One of the last great memories I have of Cutler in Chicago comes during that Week Five game against an elite Chiefs team. Down 17-6 with less time on the clock than it takes to cook a pack of noodles (3:05 left to be exact).
Cutler looks around and notices that he led that game-winning charge, and none of those teammates lasted another two years in the NFL. It’s moments like that. Cutler obviously didn’t reach full bloom, or tap into his full potential, but more often than not, he found a way to do more with less.
For a different-sport comparison, I’d liken Cutler’s Chicago upbringing to say, Allen Iverson in Philadelphia. In the same way that Iverson had to take risks and be overaggressive just to put his team in a position to win, Cutler grew into similar practices. Things such as those “back foot” throws, a distrust in receivers, and by the time help had arrived, unlearning old tendencies proved too difficult a task.
Every Bears fan won’t see it that way, and that’s understandable. But Cutler gave me something to look forward to every Sunday from 2007 and on. I can recite his game-by-game stats from heart. There’s something to appreciate for everyone.
Along the way, we got a chance to see a top-10 late-game closer of this generation. A player who rose under the bright lights of primetime games (the league’s best on Monday Night Football), but dwindled in ordinary ones. A player who, by career’s end, had beaten Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre and Drew Brees — and subsequently lost to… Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, Trent Edwards and Damon Huard.
Sure, it was a rollercoaster in every sense. But go ahead: can you name one time you haven’t had fun on a rollercoaster?