A part of me feels like it’s destiny for the Bears to win with Cutler at the helm. I mean, the only other time this franchise has won a Super Bowl, there was another quarterback at the reigns who didn’t care what anyone thought about him, and who routinely had it out with his coaches, teammates, and the media.
Jim McMahon strolled into town with his sunglasses on and a cold beer in his hand. He spent years, very much like Cutler, getting pummeled by opposing defenses, and he was regarded as one of the toughest QBs in the game.
But McMahon’s demeanor and bad attitude endeared him to the fans and his teammates, while Cutler’s alienates him, for one reason: McMahon was a winner. He thrived in the face of adversity, while Cutler has all too often crumbled.
In the wake of the Bears’ meltdown against the Packers last Thursday night, the local and national media have been quick to pounce on Cutler’s attitude and his apparent lack of leadership skills in an effort to explain why he may not be the next guy to lead the Bears to a title. It’s lazy, and it’s not true.
Ben Roethlisberger is one of the most hated players in the game; his own teammates don’t much care for him; society in general doesn’t much care for him. But he’s won. What will derail Jay Cutler is continuing to make decisions with the football like he did against the Packers last week.
Cutler said on Tuesday that winning cures everything. He’s right. There’s no question that Jay has the talent to be a top-tier quarterback in this League. No, he’s not there, but getting there won’t have anything to do with his personality.
I’m not so one-sided as to think that the two things—Cutler’s attitude and his performance—are always mutually exclusive. When athletes get frustrated, they tend to force things. And when athletes force things, they tend to struggle. But the fact remains that Jay Cutler can still be Jay Cutler and win.
And that’s all he has to prove to anyone; that he’s a winner. Do that, Jay, and this city will love you, middle finger in the street or not. Continue to fail when the spotlight is on, and they’ll continue to tear you apart.
Through Cutler’s last three seasons in a Bears’ uniform, he’s been without any semblance of a supporting cast around him capable of big things. This season should be different. While he’s still without a top notch offensive line, the weapons are there for him to make a splash.
You don’t have to like Jay Cutler. You don’t have to think he’s a good leader, and you’re free to criticize his actions on the football field. But don’t tell me—that for those reasons—the Bears can’t win a Championship with Jay at the helm. He just has to play better.
I think he will.