Jay Cutler’s career with the Chicago Bears could very well be over after suffering what’s believed to be a season-ending shoulder injury in Sunday’s 22-16 loss to the New York Giants.
“Lately it occurs to me: What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
I’m about the farthest thing from a Deadhead, but that line from the Grateful Dead’s Truckin’ seems an apt summary of Jay Cutler’s career with the Chicago Bears. Now that he might be done for the season and his guaranteed money has been paid out, it certainly seems like the Jay Cutler era of Chicago Bears football is over.
Jay Cutler has taken Chicago Bears fans on a roller coaster ride of emotions. From April 2, 2009 when everyone thought it was a late April’s Fools Day joke from Bears GM Jerry Angelo to the 2010 NFC Championship game where he “quit” to the rebirth under Marc Trestman to these final days under John Fox, it’s been wildly inconsistent with Cutler. The highs have been high and the lows have been, well, pretty darn low.
I’ve been writing about the Chicago Bears since before the Jay Cutler trade, so I remember the excitement of the Jay Cutler trade. I went back and checked out the post that I wrote in April of 2009 titled Jay Cutler is a Chicago Bear:
"I am as shocked as anyone to have typed that headline and not have it be an April Fool’s joke. Maybe the joke will be on the Bears and the words of all the naysayers and Jay Cutler haters will prove true, but at least the Bears did something and actually made a bold move in an effort to stabilize the quarterback position that his been in dire need of repair for the better part of two decades."
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It was a groundbreaking move for the Bears, a team that wasn’t into making big, splashy moves. Do you think the joke has been on us and all of the Cutler haters were right? If this is actually the end of his career, Cutler is arguably the best quarterback in the long and storied history of the Chicago Bears. His rankings in Bears passing categories:
Yards = 23443 (1st)
Completions = 2020 (1st)
Attempts= 3271 (1st)
Touchdowns =154 (1st)
Interceptions =109 (2nd) (Behind Sid Luckman’s 137)
Wins = 51 (1st)
It’s hard to argue that despite his lofty rankings among Chicago Bears franchise passing leaders, the Jay Cutler era has been a failure. Cutler’s rankings in team history are an indictment of the Chicago Bears organization more than a reason to revel in his accomplishments. The Bears may be known for essentially inventing the middle linebacker position and for churning out other-worldly running backs, but they’ll never be confused with the Green Bay Packers quarterback pedigree.
The Jay Cutler era will be remembered as a failure because at the end of the day, it’s about winning playoff games. In his tenure in Chicago, Cutty won ONE playoff game. Cutler will be remembered for his interceptions as much as he will be for his rocket arm. He will be remembered for his maddening inconsistency as much as he will be for his touchdown passes. He will be remembered for his frustrating losses than his wins.
It’s time for the Bears to move on from Jay Cutler and start fresh. It’s time for Cutler to move on from the Bears and for him to get a fresh start as well. It’s been a long, strange trip indeed.