BEARing the Ups and Downs
If you want to talk about a roller coaster of emotions, look no further than Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler and his time in Chicago. It seems like every year there is a flux of emotions ranging from fans burning his Jersey at the end of the season, to sacrificing their first-borns to whatever Football gods that may exist, in hope that he returns from injury in time to rescue the season. (The latter hasn’t actually happened, in case you’re one of those people unable to read sarcasm on paper.)
2013 will be no different. Granted, every fan base has the irrational and mind-boggling collective that is completely incapable of incorporating a remote sense of logic into their evaluations of what they watch on Sunday, but in lieu of social media outlets gaining popularity and cultural dominance, such fans are granted voices that plague our twitter feeds and blog comments with gratuitous hostility. Further adding to the dilemma is the infatuation Chicago Sports reporters generally have with being condescending and cynical towards virtually everything. Years of disappointment will do that to you I guess, but its hard for me to comprehend how just how far people take it sometimes.
As it pertains to Cutler, part of the drama comes from his worst moments being caught on camera in the national spotlight. The worst of it came after a miserable showing in the 2011 NFC Championship game vs. the Green Bay Packers. Jay Cutler ended up tearing his MCL and had to be sidelined. However, to the common fan, apparently tearing your MCL isn’t an excuse to not play. By some disillusioned chain of conclusions, it was made out to be that Cutler quit on his team. The logical obstacles you have to drive your mind through to arrive at that thought is beyond me.
Then there was Week 2 (also vs. Green Bay) last year, where Cutler infamously pushed LT J’Marcus Webb and the camera man creamed his pants at the opportunity to write another narrative, one that the national media enjoys painting again. Everything from facial expressions to moments of bitching out his OCs for being absolute tools, to the collection of INTs he’s racked up over the years. Because as you know, no one other that Cutler of course, would ever yell at a teammate or a coach. No QB has ever had a shitty season or thrown an incredulous amount of INTs. It is only Jay Cutler, as ESPN would have you believe. (Him and Tony Romo, who ESPN equally loves hating on.)
However, between all of those ridiculous instances, there has been something else that Cutler has done, and done quite a lot of. He has won games. He wins repeatedly for the Bears and when he does, suddenly he goes from being a villain to being a hero again. The roller coaster never ends.
Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but here’s a few just to give you a small picture of how much Cutler has done for the Bears:
Dating back to 1993, the last year Jim Harbaugh played QB for the Bears, the organization had 20 different QBs start under center from 1993-2008. (That’s 20 QBs in 15 years)
Between those 20 QBs, they collectively compiled a 120-136 record over the years. That’s good enough for a 46.9% winning percentage. Since 2009 (the year Cutler was traded to the Bears) Cutler has compiled a 40-24 record as a starter. That’s good enough for 62.5%
In spite of having an awful OL, few weapons around him and multiple changes at OC, Cutler has managed to find a way to keep us in games, he even brought us to the NFC Championship title game. While he’s certainly had his moments, both good and bad, one thing he has shown is that he can generate offense. This year looked especially promising with HC Marc Trestman engineering an offense that, for as new as it was, has been mostly successful. Cutler has never looked better and statistically was on pace to top career records.
Then once again, Cutler gets hurt. Once again those with their irrational hatred of the guy, dance for joy that they can share their misery and discontent with the world of sports. Once again talks of Cutler being in a contract year and whether or not he’s coming back are out in full force.
Not to fear, haters. For as much as you may try to convince yourself otherwise, there is very little to no chance that Cutler does not return as the Bears starting QB next year. Had you paid attention lately, you would have noticed things that indicate this. For one, just exactly what he’s accomplished so far – disappointments aside, he wins games and winning games is easily the best way to keep a job in the NFL. Secondly, Phil Emery included him in the process of interviewing prospective HC candidates before he made his decision. You don’t see that often, and especially not with a QB that your GM doesn’t plan on investing in. Finally, the Marc Trestman/Jay Cutler connection has been largely successful up to this point. In spite of the fact its still in the early stages, there are a lot of early, positive returns. I’ve said this before and I am all the more convinced of it now: The question regarding Cutlers contract was never “If?” but rather “How much?”
The latter question is yet to be answered and is mostly a moot point. For now Cutler is our QB and that’s a good thing if you’re a Bears fan.