Back in 2009 when the Chicago Bears first set out to acquire Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos, both fans and management alike had high hopes of what the 25-year-old Pro Bowl Quarterback could bring to the legendary franchise. And they weren’t the only ones hungry for the young QB with so much promise. To get him to Chicago they had to beat out the Lions, Titans, Redskins, Buccaneers and give up two years of 1st round draft picks to the Broncos.
Cutler’s first season, however, saw the Bears turning in a dismal 7-9 performance. The following year though, things seemed to be looking up as the the Bears finished the regular season at 11-5, which was a good enough performance to see their first playoff game since 2006. They went on to win the NFC North division, but their road to the SB ended with a defeat by the Green Bay Packers.
2011 once again saw them turn in a dismal 8-8 performance, followed by a restructuring in 2012 which seemed largely intended to try and find support for their prized player as it included the acquisition of WR Brandon Marshall and former Broncos coach Jeremy Bates as the new QB coach, both of whom had a history with Cutler. The season started off with a bang, and the Bears went 7-1 in the first 8 games, but then seemed to take an inexplicable nose dive and went 3-5 in the next 8 games to end the season without making the playoffs.
Year after year high hopes have again and again turned to bitter disappointment as the Bears turned in one mediocre performance after another and yet in January of 2014, the Bears inexplicably offered Cutler a 7 year deal which would keep him in Chicago until 2020. That season he led the Bears to a brutal 5-11 performance, the worst yet in Cutler’s tenure.
In the early days of 2015, however, the Bears acquired what may be the key element in helping Cutler turn in the kind of performance that management seems to have such great faith that he can produce. The Bears hired former Broncos coach John Fox, who has a long history of being able to turn around troubled teams. In 2002, he turned the Carolina Panthers from a 1-15 team into a 7-9 team before taking them all the way to the Superbowl the following year. But his early success dwindled into a series of lackluster performances, and he was let go in 2010. In 2011, he was hired by the Denver Broncos, and once again got his team into the Superbowl within two years, but lost again and failed the following year to get them there.
Between Cutler and Fox there seems to be enormous promise yet unrealized. Perhaps this season will see some kind of magical mojo work between the two that will finally fulfill their enormous promise. If their spectacular last minute 1 point victory against the Kansas City Chiefs is any indication, this could be the year that will meet patient Bear’s fans greatest hopes and dreams.