Culpepper after trading back from the No. 7 pick in the draft. That decision cost them Culpepper and led to one of the worst picks in franchise history.

The Jay Cutler trade sparked excitement but never lived up to the hype. The Bears had a chance to draft Dak Prescott as his successor but instead selected Nick Kwiatkoski, Deion Bush, and Deiondre’ Hall all in the fourth round ahead of Prescott in 2016.

The decision to draft Mitchell Trubisky over Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, followed by the inability to get the most out of Fields, is the exclamation point on 80 years of misses and missteps—eighty trips around the sun characterized by misfortune and mismanagement.

That has a chance to all finally, mercilessly end when Williams dons the Bears draft hat on April 25.

Chances to land a perceived generational talent like Williams rarely come along. It’s even more unlikely for a franchise to land the golden quarterback ticket with a pick that’s not their own.

Call it luck or fate. Kismet or cosmic justice.

Maybe it's just mercy.

The Bears finally have a chance to end the suffering.

For the Bears and their fans, Williams’ expected arrival shouldn’t be about nail polish, the Notre Dame loss, Williams crying with his mom after a loss to Washington, or Fields' exit.

It should be about saying goodbye.

Saying goodbye to all the times it was Trubisky and not Mahomes, to the could-have-been eras of Bradshaw or Culpepper, and the spoiled potential of Fields.

About saying goodbye to all the times the Bears brought a knife to an NFL gunfight or showed up with hope already dashed.

Williams isn’t a sure thing. Those don’t exist in the NFL, especially at quarterback.

Perhaps he’ll be just another bullet point in the Bears’ tortured quarterback history.

Or perhaps he’ll change everything— be the quarterback who will finally stop an 80-year run of futility and failure under center.

A true cycle breaker.

At the very least, he's the Bears' best chance to change everything -- the color of his phone case or whether or not he paints his nails only matter to those too miserable to see the opportunity in front of the Bears.

One that's unlikely to come around again.

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