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:
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:
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?