What are the chances that Jordan Love will continue the Packers’ ownership of the Bears?
Aaron Rodgers’ pending move to the Jets doesn’t guarantee success for the Monsters of the Midway.
I’d like Bears fans to go deep into the dark recesses of their association with the team and tell me what the most hellish future would look like with Aaron Rodgers no longer in the NFC North.
I ask because all I’ve seen are rosy imaginings of how the Bears will profit from the superstar quarterback’s likely move from the Packers to the Jets, pending a trade. Many of the fantasies envision the Bears finally overtaking their blood rivals after decades of failure, with exciting young quarterback Justin Fields leading the way.
But having spent more than 30 years dealing with Brett Favre and then Rodgers, and feeling the endless thud-thud-thud of a mallet on their skulls, Bears fans might be saying all the right things while knowing intuitively that, if the topic is quarterbacks, there’s a chance there’s a whole lot of pain ahead.
So let’s get it out in the open.
The boogieman is Jordan Love, and the worst-case scenario is that he becomes what Rodgers was to Favre, an improvement.
Now, what are the odds of this happening? Slim, one would think. Since the Packers surprised everyone, especially Rodgers, by taking Love in the first round of the 2020 draft, he has started one game. When he has played, it hasn’t exactly inspired ballads about his mighty deeds.
But it would be just the Bears’ luck that Fields doesn’t even move up to being the third-best quarterback in the division in 2023.
It would be the Bears’ luck that Love spends the next 12 years or so making life wretched for them.
As I mentioned earlier, that probably won’t happen. It’s hard to be right three times in a row on a position as difficult and complicated as quarterback. What part of me thinks it will happen? The part that likes a good knock-knock joke. It would be stupid and silly and ridiculous that three green-and-gold bolts of lightning would strike the Bears in the same spot. But we’ve all seen a lot with this franchise. It explains the haunted looks you notice in the eyes of passers-by in Chicago.
The question each Bears fan must ask himself or herself is how likely it is that the Packers had grown so tired of Rodgers’ prima donna act that they were willing to trade a four-time league Most Valuable Player to the Jets in order to see what they had in Love, an unproven commodity. That’s not the way NFL teams think. Teams want to win no matter what, and if that means dealing with a wildly expensive quarterback who can’t seem to get enough attention in his life, they’ll build a stage for “The Bachelor’’ at their practice facility to keep him happy.
So the idea that the Packers are making a crazy bet on Love doesn’t hold up. That doesn’t mean Love is the next Rodgers. It means the Pack thinks he can compete well at the NFL level. They could be wrong about that, but they certainly wouldn’t trade Rodgers to the Jets knowing they’re wrong about Love. There’s obviously enough belief in the kid to get rid of a 39-year-old quarterback who is both talented and irritating.
The most interesting part of all this, the part the Bears can (sort of) control, is Fields. The passive approach is to wait and see if Love becomes a worthy successor to Rodgers. The active solution is for Fields to be so good that it doesn’t matter whom the Packers have at quarterback.
How far Fields can go is unknown, too, but at least the Bears addressed one of their great weaknesses by trading the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft to the Panthers for wide receiver D.J. Moore and a bunch of high draft picks. We don’t yet know how good a passer Fields is, but we do know how limited his options were when he did sling the ball last season.
The fact that the Bears haven’t had a superstar quarterback since the Middle Ages doesn’t ruin the possibility that Fields could be the next one. It doesn’t help, karma-wise, but it’s not a curse. On the other hand, don’t hold me to that.
For now, Bears fans can celebrate that Rodgers soon will be gone.
Wait a second.
Remember when Rodgers screamed at fans during a 2021 game at Soldier Field that he owned them? Does that ownership go with him to New York? Hmmmmm. We might have to get the lawyers involved just to be on the safe side.