Monday, January 24, 2011

Leave Jay Cutler allloooonnnneeee!

So right there in my Facebook and Twitter feed this morning, reposted by people I like and respect for the Blogfrican writing, thar it blows (and blow, it does)... a repost of an impassioned defense of Jay Cutler, and the decision to remove him from Sunday's NFC Championship Game due to a knee issue.

You see, we are being too hard on the twee pouty diabetic. By taking umbrage (something that more people should take, by the way -- America makes some of the finest umbrage in the world, and you can really taste the Um) with the man's inability / unwillingness to continue in the biggest game of his life against his team's biggest rival, with a Super Bowl berth on the line... well, we're being unfair. We're criticizing him in a way that calls his entire life into account, in a way that we can never know, to answer a question that has no answer. It's mean, unfair, biased, tasteless and cheap, it is.

Now, please go take a look at the logo of this here site. Specifically, the tag line of the logo. Then scroll on back. It's OK, I'll wait.

(shifts weight from foot to foot, checks Blackberry)

Oh, you're back. Nice logo, huh? It's actually an ancient surgical tool, which tells you all that you need to know about your prospects for surviving ancient surgery. But I digress. Ahem...

(clears throat)


(coughing fit)

Sorry, I'm not as young as I used to be. Whew, that took me back. Feel a little light-headed now.

Now, I don't actually have anything *against* Cutler. I thought Chicago got the best of the deal they made with Denver for him. I like the way he throws the deep ball, and when he's got his feet set, he's got strength and accuracy in his throws. He's surprisingly mobile, and will hang in the pocket to take a hit. Give him a good line, time to throw and some weapons, I think he can do some damage.

Like, oh, 20 to 25 other guys playing the position in the league, really.

For the task of playing QB for the Bears in 2010, Cutler is compensated to the extent that his year is far, far, far in excess of your life's wages. Or, well, perhaps 50 to 100 of your lives. Over $22 million American dollars a year, for a 27-year-old man. Just one game of his wages -- $1.37 million -- would likely buy all of your worldly possessions, perhaps ten times over. In the lottery of life, Cutler has won, and wins just about every day, just like just about everyone else who has taken a snap from center in the NFL in 2010.

And I don't begrudge him any of that. It's a relentlessly competitive business, and a reasonable approximation of a meritocracy. Nor do I give a rat's lower digestive tract whether or not he stiffs Rick Reilly or any other media member, for that matter. The world would be a far, far better place if we were not allowed, by act of Congress, to ever allow an athlete to speak outside of game play while on camera. I promise, NFL, we'll all still watch the games.

But here's the really nasty bit. If Cutler is the QB of your team, are you really happy about that? I'm an Eagles fan, and there's no way I'm trading Michael Vick, or even Kevin Kolb, for him. He's clearly not in the class of Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger, the guys who will be playing in the Super Bowl. Jets Fan isn't giving up Mark Sanchez for him. Falcons Fan would still rather have Matt Ryan. Saints Fan isn't giving up Drew Brees. The Colts aren't moving Peyton Manning, and the Ravens would rather live with Joe Flacco. Starting to notice a pattern here?

He's just not all that special. And that's not even taking into account the fact that Cutler's leadership skills are an open question, since his college teams stunk, his Denver teams fell apart in the stretch, and he's now 1-1 in the playoffs, with the win coming over a terrible Seahawks team at home.

So, getting back to the question at hand... Was Cutler really hurt? I don't know and don't care; I'm not a Bears fan, and as I had the Packers to cover, so my heart wasn't breaking when he departed. But if he was hurt... well, why isn't he in the locker room? The Bears are going to presumably win the game and play in two weeks; every possible minute of care and training should begin now now now, so the starting QB can play in that game. If they lose, so be it; Cutler has done everything he could to prevent that, than showed confidence in his teammates to go get it done without him. But that's not the point, either. This is. Let me see if I can do this with better technique this time; a little more diaphragm, I think. Opera singer style.


In the 2004-05 Super Bowl, Donovan McNabb plays through nausea in the fourth quarter in his attempt to lead the team back to a win. In another game against Arizona, he plays on a broken leg, one suspects, just to see if he can do it. He threw for four touchdowns that day, not that any of his haters would admit it. Personally, I think if a man plays through nausea, that seems like something you should give him credit for, rather than hate. But Eagles Fan's hate of McNabb is a whole 'nother post. Let's get back to Cutler.

The point of all this?

You can be unfair to Jay Cutler. It's OK. That's one of the nice things about caring about sports; you are entirely entitled to hold opinions on the personal qualities of people you will never meet.

And if Cutler feels bitter about his treatment?

Well, he can go back to sleep on the biggest pile of money that you ever did see, and curl up next to his reality television star skank.

Now, as for the rest of you... is Cutler cutting you a check? Because otherwise, I've no idea why you are carrying his water, really...

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