Rick Morrissey's Revisionist Bears History

Team handled quarterback situation correctly, unless you're writing from 2009

Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey is usually an interesting read -- a semi-reasonable voice in a town that was once rhetorically pummeled, day-in and day-out, by the likes of Jay Mariotti's windsock-style dishonesty. Morrissey sometimes does things that enrage us blogger types (his dismissal of baseball statistics is a classic example) but, basically, there are many worse offenders on many other fronts. We're OK with Rick Morrissey.

Today? Not so much. On this day, Morrissey's decided to enjoy the perspective of 2009 in criticizing a Bears move that took place years ago. That's hardly a fair fight, but Morrissey wages it all the same:

It's about the Bears and Kurt Warner, who will be the starting quarterback for the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. After the Giants said goodbye to him following the 2004 season, Warner took a tour of Halas Hall and Angelo & Co. told him they would like to sign him, but only as a backup. Why? I think you Bears fans know the answer. Because Rex was our quarterback.

Morrissey is referring to Lovie Smith's line -- "Rex is our quarterback." -- that Smith used to overuse more than sportswriters overuse single-sentence paragraphs. For a time, no matter what Grossman did, he was the Bears' quarterback, both because the Bears selected Grossman in the first round and because they didn't have a better option on the bench. (Remember, Kyle Orton was still in his larval stage. Heck, he might still be.)

But the larger meat of what Morrissey is arguing here is that the Bears screwed up in not signing Kurt Warner in 2004 when they had the chance. Why is this a mistake? Because Warner is going to the Super Bowl. Nevermind the fact that a) Warner, at the end of 2004, appeared to be washed up, and played like it in Arizona, losing the starting role to Matt Leinart on numerous occasions and b) the Bears had just drafted not one but two young quarterbacks they were eager to develop. Why oh why, in 2004, would the Bears have signed Kurt Warner? Were they supposed to know that he'd mesh so well with Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald and go on to revitalize the Cardinals?

No, they weren't, because they made the decision in 2004, and decisions aren't made in a vaccum. You can't go back now and argue what pretty much everyone at the time thought would be a bad idea is suddenly a good one. That's too easy, because that's not how life works. Maybe Warner would have been a good Bears quarterback. More likely than not he would have been bad, because the Bears offense has been bad. The point is, we don't know. Arguing anything else is too much like stacking the deck in your favor.What's the fun in that?

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