Drawing a line in the sand

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Things were going great in the first half of the season. Over the course of the last 8 games, the offense was playing well, scoring points with the best in the league. Kyle Orton was playing excellent, taking care of the ball and making big plays with his arm.

Then Orton went down at the end of the first half against Detroit, and I was struck with this thought:

Here we go again.

Only, my “here we go again” thought was not about the erratic, up-and-down play of Rex Grossman. Rather, it was the chorus of boos generated by the fans for every one of Grossman’s missteps.

It was bad enough in the preseason when Bears fans were booing Grossman after he had already lost the competition for the starting quarterback job. It’s even worse now that fans keep voicing their displeasure when he doesn’t have a competent quarterback — like Orton — behind him.

Look, Bears fans, Orton may be out for up to a month. That means — like it or not — Grossman will now be the Bears’ leader. And you’ve got two choices: you’re either with us, or against us. There’s no third option.

Why do Bears fans boo Grossman? Well, here are some excuses I’ve heard both face-to-face and on the radio:

  1. “We boo him because he stinks.”
  2. “We boo him because he’s inconsistent.”
  3. “We boo him to show our displeasure toward Jerry Angelo.”

My rebuttal:

  1. He’s the best option the Bears have right now with Orton out.
  2. Fair enough. But see No. 1.
  3. Do you honestly think Angelo gives a rat’s behind what you think about any of his players, or that you have the slimmest of chances of influencing his decisions? No.

Bears fans, you have no excuses left. Nothing holds water. Booing Grossman is like booing the Bears. If you boo him, you’re not really a supportive Bears fan, plain and simple.

What kills me is that the Bears have had a ridiculous list of bad quarterbacks — and other players — over the years that have been far worse than Grossman, and haven’t accomplished as much as he has. By booing him, Bears fans obviously subscribe to the theory that:

It’s better to be consistently bad than inconsistently good.

In other words, it’s better to have Jonathan Quinn than Rex Grossman. That’s sad.

The Bears are still very much in this playoff race, and, thankfully, Grossman will play just one home game over the next month, should he be needed for that long. By coincidence, Barack Obama was elected president last night and his message is the same I’m giving to all Bears fans: now is the time to come together. Whether you like him or not, for the sake and fortunes of the Bears, you need to support Grossman through thick and thin.

Just remember this: Grossman is not the Bears starting quarterback. He is the Bears’ backup and he is filling in for an injured Orton, who has shown to be a better player. There is no more competition. You don’t have to try to persuade the Bears’ coaching staff or front office about which guy you prefer.

When Orton gets healthy, Grossman will return to the bench, even if the Bears are 4-0 with him at the helm.

For the sake of the other 52 players on the team, get behind Grossman. It’s not fair — and it doesn’t help — to anyone else on the team when you boo Grossman.

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