He played five seasons for the Saint Louis Cardinals (1980–1983) and the Chicago Bears (1984). After 5 seasons in the NFL, Lisch only managed 1 touchdown versus 11 interceptions thrown. He retired with a 25.1 passer rating.
At the University of Notre Dame, Lisch was part of Dan Devine"s first recruiting class in 1975.
He would go on to start the first three games of 1977 but then would yield the starting job to Joe Montana. Lisch would finally be named the permanent starting QB as a fifth-year senior in 1979, winning seven of ten starts, highlighted by his 336-yard passing effort as the Irish rallied from a 17-3 deficit against South Carolina for an 18-17 victory.
Lisch"s rather bad NFL career caused him to receive the "honor" as the worst player in NFL history from sports blog Deadspin in 2011, saying:
One year later, with Jim McMahon and Steve Fuller hurt, Lisch started a game for the Bears against Green Bay. He played so poorly that Mike Ditka pulled him, "for Walter Payton.".