Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler left the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers after apparently suffering an injury. The Bears were behind at the time and lost the game. After the game, virtually anybody with a social media account (facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc) was giving Cutler a hard time and questioning his mental toughness.
One of the things that disgusts me with media today is the media’s penchant for blowing things out of proportion and/or leeching onto the public perception when public perception blows things out of proportion. Regardless of whether it is the media or the fans starting the fire, the media certainly add fuel to the fire.
Just like any other professional athlete, Cutler is a human being. Human beings do get hurt. The results of Cutler’s MRI scan showed he injured his MCL. The nature of the injury at the very least vindicates Cutler’s decision to take himself out of the game; unfortunately for Cutler, his reputation as a quarterback is questioned because small-minded people get the urge to criticize for the sake of criticizing.
Once the nature of Cutler’s injury was revealed, some former and current NFLers again commented on their Twitter accounts, stating that they were questioning Cutler’s attitude and body language, not his injury. Fair enough. Regardless of what it was you were questioning, it was wholly inappropriate to criticze Cutler. The irresponsible criticism of Cutler from the media and NFLers only added fuel to the fire and made this entire story a bigger issue than it really is.
First of all, Cutler should not be criticized for taking himself out of the game. As anybody who watched the game would know, Cutler struggled throwing the football after he injured his knee. Furthermore, the nature of his injury is enough to affect a quarterback’s play and take him out of the game.
Secondly, Cutler should not be criticized for his “body language” on the bench. While it is true that Cutler appears to be disinterested in the game, that is a very closed-minded thing to assume. Not all people are the “Rah, rah, go team!” personality type. Not everybody has that charismatic “ta-dah!” charm that turns on and off like a light switch. For all we may know, Cutler may have been pondering the game and his play while sitting on the bench. He may have been wondering if he missed some plays and made some mistakes during the course of the game.
Sadly, we live in an age in which everybody is quick to criticize another fellow human being without having the facts first. Questioning his toughness is downright absurd. As often as Cutler has been sacked and hit this season, I would say his toughness is just fine for him to be able to endure all those hits and put up the numbers he posted this season. Cutler improved as a quarterback this season, and he should be proud of his accomplishments and disregard the hotheadedness of fools who are quick to criticize.
Frankly, I am not surprised by any criticism he receives. He did play for the Denver Broncos, who are still searching for their next John Elway. Cutler was a productive quarterback who was still a work in progress while playing for the Broncos. Unfortunately for him, the impatient fans gave him the same treatment they gave to Brian Griese years ago: the He-is-not-Elway treatment.
As for those NFLers who were quick to criticize: maybe the media should review footage of your old games and find reasons to criticize you as well.