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.”