A few years ago, when Philip Rivers was an up-and-coming star for the San Diego Chargers and Jay Cutler was a young gunslinger for the Denver Broncos, the two quarterbacks didn't exactly get together well. You could have said that there was a bit of a rivalry brewing between the two, right up until the Broncos traded Cutler to the Chicago Bears as part of new (and since-departed) head coach Josh McDaniels' attempted to overhaul the organization.
The animosity presumably stemmed from not-so-cordial confrontations like this one that cameras captured on national television a few years ago:
Fast forward a few years, and now Cutler is leading the NFC-contending Bears as they host the struggling Rivers-led Chargers on Sunday afternoon. Asked by reporters on Wednesday whether or not Cutler had "smoothed over" his relationship with Rivers, the star quarterback had some choice words (via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago):
I don't know him. You have his number or something, maybe we can call him up.
So, yeah. Clearly there's still some animosity brewing between Cutler and Rivers. At least Cutler can remind himself that he's actually been the better quarterback this year.
According to ESPN's new Total QBR statistic, Cutler has been slightly above-average as a quarterback this season, with a 52.8 figure that's good for 14th in the league. Rivers is 22nd with a below average 45.1 figure. The system is designed so that a 50 mark is exactly league average. The Bears are also riding high at 6-3 with a four-game winning streak, while the Chargers are 4-5 and riding a four-game losing streak.
Given how well Cutler's been playing lately, I'm guessing that his focus is solely on winning Sunday's game. Being able to beat Philip Rivers in the process is just gravy.
For more on Sunday's game, check out Windy City Gridiron, SB Nation's Chicago Bears blog, and Bolts From The Blue, SB Nation's San Diego Chargers blog. Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more updates.