Harris: Be Thankful For Cutler
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By Adam Harris-
(CBS) The debate is old and tireless: where does Jay Cutler rank as a quarterback in today’s NFL? It generally ends with both parties agreeing to disagree on exactly where Cutler ranks, but no one ranks him outside the top 11 or 12.
All that really matters, however, is how lucky Chicago is to have Cutler under center for this Bears team.
This year, the Bears are one of 14 teams that have a remote possibility of winning the Super Bowl. The other 18 teams are already out of contention because of who takes their snaps.
Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Tom Brady (Patriots), Eli Manning (Giants), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Peyton Manning (Broncos), and Drew Brees (Saints), are all quarterbacks who have reached that superstar level and as long as they are in the league, their team can win the Super Bowl. They are all Super Bowl champions.
The next tier is as follows: Jay Cutler (Bears), Matt Ryan (Falcons), Michael Vick (Eagles), Tony Romo (Cowboys), Philip Rivers (Chargers), Matt Stafford (Lions), Cam Newton (Panthers), and Matt Schaub (Texans). These quarterbacks all have the pure talent to win a Super Bowl, but just haven’t to this point because of the lack of experience, or poor performances in big time games.
I stretched with a few of these names in the second tier with players like Michael Vick, Matt Schaub,Tony Romo and even Cam Newton but even with including these names I have a list of 14 quarterbacks that have a remote chance to win this year’s Super Bowl.
That means there are 18 teams entering this season that do not have a good enough quarterback to make them Super Bowl contenders, thus making the Bears a very lucky franchise.
In the past 20 years, only two Super Bowl champion quarterbacks would have fallen into the third tier of my list, and all the other quarterbacks would have fallen into my first tier of quarterback rankings.
Trent Dilfer of the 2001 Ravens and Brad Johnson of the 2002 Buccaneers each won Super Bowls by protecting the football and relying on defense. They both do not rank in either of the top two tiers.
The other quarterbacks to win Super Bowls in the last 20 years are, Rodgers (2011), Eli Manning (2008 & 2012), Brees (2010), Roethlisberger (2006 & 2009), Peyton Manning (2007), Brady (2004 & 2005), Kurt Warner (2000), John Elway (1998 & 1999), Brett Favre (1997), Troy Aikman (1993, 1994 & 1996), and Steve Young (1995), all first tier rankings, maybe second tier at the beginning of the season.
In the NFL, especially in today’s NFL, a team cannot begin a season starting the likes of Joe Flacco (Ravens), a recovering Carson Palmer (Raiders), or even Kevin Kolb (Cardinals) and expect to win the Super Bowl.
Imagine being a Chiefs fan this year, and knowing you have no chance to win the Super Bowl because Matt Cassel is under center in game one. Better yet, imagine watching the continued struggles and rebuilding in St. Louis as Sam Bradford takes the helm during the season’s first snap.
Even the New York Jets have no chance in my mind because despite all their talent on defense, their offense is lead by Mark Sanchez and I guess sometimes Tim Tebow. Can either of them hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season?
The answer is simply, NO.
The next time Bears fans find themselves wanting to bash and rip Jay Cutler apart or even complaining about a bad decision or throw Cutler makes in a game, just remember, at least you aren’t in Miami.
At least, you are one of the 14.
For more information, follow Adam on Twitter @AHarris670