You could understand why the Bears wanted to keep Jay Cutler in bubble wrap. Cutler had nothing to gain by playing Thursday.
You also can understand why fans who paid a minimum of $76 per ticket felt like they were taken advantage of. They were, by a system that is set up to disappoint customers.
Lovie Smith might have been amped about seeing Matt Blanchard play, but the guy wearing face paint and an orange poncho in the north end zone seats clearly was not.
If there was a legitimate reason for Cutler to sit, the reason was not evident. His fiancee gave birth to their son Wednesday morning, so Kristin Cavallari likely would not have been up to get under center.
But Cutler was with the team and warming up before the game. He was prepared enough and healthy enough to play.
He just didn't have a reason to play.
That's the problem with preseason games. Four of them are too many.
If the Bears had only two exhibition games scheduled, Cutler would have been playing Thursday night.
Instead, the hearty fans who were not dissuaded by bad weather or bad football were given a full plate of backup quarterbacks.
Jason Campbell started the game and didn't make much of an impression.
Cutler, he was not. There were no spectacular throws that inspired high-fives. And there were no puzzling passes that ended up in the hands of bad guys.
He threw only five passes and completed four of them but averaged 2.6 yards per attempt.
"We were going up against a tremendous defense," Campbell said. "We're not trying to do anything to really show our hand or show what we have right now. ... This is our first day out here — it's my first time playing in 10 months, so we just have to get back going again."
Josh McCown was similarly unspectacular, completing six of his 10 passes for 56 yards and failing to generate a single point in four drives.
Blanchard, it turned out, provided Bears fans with the most excitement of all the quarterbacks.
The undrafted free agent from Lake Zurich led the Bears to their only scoring drive of the night and completed six of seven passes in the fourth quarter. The roster longs shot was on his way to becoming the next darling of Soldier Field until he was intercepted by former Bears corner Joshua Moore late in the game.
The Broncos, meanwhile, had a more entertaining quarterback situation.