Being a charter franchise of the National Football League means the Bears have as long a list as any to choose from, so selecting a player to spend time with over a drink means you’ll have to come prepared, with a purpose. Would you choose the most interesting character you could think of from your favorite season? Dick Butkus, Steve McMichael, or Tarik Cohen are some options which come to mind. Or would it be the player who was there in the biggest moments? Brian Urlacher, Sid Luckman, and Mike Singletary would have plenty of stories to tell.
You could go for somebody who was around the team for longer than most. Ditka was both a player and a coach for the team, and Patrick Mannelly spent his entire career in Chicago, albeit at a position where free agency isn’t likely to lure a player away.
If there’s a chance one beer could turn in to a few, though, then the smart play is to get some answers. Drunk words are sober thoughts, as they say. If you don’t drink, maybe splitting a pizza and a dozen wings could work just as well.
Jay Cutler is the choice here, for a few reasons. The first is simple: Cutty has the right attitude for relaxing with a drink, or just relaxing with a person. It’s often exaggerated to the point where “DGAF” gets thrown around, and that’s the extreme end of the spectrum he lies somewhere on. Cutler often had a relaxed personality when he was the Bears quarterback, and he didn’t take bait from the media and lose his cool after losses.
Another reason Cutler is the choice here is the amount of time he spent with the team. He was teammates with names you see on the back of jerseys everywhere, from Urlacher and Briggs, to Forte and Jeffery, even Whitehair and Hicks. Give me an hour and a well-tipped server to coax some stories on a few of my favorite players from the past decade-plus.
Lastly, perhaps most importantly, as to why Jay Cutler is the choice here, is to get a straight answer: Would you have played in the Super Bowl? Much has been made about Cutler’s infamous knee injury in the 2010-11 NFC Championship game. It’s short-sighted and borderline offensive to criticize a player sitting with a grade-2 MCL sprain, but it begs the question: would Cutler have played if the Bears’ comeback attempt had succeeded, or would Caleb Hanie have started a Super Bowl? Maybe a couple pitchers and a round of pool would get a honest answer from Cutler.
As we all remember, Cutler did try to return, even playing a 3-and-out series with the bum knee after halftime. He came out of the game after and never had the chance to redeem his poor first half, and the team up north held on to advance. If the Bears win that game, they go to the Super Bowl and get another crack at winning rings for the heroes of the mid-to-late-2000s Bears group. Urlacher, Briggs, Forte, Kreutz? Those guys deserved it.
To this day Cutler remains a polarizing figure among Chicago Bears fans. Some are still angry with him. Some love him to the point where they wouldn’t be able to get the words out if he was in the room. I just want to buy him a beer and cheers to the Bears, talk steaks and pork chops, and then if one turns into a few then maybe try to get some clarity on the NFC Championship.
But Smokin’ Jay wouldn’t want to have a beer with me. Smokin’ Jay is probably hunting right now.
Now it’s your turn.
Which current or historical Bear would you like to have a beer with?