Jay Cutler NFC Championship Game: Another Viewpoint
My esteemed writing colleague, Cherie Burbach, wrote about the Jay Cutler debacle as created by the media, judgmental football viewers, and others in her article, Who Gets to Judge Jay Cutler? In keeping with the “Jay Quitler” theme, the story lays out all of the NFL twitterheads’ comments and the prevailing opinions of others regarding what people believe Jay Cutler should have done. I come at this entire situation from the other side. My contention is that what people who would comment about what Jay Cutler should have done – is: “can it”.
The reality is simple, none of us, NFL players included, could possibly have known the extent of Jay Cutler’s injury and its impact on his ability to effectively play out the rest of the NFC Championship game. In this day-and-age of instant feedback – we can’t stop people from shooting their collective mouths off about such experiences. It’s especially humorous coming from those of us who have never played a meaningful down of high performance football in our lives. Frankly, it’s alarming that it would come from fellow union members in the NFLPA.
Another reality is this: Short of a Chicago Bears comeback win with Jay Cutler at the helm, there was no good ending for this for him.
1 – He leaves the game or is pulled from the game by staff. We all know how that turned out already. It involves uninformed and unnecessary criticism of Jay Cutler before the facts are ever revealed.
2 – He stays in and plays poorly. He gets criticized, as he sometimes deserves, for his erratic play and he has “choked” in a big post-season game.
3 – He stays in and plays poorly and it’s later revealed that he has a severe knee injury, now known to be a grade 2 sprain of his medial collateral ligament with a partial tear. He and/or the training staff are vilified for allowing him to remain in the game and sink the team’s chances to win the NFC Championship Game.
Hurray for Jay Cutler. He loses anyone you slice it if he doesn’t win this game, regardless of the circumstances. Why? Because we allegedly know better – what, with all of our knowledge and NFL experience. In the words of Chicago Bears General Manager, Jerry Angelo, “I think it’s crap.”
When it comes to current NFL players making disparaging remarks from the quiet comfort of their homes, a comfort afforded them by their early exits from the playoffs, all I have to say is – shouldn’t you be out on the golf course? Didn’t Maurice Jones-Drew “bail” on the last 2 games of his NFL season when the Jacksonville Jaguars were fighting for their playoff lives? What a dumbass.
When it comes to former NFL players making negative commentary from the cushy chairs on the sets of their network studios, I have this to say – intelligent observers realize that you need to manufacture a controversy to hang on to your ratings. My very special message to Deion Sanders: shut your fat yapper, chief. You’re a guy who never missed an opportunity to avoid making a tackle. You have no business commenting on anyone else’s toughness.
To NFL fans who have no idea what the hell is even going on when it comes to injuries and their impact on the ability of players to do their jobs effectively – go have another beer. You’re the same degenerate who calls out sick from work when you run a slight fever and have a snotty nose.
In an era where the protection of the health of players is allegedly on the forefront of both the league’s and player’s minds – to spout off with this crap about Jay Cutler “sucking it up” and playing with a significant knee injury in a big game is beyond ludicrous. As for Jay Cutler - like it or not he also has the rest of his career to think about. If stepping out of the NFL Championship game to better preserve my ability to make tens-of-millions more dollars in an uncertain NFL career is accomplished by pulling myself out of the game, you can bet your ass that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Why is that? Regardless of what NFL players (current or former), NFL fans, and all the other talking heads have to say about what Jay Cutler should have done or shouldn’t have done – once his career is over, it’s over, and someone else will come and take his place while he fades into the obscure NFL afterlife. He will be forgotten quickly as we turn our attention to the next NFL star we can criticize from the convenience of our homes, our local bars, or our network studios.
Lost in all of this was the fact that Caleb Hanie, a third-string unknown quarterback, came in and played extremely well. Hanie made a one-sided borefest into an exciting finish. He ended up giving the Chicago Bears a very good chance of beating the Green Bay Packers and becoming one of those “stories for the ages.” That’s where our attention should have been. Not the guesswork that became the disgraceful criticism of Jay Cutler before the facts were known.