The Chicago Bears’ centennial season kicks off in September. But before we get there, the #Bears100 celebration at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont should put us in a festive spirit ahead of the season to come. And even before we arrive to that point on the calendar, we’re probably going to find ourselves diving into franchise history to fully get us in the mood.
In that vein, the Bears have started to roll out a list of the best 100 players in franchise history as put together by Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson. And if you’re looking for early surprises, this one probably will stand out:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) May 20, 2019
Unless Jim McMahon doesn’t come in at all — and that’s highly unlikely — Jay Cutler isn’t going to check in as the greatest quarterback in franchise history. But he still lands a spot in the top-100 at No. 85. That’s something!
Let’s enjoy some highlights:
The Bears won at a .607 clip when Cutler started from 2009-12, going 34-22 as the quarterback threw for 12,292 yards, 82 touchdowns, and 63 interceptions. They even reached the NFC title game in his second season with the team. It was supposed to be a sign of things to come, but the narrative arc of Cutler’s career changed when he suffered a knee injury against the Packers and was sidelined for the rest of the game. Todd Collins looked unprepared and couldn’t do anything, while Caleb Hanie proved why he was ultimately nothing more than a third-string quarterback. Cutler’s knee injury in that fateful contest proved to be far too much to overcome. The Bears never made it back to that mountaintop again while Cutler was under center and his reputation was forever changed after that moment.
And yet, the guy is in the franchise record-books as its all-time leader in completions, pass attempts, passing yards, passing touchdowns, passer rating, 300+ yard passing games, wins, game-winning drives, and fourth-quarter comebacks. It’s admittedly a low-bar to clear, but Cutler did it with flying colors.
Here’s hoping it’s not long until Mitch Trubisky passes him on this list and elsewhere on the franchise passing charts.