Six years ago I wrote an open letter begging the everyday fan to quit playing doctor to Jay Cutler. The Chicago Bears quarterback was set to undergo surgery on a broken thumb and the same yahoos who had criticized him after an MCL tear the previous year were once again coming out in droves to question his toughness.
After starting out the season 2-3 that year, the Bears had ripped off five straight wins to put themselves in the playoff hunt. Cutler had one of the best stretches of his Bears career, posting a 91.3 passer rating over the six games leading up to the injury. He missed the rest of the season and the team stumbled, finishing 8-8 and out of the playoffs. Stop me if this sounds familiar.
The highs and lows of Cutler’s career in Chicago are well documented. Stretches of his greatness followed by stretches of infuriating putridity, with a near-annual serious injury. Over the years I often found myself defending Cutler, arguing that he could be great if he only had some stability at offensive coordinator and some help at offensive line and receiver.
But even I had trouble defending his bitter-beer face and his bad decision-making. Since his very first game as a Bear, a four-pick disaster against the Packers, he’s been easy to criticize, especially when compared with the two-time MVP quarterback a few hours north in Green Bay.
Cutler is the Bears’ all-time leader in completion percentage, passing yards and touchdown passes, but he also led the league in interceptions twice – one more time than he’s led Chicago to the postseason. It seems fitting that, after eight seasons with the Bears, Cutler’s record sits at 51-51. An even split that mirrors the years-long divide between his fans and detractors.
Cutler likely won’t wear the navy and orange again, as multiple reports have the Bears actively seeking a trade partner for the 33-year-old. And while there is no heir apparent waiting to take the starting job, the Bears seem prepared to move forward, thank goodness. It’s time to move on.
Goodbye and good riddance, Mr. Cutler.
Megan Huston is the sports editor at The Meteor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 936-348-3505