Ellis: What if we all just stopped yelling about Justin Fields?


(670 The Score) There may be no bigger mirage on this planet than Bears Twitter. We so often find ourselves, the weary traveler, stumbling through harsh deserts (the internet, to be clear), in search of reprieve – and there it is. It’s glorious! A lush watering hole, ripe with reaffirming likes and quote tweets to parch our dry, cracked lips. We deliriously crawl to the water’s edge, desperate for the type of rejuvenation that can only come from loudly proclaiming our opinions about quarterback Justin Fields. But there’s no relief to be found on the banks of Twitter dot com – what looked, from a distance, like a welcomed paradise is simply nothing more than a dozen 45-year-old men calling you misspelled curse words. The hot sand burns our calloused hands as it slips back into the abyss.

Anyway, about Justin Fields. If you, like me, have been cursed to a lifetime of endlessly pulling a boulder up the treacherous hill that is Bears Twitter (changing the analogy every paragraph is just one of the many perks of this job), you may have noticed somewhere along the way that he’s a pretty frequent topic of conversation. You may have even heard that the Bears have given up on him! It’s very sad.

You may have also heard that the Bears haven’t given up on him, you idiots, and that suggesting otherwise is a surefire sign of trolly, click-baiting nonsense. It’s … also very sad? I dunno, it’s all so confusing. Navigating the current Fields debate is like running stadium stairs designed by MC Escher. So hear me out, what if we – and I’m serious, hear me out – just … stopped? What if we all just stopped? Would that be so bad? It could be, like a fun, viral internet challenge. #LeavingTheBattleFields would be a hit, I’m certain of it. Our therapists would be so proud of the progress we’ve made!

Because here’s what we know about Fields after 10 career starts: He’s better than Mitch Trubisky. We also probably know that he’s unquestionably the most talented quarterback (and dancer) that the Bears have had since people actually enjoyed going to Soldier Field. With Fields, the Bears have a chance. What specifically they have a chance at right now is less clear, but at the least it’s probably better than the prior version of the Bears, which got stuck on “beating Green Bay once.” We also know that the Bears haven’t given up on Fields, simply because they, you know, have explicitly said so. NFL coaches love lying almost as much as they love defending their decision to punt on fourth-and-1, but it’s hard to look at what the Bears are doing and come away with the idea that there’s secret Bryce Young-inspired espionage happening in Lake Forest. Getting a good quarterback in the building is the hardest part of running a football team, and new general manager Ryan Poles and new coach Matt Eberflus rolled up to Halas Hall – before the sun, of course – with one in hand. Wasting two or three seasons of everyone’s time and money because you’re on the fence about him is how you end up as a guest analyst on "Sunday NFL Countdown."

But here’s a thing about the capital-n National capital-m Media: Most of them are there for a reason! Discrediting every reporter who doesn’t live in Chicago’s northwest suburbs reeks of envious projection more than anything else – it's possible and probably likely that Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated might be plugged into the general consensus of NFL circles. It’s entirely reasonable that someone at Football Outsiders, a site that’s built its whole identity on thorough statistical analysis, might statistically analyze the Bears’ wide receiver room (it’s bad!) and come to the conclusion that it’s bad!

For as obviously talented and full of potential as he is, Poles will absolutely mess something up at some point. He probably already has. But take it from someone who has lived in Washington D.C.; Ipswich, Massachusetts; and Goldsboro, North Carolina: The outside world is so much less invested in slighting the Bears than you think. The NFL’s Deep State has enough on its hands right now. And quite frankly, I’d argue the opposite. Considering how often the Bears are shoved onto national broadcasts and considering how objectively cool Fields is, there’s almost certainly a widespread interest in the Bears being good.

Like a mirage, there’s no comfort to be found in yelling declarations about the future of Fields’ professional life. We’ve all considered the roster, pored over the statistics and zoomed in on that picture of him watching tape on his iPad. But have we considered doing literally none of those things? For all our convictions and attempted viral quote tweets, what peace has it brought us? (Excuse my needlessly dramatic introspection – I just turned 30.) There will be games – 17 of them at the very least, and probably way more – to judge Fields. If getting mad online about it one way or another is your preferred brand of self-indulgence, so be it.

But no one is right, right now. Isn’t that a relief?

Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.

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