Three fake games and a month of practices and we’ve learned everything we’re going to learn about the Chicago Bears before the start of the regular season. The running back, tight ends and linebackers are great. The offensive and defensive lines are good. The receivers are rapidly improving. The special teams are the league’s best. The secondary needs to get healthy.
But all of that fades in the glow of the guy under center. Jay Cutler. The Franchise. Cutler is the kind of great quarterback that organizations can be built upon. He elevates the play of the offensive line by scrambling from the pocket. He makes the receivers better by fitting footballs into spaces they don’t seem to belong. He allows the defense to rebound from mistakes by doing what no quarterback has ever done here: lighting up the scoreboard.
Listening to the Denver stadium boo Cutler with what Al Michaels described as the passion of a “spurned lover” should tell you all you need to know. Those fans know who left the building. Now – for the first time in all of our lifetimes – we have “the guy”. You know the one, right? You’ve seen him on highlight reels and hosting Super Bowl trophies. You’ve seen him on magazine covers. You’ve even seen him on the sideline at Soldier Field. The other sideline.
Jay Cutler. The guy. The Franchise. He played half a fake game tonight and his team knew it. His coaches knew it. The broadcasters couldn’t stop talking about it. The Chicago Bears have had the guy at middle linebacker and running back. They’ve had it up and down the line. Now they’ve got it at the most important position in the sport. They’ve got a great quarterback. The oldest franchise in the sport has finally joined the modern league.