Wisch: Cold Truth, Cutler Just Not In Brady’s League

By Dave Wischnowsky–

Eleven years ago, I was sitting in the press box at Michigan Stadium, watching the Wolverines storm to a 27-7 lead over Illinois midway through the third quarter when a kindly, gray-haired U. of M. alum seated in my row leaned in toward me.

“You know, that Tom Brady,” he said in hushed tones suitable for press row, “I think he can be a pretty good NFL quarterback.”

“Uh, sure?” I replied, a bit skeptically, considering that Brady, a senior, wasn’t even Michigan’s full-time starting QB. He split time that season with sophomore Drew Henson.

That day, Illinois rallied to stun No. 9 Michigan 35-29 as Brady threw a couple of interceptions down the stretch and looked like anything but a future NFL superstar. But ever since then, as I’ve watched Brady win three Super Bowls, make countless clutch plays for New England and become arguably the premier signal-caller of his generation, I’ve remembered that wise Wolverine booster’s prophetic words.

Yeah, I guess you could say Tom Brady has become a pretty good NFL quarterback. Jay Cutler, meanwhile, is still trying to learn how to be one.

And, on Sunday, the gulf between Super Bowl contender Patriots and Super Bowl pretender Bears was exposed to be as wide as the gulf between the team’s starting QBs.

On a day that could have put Chicago salt trucks out of business, Brady froze the Bears’ defense, completing 27 of 40 passes for a season-high 369 yards and two touchdown passes during his eighth consecutive game without an interception.

Cutler, meanwhile, just looked frozen.

“We could have been playing anywhere, didn’t matter what the field was,’” the Bears QB said after tossing two picks, losing a fumble and completing less than half his passes for 152 yards in the Bears 36-7 loss.

With that quote, Cutler essentially said that he could have stunk no matter the game conditions, whereas Brady was going to play big on any field, in any weather.

Now, I doubt that’s what Jay meant. But the statement still would be correct. As leaders and as winners, the two quarterbacks are in completely different leagues. Brady, this year, is gunning for his fourth Super Bowl crown, while Cutler is merely trying to make a postseason game for the first time since he was a senior in high school.

Disparities in the NFL don’t get much bigger than that.

Yes, with Green Bay’s loss at Detroit, the Bears remain in solid shape to win the NFC North and make the playoffs.

But, after Sunday’s debacle vs. New England, the Bears’ Super Bowl dreams need to be put to sleep.

Defense might indeed win championships, but Super Bowls also are generally won by teams with great quarterbacks.

The cold truth is the Bears still don’t have one of those.

And the Patriots most certainly do.

Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.

davewisch Wisch: Cold Truth, Cutler Just Not In Bradys League

Dave Wischnowsky

If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com.

  • Mike Murphy

    Anyone who ever thought Cutler was in Brady’s league is foolish. How can you compare three Super Bowl wins to zero playoff appearances?

  • Barry Colebank Jr

    Two words: Trent Dilfer.

  • Dave Wischnowsky

    Oh, I’m not saying that you must have a star QB to win a Super Bowl, Barry. There certainly are exceptions, but as I wrote, NFL champs generally feature a great QB.

    If you don’t have one, then you better have a truly dominant defense, and I think the Bears’ D on Sunday was exposed as being less than dominant.

  • Mitch Longley

    I hope this game brings everyone back down to earth about what this Bears team is really about. They suck.

  • Mark Mark

    Dave, your column makes no sense. First of all, of course Cutler cannot be in Brady’s league without ever having played a playoff game. To compare the two is not worth the effort. Second, you admit that the Bears’ playoff chances were improved by the Packers’ loss yesterday, then you say that their Super Bowl chances have disappeared. Pardon me, but by getting in the playoffs (and having a bye and a home game, as of the moment), the Bears are in a good spot to be Super Bowl contenders. I, for one, would love to see this game replayed without the elements. To me, the cold actually hurts the Bears because they are a team built on speed, which is neutralized with the snow. But to say that the Bears just got closer to the playoffs and then immediately say that they have no Super Bowl chance is just ignorant.

    • Dave Wischnowsky

      If you think they have a chance to win the Super Bowl, Mark, then you’re entitled to your opinion. I don’t. When I wrote “Super Bowl contender” I was referring to a team that could actually win the thing, not just reach it. Could the Bears still emerge from the NFC? Sure, I guess so (although I certainly won’t bet on that).

      And what I was writing about in regards to Cutler is the messiah status that many Bears fans and a lot of media placed on Jay before he had even played a down in Chicago. During the summer of 2009, he was already christened a Super Bowl championship-caliber quarterback in the same class as Brady for absolutely no legitimate reason. And that was enormous folly, a fact we were reminded starkly of vs. the Pats.

      We saw what a Super Bowl QB looked like yesterday, and it wasn’t the guy wearing No. 6 for the Bears. (Cutler, however, is hardly the Bears’ only problem, but I don’t think he’s their solution, either.)

    • wideglide

      Keep drinking the Kool-aid Mark Mark. Look in the mirror to see real ignorance.

  • J-Dubya

    I am tired of watching them. I am tired of paying attention. I basically DON’T CARE anymore.

    They have one quality win (Eagles) and two quality losses (Giants & Patriots). The rest is a joke. When they show up they are pretty good. When they don’t they are one of the worst teams in the league.

  • paul Barnett

    I agree that at this stage Jay Cutler is no Tom Brady. However Brady has played many years in the same organization, same coach, same system. Jay on the other hand 2 different teams three different coaches and offensive systems.Give him some stability and continuity and you will see a great QB. P. Barnett

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