Dec 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (90) hits Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and causes a fumble during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler: Let the games begin

In this week’s headlines, the Sports Cheat Sheet featured “7 NFL Quarterbacks Who Are Really Making the Most Money.”

We have to figure Aaron Rodgers would be up there.

He was.

In fact, Rodgers ranked sixth, right next to the Chicago Bears’ Jay Cutler who was ranked at $54 million, tied with Aaron Rodgers. Wait a minute … I double-checked it and that was correct, both are listed as earning an actual amount of $54 million.

The only good thing I see there is that Aaron is ahead of Jay, who is number seven on the list. How valuable are they by merit? Their worth to the team? Actual talent?

I’m counting Rodgers ahead with two wins and one tie, being the worth to the team. I’m sure Cutler’s worth everything to the Bears, by what they gave him in a contract. Then there’s the W & L category being a factor. By the way, Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers quarterback, ranked first in the top 7 at $61 million, followed by Matt Ryan at $59 million, and Tom Brady at $57 million.

I’m sure some Chicago fans are certain Cutler belongs at the top end of the list, and a recent ESPN Chicago radio program featured Brett Favre who said that Jay Cutler has come into his own lately, and is definitely the kind of player who is able to take the Bears to the Super Bowl.

This pits me against Favre and the Chicago brass, who likewise think Jay Cutler is “Da Man.” Cutler’s Bears were 5-6 in games Cutler ran the offense, while Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles was 8-2, and Aaron Rodgers was 6-3. To think the Bears have a talent on the same page with Green Bay (Rodgers) is dead wrong. Last season there were fifty-three (53) different quarterbacks who played in NFL games. Of those 53 players, Jay Cutler ranked 22nd, .455 percent winning, versus Rodgers 6-3 for a .667 percentage, and yet these two earn the same pay?

Yes siree, Bob, this is true!

Despite the record produced in the 2013 season, Cutler signed his current contract Chicago brass gave him on Jan. 2 this year. How can a team give a player who had put out a .455 winning record the same type of deal as conference leader Aaron Rodgers?

This averages the same as Rodgers and only $4 million less than the San Francisco ace who now are rated in the top three of NFL teams. The Bears are paying front row money for the back closet seat.

OK, I must get more class – make that back row seats – and my apologies to the Bears. Maybe the Bears’ front office hierarchy figured they can make a quarterback, like their pals up north some 215 miles.

First Brett, followed by Aaron? Sure, they paid both very well. Mike McCarthy’s been earning talk around the NFL for making quarterbacks. So the predecessors to George Halas got together to figure out how to develop a quarterback. You get what you pay for, they said, and … seemingly decided to pay him the money so he’ll want to come back to play more and do his best to win.

The vote went up and sure enough, Cutler gets a whopper contract. To pay for it, they got rid of Julius Peppers.

The vote went up and sure enough, Cutler gets a whopper contract. To pay for it, they got rid of Julius Peppers.

Who needs defense when they run a spin-off of the West Coast offense. It’s spun off alright, about 5 miles east of the old Sears Tower, in the beautiful blue Lake Michigan. We hope a sense of humor can be found in this, just in good fun, continuing the rivalry without the fights.

But the rivalry continued on the playing field, with fans supporting bad calls by officials, and boos for unsportsmanlike conduct creating friction between fans that followed their teams out of town.

As time moved through the Lombardi years, and the next couple decades, players’ salaries rose through the first million, then multi-millions, up until today’s tens of millions per-contract paydays. At the top of the pay scale, quarterbacks remained the highest paid skill position. Every play, the QB must touch the ball, and that responsibility left no tolerance for error in NFL games.

Passing became more prominent, inspiring the ball-handlers to develop pin-point accuracies, up to the Aaron Rodgers’ era, when hitting the players’ numbers became an every-pass situation. Rodgers perfected accuracy. Passes rarely were off-target more than a foot or two during Rodgers’ tenure, to-date.

To date, no teams have covered the Packers very well, for very long. Aaron Rodgers has been beyond human in the Packers backfield, his control of the team has been awesome, to say the least.

While much of the success goes to the credit of the players, as a unit compare the Rodgers’ success rate to Cutler’s. You’ll find when they are hot things look much the same. You also will find differences in the team and individuals have done. Rodgers has a better surrounding cast of talent.

A few years back, Aaron Rodgers sat on the bench thinking about playing. When the time came, Brett Favre was asked about Rodgers. He replied to the question with the things you’d expect, saying that Aaron is ready and will be a very good quarterback.

Today, when asked about Jay Cutler, Favre said nearly the same thing. Aaron played his first year a little shaky at times, then settled down to business. His business was scoring points, throwing the ball and handing it to his backfield people, in all cases with no mistakes.

Things settled down and began to click as the team won games. That just kept on going until Aaron was injured. Then the team saw just how good he really is; to play without him winning was difficult to come by.

The Bears saw the same thing in Cutler’s injury. He’s a good quarterback, after all the slanted talk is over. He wouldn’t be playing as a pro if he wasn’t.

Is he better than our guy?

No.

But look for him to compete. He can beat you if you let him.

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