On April 2, the lives of sports fans forever changed in Chicago.
For the first time in 60 years, the Chicago Bears have a franchise quarterback.
Jay Cutler has given Bears’ fans a ray of hope. For once, someone in a Bears’ uniform can throw a football 60 yards down field and can throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season.
So why does he make me uncomfortable?
First off, the whole debacle in Denver scares me. I know Denver coach Josh McDaniels looks like the villain in this situation, but it takes two to tango.
Cutler must have done something here to push the envelope. There’s nothing that will prevent him from doing the same in Chicago if things start to sour and the team starts losing games.
Lovie Smith’s style of coaching may not be even remotely as fiery or demanding as McDaniels’, but he’s still the coach, and I doubt he’s going to let a quarterback, no matter how talented, undermine him.
From what I understand, McDaniels lied to Cutler about the possibility of being traded. Lying isn’t acceptable under any circumstances, but in sports it happens.
Athletes lie about how they got injured. Teams lie about moving players and front office personnel all the time. What makes Cutler different? Why can everyone else lie but no one can lie to Cutler?
If Lovie accidently lets a little lie slip, are the Bears going to have to find new home for Cutler?
Another reason Cutler scares me is that he’s never been a winner. Sure he put up great numbers last year, but he also managed to give up a three game lead with three games to go. Plus, in college, he only won 11 games for Vanderbilt as a four-year starter. However, Tom Brady was lightly sought after as a draft prospect for the NFL and he’s had a stellar professional career. And part of the reason for that may fall in Bill Belichicks’s hands, but another reason may be that Brady figured out how to win while playing at Michigan.
And the NFC North isn’t exactly spread out. The Vikings and Packers both have great teams and either team or the Bears could win this division.
But what scares me is that Cutler hasn’t shown anyone he knows how to win.
That being said, it’s something he can learn. Peyton Manning lost 13 games his first season in Indianapolis and now he’s won his division six times and a Super Bowl in his 11-year career.
But how do we know Cutler is going to lead the Super Bears to the Super Bowl?
There are some reasons why I do have some faith in Cutler. Chicago loves its football. No disrespect to Denver, but when Cutler said Bears fans are about a nine and Denver’s are about a six, he has some basis for an argument.
How many cities hang on to one year like Chicago, especially when two franchises in town have won championships since? How many teams draw thousands of fans to training camp in the sweltering heat?
Bears fans love their football and when December rolls around and the temperature drops below zero, Soldier Field will still be packed. There will still be tailgating. People will still hang on to every play.
The final reason I have faith in him is because – for the first time in my life – I know the Bears have a QB. I can’t do anything else but believe in him. No more Erik Kramer or Jim Miller or Kordell Stewart.
For once we may score 30-plus points on offense. It will be a new breed of football and it might be hard to adjust at first, but after 60 years of all defense and only one Super Bowl, maybe it’s time for a change.
Bill Hopkins is a sophomore sports communication major from Oswego. He is the Scout sports editor.
Direct questions, comments and other responses to whopkins@mail. bradley.edu.