You’d think that after four years of divisiveness, of father against son and mother against daughter, people would put aside their differences and usher in a new era of togetherness. Support the new guy. For the good of the union, and all that.
That’s not how the body politic works, though, especially when the body is gazing upon the lifeless form of a football team. Mitch Trubisky is gone, and he should have taken with him all the unpleasantness of his time as a Bear. There should be joy for everyone involved over the idea of a new chapter in Chicago. But, no. Instead, it’s like a number being called at the deli.
That would be Andy Dalton, who is $10 million richer and none the wiser in terms of what he has gotten himself into with the Bears. Oh, he thinks he knows because social media didn’t react well to his signing the other day. To a city that that has seen some things when it comes to bad quarterbacking, his arrival is being likened to a stomach pumping.
Here’s the good news for Dalton: There’s a decent portion of the fan base that is remarkably forgiving. Even if he struggles in 2021, he’ll likely have half the fan base on his side. How do I know this? Because, despite all the evidence to the contrary, a good number of Bears fans decided to see no evil when they watched Trubisky play. Same with Jay Cutler before him. In fact, there are still Bears fans who insist Trubisky’s struggles had more to do with Matt Nagy’s shortcomings as a coach than with the quarterback’s lack of football skills.
The fact that Trubisky just signed to be a backup to Bills star Josh Allen, and not to compete for a starting job elsewhere, won’t sway the pro-Mitch crowd in Chicago. You can hear their cries in the wind: Just because 32 head coaches don’t think Trubisky is an NFL starter doesn’t make them right!
With Dalton, will Bears fans finally put their collective foot down and see a shrug of a quarterback for who and what he is? Or will they follow the path that many of them took in supporting Trubisky, never mind all the data that said, “You’re supporting a guy better suited for a career as a pep-rally leader’’?
I vote for the latter. If Dalton struggles as a Bear, blanket condemnation will remain in the drawer. His struggles will be the subject of the usual raging debate.
“Besides Allen Robinson, who else does he have to throw to?’’
“If you asked Dalton to throw a ball from Oak Street beach into Lake Michigan, he’d miss his receiver.’’
“No quarterback can succeed in Nagy’s offense.’’
“Fire the McCaskeys!”
My head hurts. My head always hurts when it comes to the Bears.
Something about the sight of a quarterback in a Bears uniform brings out blind loyalty in too many people around here. Bernie Madoff could put on the blue and orange, and some fans would call him “misunderstood.’’ How, they’ll ask, is a Ponzi scheme any different from a trick play?
Maybe this is how fans keep their sanity. The Bears ask a lot from the faithful, with very little in the way of return. Perhaps the only thing to do for many of them is to blindly believe. Is that a character flaw or something to be celebrated? The truth is always the best approach, but I can see why fantasy might be a decent survival skill.
I recently teased those Bears fans who had thought the franchise stood a chance of landing Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. It didn’t, not even with an offer that reportedly included three first-round draft picks. Kind of hard to acquire a superstar quarterback if you don’t have a good quarterback to offer in return. But I do understand the instinct to want to believe that a miracle is in reach.
It’s the same instinct that made many fans believe that Trubisky was something different than what the stats and the eye test said he was.
There are fans who, on their deathbed, will insist that Mitch was a good player who simply got a raw deal. I will feel the strong urge to tell them that Trubisky couldn’t complete passes longer than seven yards, but something about people dying in front of me will stop me. I do have limits. I think.