A disturbing trend has seen Chicago lose a number of its most important institutions like Marshall Field’s, the Berghoff, the Sears Tower and the chance to vomit on Western Avenue at the South Side Irish parade. Today the city is mourning the apparent demise of another: the beloved Bears Quarterback Carousel.

Since it first appeared in 1951 following Sid Luckman’s final season, generations of Bear fans have taken countless rides on the QB Carousel. While not nearly as fulfilling, most say it is at least as entertaining and exciting as any attraction one would find at the most thrilling of amusement parks.

But now the Carousel is facing the likelihood it will be forced to close up shop as the Bears may have actually found themselves a real franchise quarterback in Jay Cutler. Sociologist Raymond Collins thinks Chicagoans will have a tough time dealing with another blow to their city’s heritage.

“Chicago has a very unique identity, something its citizens have always embraced. The last thing they want is to be just like any other city,” says Collins. “One aspect of that uniqueness has been a long and storied tradition of failure at the quarterback position for the Bears. Take away that Carousel and Chicago loses a little bit of itself.”

Throughout the Chicagoland area yesterday, Bears fans gathered at local watering holes to tell their favorite Bears Quarterback Carousel stories, and drown the sorrow they feel with the prospect of losing a Chicago institution most have known their whole lives. At Finley Dunnes on the North Side, Chicagoan Jason Peterson merely shook his head for several seconds before speaking.

“I can’t believe the Bears got Jay Cutler,” said Peterson. “This is freaking awesome! Best day for the Bears since the Super Bowl in ’06. Hell, they lost the Super Bowl. This is even better!”

Joel Watson of Oak Park shared his friend’s somber attitude, adding, “If they had had Cutler instead of Grossman back then, they would have won the thing.”  

By Ian Schochet