Around Christmas time, I was playing NCAA Football on PS3 against my boy from college. I was at his house, on his system, on his game … and I stomped him. At some point in the fourth quarter, frustrated and getting done in by the Legion of Hokies Doom, he yelled “F*** this!” and tossed his controller against a wall.
Crazy? Yeah. Awkward? Definitely. Scary? Almost. But hey, at least he left no doubt that he really cared about the outcome. If only Jay Cutler had heard this story, maybe he would have acted differently yesterday and wouldn’t be the national sports pariah of the moment.
I’m just about done with this whole sports media thing. The latest headache-inducer began Sunday afternoon, while the Chicago Bears were in the process of losing to the Green Bay Pacers in the NFC Championship game. Cutler, the Bears’ starting quarterback, injured his left knee in the first quarter and had to leave for good in the third quarter. He should have actually left. Because by the time the game was over, Cutler’s sideline demeanor and decision (whoever made it) to stop playing — and the fact that he wasn’t limping enough for some people’s taste — was being bashed by a legion of NFL players, fans and media. Essentially, the charge was that Cutler bitched out of the biggest game of his career.
While today’s revelation that Cutler suffered a torn (or sprained) MCL hopefully snuffs out the accusations that he was faking/milking an injury, there is still ill will toward Cutler by jersey-burning fans in Chicago for not showing enough “fire” and “emotion” while his team went down. As ESPN football analyst (and former Super Bowl-winning QB) Trent Dilfer put it, “It’s the fact that he didn’t show the demonstrative behavior most players would have shown.”
I will say this much: I didn’t like how Cutler seemed to let third-string QB Caleb Hanie burn in the frying pan by himself, as the veteran never appeared to (at least on camera) stand by the youngster’s side and offer counsel during the biggest game of his career. Almost every time I saw Cutler after he was sat down, he was …. well, sitting down. But then again, his knee was hurt, and I know from my days playing football that your body gets A LOT colder when you’re not playing as opposed to when you’re on the field. So making a cocoon out of yourself on the bench in 10-degree weather is kind of understandable.
But the whole “demonstrative behavior” concept is what annoys me, especially when people take one moment and turn it into a smudge on a player’s entire career. We went over this earlier in the NFL season with Arizona Cardinals QB Derek Anderson, who was “caught” laughing and smiling on the bench while his team was getting molly-whopped in a Monday Night Football game. But haven’t we all had a day that was going so badly all we could do was laugh? And what is Anderson supposed to do, keep a twisted mean-mug “game face” on for the entire four-hour MNF production? Read More>>