I don’t know about you, but I had a hard time sleeping last night. I was deep in thought. Thinking about the entirety of my Bears fandom, and came to the conclusion that tonight is the night I’ve been waiting for my entire life.
Being a Bears Fan since I was a small child, I’ve had to endure my fair share of disappointing quarterbacks.
Others have had it longer than I, but for me, it all started with Cade McNown. I have brief memories of guys like Erik Kramer and Rick Mirer, but honestly, I was just too young then.
When Chicago selected the UCLA quarterback, even though I was only six, I never felt any sort of excitement for him. And we all know how that story unfolded.
In fact, I recall hearing the Soldier Field faithful clamor for Jim Miller. Miller was a good quarterback, but not great. He did help lead the Bears to the playoffs in 2001, but let’s be honest, that was more due to the Bears’ top-ranked defense.
After Miller exited the NFC Divisional Playoff game to the Eagles with a separated shoulder, it took two years for any sort of “hope” to return for the Bears’ quarterbacks.
Chris Chandler? Nope. Kordell Stewart? Nah … Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, and Jonathan Quinn … talk about an absolute nightmare.
Then, with the 22nd pick of the 2003 draft, the Bears drafted Rex Grossman out of Florida, who was a year removed from being the runner-up for the Heisman trophy.
He was known for his cannon of an arm, and to be honest, I (for a brief moment) thought he could be “the guy.”
But after only starting seven games in his first three seasons, my hope was dwindling. Then, as the full-time starter in 2006, everybody knew that Grossman was not capable of being a franchise guy.
At this point, along with practically every other Bears Fan, I was beginning to wonder if we will ever find that franchise quarterback here in Chicago.
In 2008, Kyle Orton started to look like there was potential, and even though I thought he played well, let’s be honest, did you ever feel any real “buzz” about him? For me, that answer is simple — no.
But then, the trade happened.
I still remember where I was when I saw the news break that the Bears traded for the Broncos’ 25-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback. I recall running around the house, calling my dad, and telling him “we got our quarterback.”
That feeling was confirmed when I witnessed one of the best scrambles in Soldier Field when Cutler went up and over the Lions’ defenders to score. A moment that will forever be etched in my mind.
Now don’t get me wrong, Jay will always hold a special place in my heart. As the Bears’ all-time leading passer should, and I never thought any excitement could surpass that evening when he became our quarterback, but then it happened when the Bears selected Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick.
We were live on YouTube when the pick was in, and I could hardly spit out my words. I was shocked and awe-inspired. I believe the words I was able to muster out was “holy crap.”
From that moment on, there was only one day I was looking forward to and that was for Trubisky to make his debut, and for our future to begin.
That day is today. It’s finally here.
In fact, when I really think about it. Today is the day I’ve been waiting for my entire life.
For the first time in my almost quarter decade as a Bears Fan, I have confidence that the quarterback lining up under center is our future and is someone who will accomplish great things.
In Chicago, we have not had a quarterback of this caliber. The closest is Cutler, and we’ll find out who had the most talent when it’s all said and done, but just the intangibles Trubisky brings to the table are eye-popping.
My whole life I’ve wondered if the Bears could find an answer to the most important position in football. They’ve tried. They drafted players in the first round, but the wrong ones. They traded for who they thought could be that guy, but that didn’t play out as expected.
But tonight is different. It has a distinctive feel to it. It really feels as if the Chicago Bears are turning a page and beginning anew — a feeling I’ve never felt before as a fan of this team.
Perhaps this confidence in Trubisky is misguided, but deep down in my gut I believe in it, and so do many of you.
General Manager Ryan Pace believes in him. That’s why he drafted the quarterback out of North Carolina despite only starting 13 games. Pace said moments after drafting Trubisky, “I don’t want to be average, I want to be great.”
And I believe that “Greatness” will come.
Mike Glennon’s four games were as bad as we’ve seen in Chicago and that loss to the Packers was one of the darkest times I’ve had as a fan. But in the darkest times is when the light shines brightest, and that light is Trubisky.
They say good things come to those who wait, and in Chicago, we’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting … for this moment to come.
Today marks the first time in my entire life that I’m no longer “waiting” for the future. But rather, I’m living in the moment, focusing on the present, because when Trubisky takes his first snap as the Bears’ starting quarterback, our future begins.
It’s going to be a day, that all of us Bears Fans look back on fondly. We can ask one another, “Where were you when Trubisky started his first game?”
Just like Patriot fans who remember where they were when Tom Brady entered the game for the injured Drew Bledsoe.
So make sure to take it all in tonight. We’re officially turning the page that has the long list of putrid quarterbacks, and on the top of this new page, we write down the name Mitchell Trubisky.
The rest of the page remains blank. As it awaits the story yet to be told. A story that I strongly feel will be packed with accomplishments and accolades for both the quarterback and this Bears’ team.
So right now at this second, I’m turning the page and am looking forward to the blank slate that lays before us.
The Trubisky era brings the most optimism and hope I’ve had about this franchise in my entire life.
And so the adventure begins. Sit back and enjoy the ride.