"There is no sports event like Opening Day of baseball, the sense of beating back the forces of darkness and the National Football League."-George VesceyIt's Opening Day. Thankfully. Because the events of the past week have made the upcoming NFL season look a little less exciting. The Bears have a franchise quarterback for the first time in my lifetime, and, while it looks like the Vikings did not have a chance to get Jay Cutler once Matt Cassel was traded to the Chiefs, it's still disappointing to see him end up in the NFC North.
And yes, I know that Cutler is a horrible human being (because their love for Brett Favre shows the media's ability to judge character) , that he doesn't have the intangibles to make the playoffs (last I checked, football is the ultimate team game and his defense was about as bad as the Lions' last year) and that no quarterback that has every demanded a trade could possibly lead a team to the Super Bowl (Eli Manning and John Elway say hello). Doesn't matter to me. Jay Cutler is really, really, really good, he's 25, he made the Pro Bowl last year and he's going to spend at least the next 10 years running the Bears offense and running it well. Really, the only difference between this trade and the Jared Allen trade is one more first round pick, which pays for the two extra years of Cutler's career that will be played with the Bears.
So are the Bears going to win the Super Bowl next year? Probably not. As others have pointed out, Chicago's team is a little too old on defense and a little too shy of play makers on offense (though you'll be surprised how much better their offense is with a real quarterback). But the trade means that not only are they're going to be in contention for the NFC North again this year, but they're probably the favorites to win it and that's mainly because when their offense trots out onto the field, the guy under center is a Pro Bowler, not Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels.