Dec 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Cutler Named Among Most Overrated Chicago Bears of All Time


NFL.com is running a series of posts to list each team’s most underrated and overrated of all time.  Their list of most overrated and underrated Chicago Bears is pretty interesting.  

Before we get to the main topic of conversation, let’s start off on a positive note, with the most underrated Bears:

Neal Anderson

Johnny Morris

Alex Brown

Harlon Hill

Doug Buffone

It’s hard to argue with anyone on the list, especially Neal Anderson, who  stepped into the long shadow cast by the legendary Walter Payton, rushed for over 1000 yards in four straight seasons.  He could be an all-time running back for a lot of NFL teams.

Let’s get to the overrated Bears:

William Perry

Jim McMahon

Adewale Ogunleye

Nathan Vasher

Jay Cutler

I guess the rating is in the eye of the beholder.  Of course, The Fridge became a pop culture icon and a legendary figure more for what he did on offense rather than his contributions on defense.  He was larger than life and a sort of novelty as one of the few players to top the scales over 300 pounds.  Is the Fridge over-hyped and over-exposed?  Heck yes.  Was he really overrated?  I don’t think so.

I’m going to skip over Jimmy Mac for a second and rule out Adewale Ogunleye and Nathan Vasher as overrated.  I don’t really judge Ogunleye and Vasher to be overrated.  I think both players underperformed and didn’t live up to expectations, but neither would fall into the overrated category.

Next, let’s look at the QB’s.  Here is what they said about the Punky QB:

Jim McMahon — QB, 1982-88

It was tough putting McMahon on this list, because the punky QB’s stats don’t tell the whole story of what he did for the Bears in the 1980s. His personality, leadership and swagger were as much a part of his success as his stats on the field. Just look at the Viking Miracle if you need proof. Nevertheless, McMahon can’t get carte blanche because he won a Super Bowl. The fact of the matter remains that 1985 was his peak. He had career highs in yards and touchdowns, and because of injuries and other mitigating factors was never able to reclaim that magic he had when he played lights out during the Bears’ Super Bowl run.

The fact is, McMahon had the attitude and swagger.  He was buddies with all of his offensive linemen and did the head-butt think with them.  He was fiery and had the passion, but injuries sidetracked him and held him and the Bears to one Super Bowl.  Since the ’85 Bears have lingered around the Chicago sports landscape over nearly the last 30 years, it would be easy to call anyone that was on that team overrated.

Meanwhile, here’s what they had to say about quarterback Jay Cutler:

Jay Cutler — QB, 2009-present

I feel badly about putting Jay Cutler on this list because, well, the guy gets piled on by the mainstream media at times. That being said, when you look at Cutler’s body of work as a Bear, it’s easier to have him land on this list (and also easier than trying to find an overrated player from the Halas era, because those guys were GOOD). Cutler is often regarded as just outside the cusp of the “elite” quarterbacks in the NFL thanks to his cannon arm, but in reality his stats don’t merit that level of consideration. Even in 2012, when he was finally reunited with Brandon Marshall, Cutler only threw 19 touchdowns and completed less than 60 percent of his passes. By comparison, both Russell Wilson and RGIII exceeded those totals as rookies. Until Cutler is able to cash in on his physical potential and even out the mental side of his game, he’ll have to suffer labels like “overrated” for years to come.

Cutler is the most physically gifted quarterback the Bears have had possibly ever.  The reason the mainstream media and fans pile on him is his attitude and lack of leadership.  Meanwhile, Lovie Smith built his little defensive empire and left the offense to stagnate.  The Bears wasted the first few years of Cutler’s tenure with a total lack of an offensive line and a dearth of playmakers on the outside.

Let’s face it.  If you could take the best qualities of the two “overrated” Bears quarterbacks, you’d have the ultimate quarterback.  Cutler has all the physical tools while McMahon had the right attitude and leadership.

What do you think?  Is Cutler overrated or have the Bears failed to put the talent around him to succeed?

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Tags: Chicago Bears Jay Cutler Overrated

  • Celestino Shinn

    I think underachiever is better description than overrated. Most, not all, of the underachieving is due to the horrible O-Line, lack of O-play makers, and poor O-coaching/coordinator. Put any of the so-called “elite QBs” (Manning, Brees, Brady, Rodgers) in the Bears QB position the last few years and they would similarly underachieve. (One or two of those elites may have even been killed behind that turnstile O-line!!)

    • Jason Cesar

      Exactly right. …Cutler is the most talented QB we’ve ever had, at least since Sid Luckman. People seem to forget that Football is the ultimate TEAM sport.

    • Rob Fagiano-Gleason

      I just wrote practically the same thing above! Therefore… you are exactly right!!

  • lksouth

    A better comparison is most overrated Head Coach, most overrated Offensive Coordinators for the last four season, worst offensive line the past four seasons, worst wideouts/tight ends, etc, etc. Any team that would allow Lovie Smith to remain Head Coach in the NFL for nine seasons speaks volumes relative to the total lack of football knowledge that has been leading the Bears for the past ten years.

    If the remaining offensive players, coordinators, and coaches on the Bears were as good at their respective positions as Cutler is at his we would probably have been in the playoffs every season that Cutler has been behind center.

  • rastus

    I have seen games where Cutler was amazing. The offensive line was bad and the receivers were mediocre. The play calling from the bench seemed questionable at best………. Cutler is qb so the media does pile on……… they almost always do and they have an agenda and the media is a much bigger ass than Cutler could ever be.

  • Sammy Z

    All the original points are spot on but when you have a quarterback that is setting and slashing all kinds of Franchise records for QB-ing, you cannot place him as “Overrated.”

    Is Cutler perfect? No. Is he Elite today? No
    Is he still the greatest and most gifted QB we’ve had since most alive can remember? The answer is Yes. That tells less on the quality of QB he is and more on just how awful Chicago QBs have been.

    How can you “Overrate” someone when even when he’s at his worse, he’s still better than everyone else we’ve had?

  • Rob Fagiano-Gleason

    He has tools, and how is he “overrated” because he has certain tools. I have SUCH a hard time hating on him, because as a Bears QB he is one of the best weve had. Secondly and most importantly, I think it would be safe to say his run here in Chicago has been a charade, headed by Lovie and Angelo. Look at the Bears currently and what they are doing, isnt it embarassing to think what Lovie used to put on the field in regards to an offense and think they were going to get it done? NO OC/QB coach/support, NO receivers, NO Oline. I dont know the entire NFL that well, but what other team is so utterly one dimensional? Perhaps in our division its the Lions?? How could we be so good on D, and pay little to no attention to O? Lovies answer to “improving the O’ was “Bring in Culter” then turned his back and problem solved!! I honestly doubt any current “elite” QB would still be the “elite” QB they are today if they were a QB for the Bears during the past 5 years.