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Grossman can mute his critics

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MIAMI — There's a way Rex Grossman can finally silence his critics, the ones who've hounded him this season and pounded him with questions all week leading up to the Super Bowl.

Win the game.

Do something only one other Chicago Bears quarterback has done.

Whatever is said about Jim McMahon's quirkiness — he likes to golf in his bare feet, among other things — one description stands above the others: He was the winning quarterback in a Super Bowl.

Now, 21 years later, the Bears are back and one win away. It's been a patience-testing run through a long list of QBs of different pedigrees, abilities and physical conditions — an inconsistent mix at the most important position on the field.

In the last decade, the Bears have waded through nearly a dozen different starters. And numerous backups, too.

"A lot was said when I was drafted about the struggles they've had at quarterback," Grossman said.

There was Cade McNown, a first-round pick in 1999, who fizzled. And Kordell Stewart, Chris Chandler, Shane Matthews and Jim Miller. Don't forget Craig Krenzel and Chad Hutchinson.

The starter for most of last season was rookie Kyle Orton, who's been the Bears' No. 3 quarterback this season and didn't throw a pass. Orton led 10 wins a year ago, but this week he's run the scout team and tried to simulate the Colts' Peyton Manning.

Now Grossman, who is 17-6 as a regular-season starter and 2-1 in the playoffs, can finally cement the position and perhaps his own future.

"I know Jim Miller played well for a while and Erik Kramer had a couple of really good seasons, but they haven't had a consistent quarterback, really, for a long period of time since Sid Luckman, which is a long time ago," Grossman said.

"That was my goal, to win a world championship here and be a franchise quarterback, be a quarterback who will be in Chicago for a long time," he said.

Even Luckman, the Hall of Fame quarterback who started the Bears' 73-0 rout of the Redskins in the 1940 NFL championship game, struggled early on trying to master the nuances of George Halas' newfangled T-formation.

Once he got a handle, the offense took off and so did the Bears — to four titles. Luckman spent 12 seasons with the Bears and won the MVP in 1943, once throwing seven TD passes in a game.

But that was long before McMahon and the 1985 Bears raced through the NFL, losing only to the Dolphins, during an 18-1 season that culminated with a 46-10 rout of the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XLI


At Miami, Fla.

Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

TV: Ch. 2 (CBS)