Good Riddance, Cutler

I still can't believe the good fortune the Chiefs have stumbled backwards into now that the Broncos have officially divorced themselves from their magnificent young quarterback, Jay Cutler. It's almost too good to be true, especially when you consider just how Cutler came to be a Chicago Bear. The precise turn of events is stunning.

We'll get to that in a minute. But first, Cutler, and his complete domination of the Chiefs over the last two seasons.

Four games might not seem like much, but there's no question – Jay Cutler was a thorn in the side of KC's defense for two seasons as Denver's starting quarterback. It was fairly obvious he was going to get comfortable and twist his way deeper as his career continued. All the signs were there.

First, there are Cutler's gaudy numbers against the Chiefs. In four starts, he completed 98 of 145 passes for 1,083 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions. That's good for a quarterback rating of 96.4, and if you believe certain media outlets, Cutler may have done all of that with a hangover.

Regardless of his sobriety level, not only were Cutler's stats impressive, the Broncos' offense as a whole generally functioned like a well-oiled machine. Cutler's ability to keep the Chiefs' safeties away from the line of scrimmage opened up the running game, and Broncos running backs easily piled up yardage. Selvin Young had two huge games against Kansas City in 2007.

Then of course there is the fact that the Broncos pretty much whipped the Chiefs while Cutler was starting. They blew them out twice in 2007, including a 41-7 thrashing at Mile High. Last season Kansas City avoided the sweep, but a 24-17 loss in Denver was probably not as close as the score indicated (the Broncos outgained the Chiefs by 165 yards).

Other than a couple of bad interceptions at Arrowhead last year, the Chiefs really had no answer for Jay Cutler. With Philip Rivers also tearing up AFC West secondaries, it was pretty obvious – Kansas City would either find a quarterback who could compete, or keep losing division games to teams with superior quarterbacks.

You might disagree, and laugh at Cutler's penchant for stupid interceptions and immaturity. But I can't really recall another young AFC West quarterback from recent memory who has owned the Chiefs as completely as Cutler did. Even Gunther Cunningham managed to get inside Rivers' head a few times. I was completely convinced Cutler was going to make Chiefs fans weep and gnash their barbecue-stained teeth for many years to come.

Even worse, I actually liked Cutler. I admired his style of play. I had quarterback envy, and that's no fun, especially after Chiefs fans endured John Elway for 15 years.

But now, thanks to an incredible turn of events that won't soon be forgotten, Cutler has been practically exiled from Denver. Even better, he's been dumped out of the AFC as a whole. He's in Chicago, which is relatively close to Kansas City, but about as far away as you can get in NFL terms. The Chiefs won't play the Bears in the regular season for at least two more years, if at all.

How did it happen? How did the NFL Gods smile upon Kansas City by unceremoniously removing one of the best young quarterbacks in the entire NFL from the AFC West? You have to go all the way back to draft day 2006 for the first domino to fall.

That was the day the Chiefs drafted safety Bernard Pollard. While he had nothing to do with Cutler's recent trade, in a roundabout way he had a huge impact on the events that surrounded it.

When Pollard rammed into the side of Tom Brady's knee last September, he opened up the door for Matt Cassel to shine. Cassel's mentor and offensive coordinator in New England, of course, was new Broncos' coach Josh McDaniels, and it's been widely reported that McDaniels attempted to trade for his former quarterback earlier this offseason. That's what set Cutler off months ago.

If Brady isn't injured, Cassel never shines, perhaps McDaniels isn't hired in Denver, and Cutler is still wearing orange and looking forward to torching Pollard twice a year. In the saga of Hurricane Cutler, Bernard Pollard is the butterfly that flapped his wings in New England.

The next domino falls on draft day 2007, when Kansas City picked Dwayne Bowe. Twenty months later, Bowe would find himself lining up on KC's "hands" team, waiting to recover an onside kick that would have sealed a Chiefs victory over the Chargers.

You know the story of course – Bowe fumbled the ball, the Chargers recovered and went on to win the game, Carl Peterson announced his resignation, and we all threw a big party. But had the Chargers lost that day, the Broncos would have won the AFC West, Mike Shanahan likely would not have been fired, and there's no way Cutler would have been traded.

The third domino, of course, is Scott Pioli. Likely, he wanted Cassel as KC's new quarterback from the beginning. We had little idea of Pioli's desire for Cassel, but it's entirely possible McDaniels did, having worked with Pioli in New England for eight years. In his haste to grab Cassel before Pioli could, McDaniels obviously mishandled the quarterback he did have. And now he's stuck with Chris Simms and Kyle Orton.

You might point out that the Broncos are also "stuck" with a boatload of draft picks. Denver has four first-round picks to play with over the next two drafts. But what are the chances of Denver finding two Jay Cutlers in five years? Heck, the Chiefs have been waiting around almost 40 years for their next young franchise quarterback.

I could go on and on, and talk about how Gunther Cunningham had to decide to blitz Pollard on that particular play in New England, how Herm Edwards had to foolishly choose Bowe for the hands team, and how Clark Hunt had to perfectly exercise his own exquisite brand of headhunting in order to secure Pioli.

So many crucial dominoes fell in this story it's ridiculous. All we can do is count our blessings and thank everyone involved that Jay Cutler is out of Denver and the Chiefs won't have to deal with him twice a year ever again. Good riddance.

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