If I designed the interior of Halas Hall, statues and shrines of Walter Payton, Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary would greet you. Portraits of Richard Dent, Mike Ditka and Bill George would cover the hallways.
Sid Luckman’s photo might be somewhere in the cafeteria. Headshots of the rest of the Bears former quarterbacks would rightly be tossed in a bathroom reserved for offensive linemen the morning after Taco Tuesdays.
As a 26-year old male, many of my friends worry when my dream recaps begin with details of a 25-year old strong armed fella instead of some sorority chick or one of the new girls Phillips thinks I should work into my “rotation.”
For weeks I’ve been fantasizing about how great it would be for my Chicago Bears to have a legitimate quarterback. Say a 25-year old Pro Bowler, who grew up a Bears fan and threw for more than 4,500 yards last season. You know one like Jay Cutler.
Two weeks ago, I described the Bears quarterback position as the single largest black hole in American athletics. I pointed to the obvious: the Chicago Bears haven’t had a good quarterback since Luckman. Erik Kramer, a name revered by Bears fans, really just had one good season and Jim McMahon was more of a sideshow than a franchise QB.
But it’s not as if the Bears haven’t tried to improve at quarterback. Remember, since 1996 Chicago has trotted out 17 different stiffs disguised as starting QBs. They traded a first round pick for Rick Mirer, took a chance on Kordell Stewart and spent first rounders on Cade McNown and Rex Grossman.
For those new to the dance, I’m going to list the 17 quarterbacks who have started for Chicago since 1996:
The only thing worse than the Chicago Bears quarterback history is a Mariah Carey movie.
Hour upon hour of Jay Cutler Saga coverage told me the Bears had no shot. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Broncos couldn’t even call the Bears back because the phone lines were tied up and that if they wished to reach them try e-mailing or texting them. Optimistic.
All Wednesday and Thursday we heard ESPN tell us that Washington and Daniel Snyder were the frontrunners to land Cutler. Chris Mortensen listed the top five suitors on SportsCenter and failed to rank the quarterback-starved Bears among the top five suitors. We heard about the New York Jets, the Detroit Lions. But no one really thought the Bears had a chance to land Cutler. The Bears never make moves like this. Right? Especially for a quarterback.
On Thursday, PTI’s Michael Wilbon said, “The Bears mantra is to win without a quarterback.” Most Bears fans feel this way. I know I did.
There are camps out there that think the Bears gave up too much. That’s ridiculous. When you’ve never had a good quarterback, there’s no such price as too much. And with Jerry Angelo’s first round track record (Michael Haynes, Rex Grossman, David Terrell, Cedric Benson and Marc Colombo), is trading away two highly valued unknowns for a franchise quarterback really that big of a price.
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco writes, “Cutler is 25. He threw for over 8,000 yards the past two seasons. You can’t discount that value.”
Within 15 minutes of the story breaking, I talked with five of my friends, all who live in different cities, about the deal. We were all giddy. Why? Because we’ve been force fed Spam while most people enjoyed a porterhouse and a select few got Kobe beef.
Show a 14-year old from Turkmenistan “Cop And A Half” and he’d think Burt Reynolds was the best actor in cinematic history. See, when you’re used to Ashgabat Phil, Burt and a little black kid is Oscar gold.
In Denver, Cutler was always compared to John Elway. He even boasted he had a stronger arm than the Broncos’ sacred Hall of Famer.
In Chicago, Cutler doesn’t have to worry as much about who he is. Rather, who he isn’t. As long as he provides stability for at least five years at a position less reliable than my jump shot, the deal’s a win for the Bears.