Troy Aikman was seated at a crowded table in Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville on media day the Tuesday before Super Bowl XXXIX when I asked him how Sid Luckman remained the Bears' all-time leading quarterback after, well, roughly a half-century. You know, back when leather helmets were the thing in professional football.
Aikman turned to me, laughing and said, ``That's my question. That says it all, doesn't it? It's absolutely mind-boggling. Maybe what it points to is just not really being able to get a quarterback who could last for any significant time.''
It wound up being just part of a story for the start of the 2005 season on the franchise's inability to cultivate any success at the position. It came on the heels of Rex Grossman breaking his ankle in a preseason game in St. Louis, Chad Hutchinson playing himself out of professional football in a series of disastrous preseason outings and a rookie fourth-round pick named Kyle Orton being named the starter less than two weeks before the start of the season.
``Amazing,'' Terry Bradshaw said when asked about the same Luckman issue on a visit to training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill. ``Hey, somebody has got to hold the record. Might as well be ol' Sid.''
The belief at Halas Hall is that the trade last week for Jay Cutler will solve the issue, at least for the next 10 years or so. The Web site coldhardfootballfacts.com takes a close look at this very issue with some numbers that might be eye openers.
Here, Cold Hard Football Facts explores some other interesting numbers, building a case that the Broncos' 2008 offense was very much like the one the New England Patriots had in 2007 when they stormed through the regular season 16-0 by shattering records.
Cutler was seen by most pigskin "pundits" as one of the bright young stars of the NFL - a player who seemed to prove his place in the NFL when he passed for a tremendous 4,526 yards last year. It was easily the most prolific passing season in franchise history. Consider that John Elway himself surpassed the 4,000-yard mark just once - and just barely - with 4,030 yards in 1993. So many observers were confused when [Josh] McDaniels walked in and immediately made noise about acquiring another quarterback, touching off the flame war that ended in Cutler's trade to Chicago on Thursday. But McDaniels apparently knew what the Cold, Hard Football Facts have long told you: yards, and passing yards in particular, have virtually no correlation to success in the NFL.