There’s no doubt that Jay Cutler has been given a bad rap by sports fans. Outside of Chicago, he is easily one of the more disliked athletes in all of professional sports. In some cases, it’s warranted, but in many cases, it doesn’t make much sense.
It seems to be sort of the perception that Cutler is a quitter. And that he is soft. Neither of those are the case at all. Does he have a bad attitude at times? Absolutely. Given what he has to work with on offense, it’s understandable to a certain extent–even though that doesn’t always excuse it.
Regardless of what you may think about the attitude and the personality of Jay Cutler, it’s almost impossible to question his toughness at this point. But after the Chicago Bears‘ loss to the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 NFC Championship game, those questions continue, even for Bears fans who still feel the sting of that loss. That sting hasn’t been made any easier by the fact that this team has failed to make the playoffs the last two years, but I digress.
Cutler did not play in the second half of that game. With no word from the Bears, the entire nation watched Cutler appear to simply quit. It was only later that we would find out that he did actually have a knee injury, and Lovie Smith refused to let him enter the game.
No, we did not see Cutler fight with his coach to attempt to get back into the game. But no one knows what actually happened or was discussed in the locker room at half time. What we do know, is that by taking so long to report the injury, and still having Cutler out there in full gear, is that the Bears royally tarnished the image of Cutler, even more than it already was at that point.
Fast forward to present day. Cutler has missed time with injuries, yes. One was a freak injury, one was a concussion. But on almost a play-by-play basis, he is out there running for his life. You don’t need to see statistics to know that Cutler takes a beating worse than almost any other quarterback in the league, whether they register as sacks or not.
Yet, Cutler continues to get back up. Even after J’Marcus Webb misses another block and watches his quarterback get dismantled, Cutler gets back up. Even when he has a concussion, as he did earlier in the year against the Houston Texans, he got back up and remained in the game, until his team thought better of it.
Of course, adding fuel to the fire is the mainstream media and their vendetta against the quarterback. Over the course of a broadcast, every single move of his is under the microscope. And apparently a network like ESPN still has that image fresh in their mind, due to the fact that they found a way to blame Cutler for Robert Griffin III‘s serious knee injury:
Supposedly, there was a fear within RGIII that said, “I don’t want to end up like Jay Cutler and have everyone on the planet hate me.” When you consider the fact that we already knew about the RGIII injury, and he came in wearing the massive knee brace, this type of thought from the all-pro quarterback seems absurd.
It’s time for everyone, the mainstream media in particular, to drop this nonsense about Cutler not being a tough quarterback. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Watch about five minutes of tape from his time in Chicago and you’ll understand.
And as far as his supposed apathy goes, networks analyze his every move. When he does show some fire, he gets called out for it by every single analyst in the world. Perhaps a new coach and some more talent around him, particularly in front of him, will help him shake that image and get a little more love nationwide and not just in the Windy City.