The healthy Jay Cutler we're familiar with, running for his life. (Photo courtesy of Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune)

The Real Facts About the Jay Cutler Conundrum


As we move into Day 2 after the Jay Cutler Conundrum, I still cannot believe how many bandwagon Bears fans hate Jay because he was injured and taken out of the game on Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I know many knowledgeable die-hard fans are just as sick as I am about hearing the illogical blatherings of the loud minority. I know each and every Bears fan at Solider field was cheering him on during the first half and probably the whole season, but then they are burning his jerseys after the game. I can’t believe that I keep hearing reason after reason why Jay Cutler is a bad quarterback, a faker, a pansy, a liar, a scaredy-cat, a bad teammate and a quitter. I would like to take the time to shed some light on these garbage myths that people are trying to pass off as fact.

Myth:  Jay Cutler was hurt and took himself out of the game.

First of all, yes he was hurt and everyone knew it going into halftime. Everyone is ranting and raving that Cutler took himself out of the game, but in reality, he did come back and play the first series of the second half. In a press conference, Lovie Smith said that the trainers said he shouldn’t play, but Cutler came back and tried to play. On his one series he looked very ineffective on his injured knee and Lovie pulled him. Not Cutler’s decision. Lovie went on to say that Cutler wanted to go back in but could not play effectively.

Myth:  Jay Cutler could have finished the game.

Again, yes, he could have physically finished the game, but do you think he could have performed better with an injured knee than he was playing in the first half? The game plan was bad, he was having a bad game and everyone on the offense, besides Matt Forte, were playing poorly. If you are going to be mad at Cutler for anything, be made that he wasn’t playing well, not that he didn’t go back in the game. What people don’t understand about an MCL injury is that it affects your lateral movement, meaning he wouldn’t be able to move side-to-side. How effective would Cutler have been dropping back to pass but not being able to scramble or roll out of the pocket? With that offensive line he would have been sacked 20 times.

Myth:  Jay Cutler was “pouting” on the sidelines, not helping Caleb Hanie and being a bad teammate.

People see a few five second clips during the game and Cutler isn’t calling out plays on the sideline and being a cheerleader and everyone freaks out. Caleb Hanie went on ESPN radio yesterday and stated that Cutler was, in fact, talking to him and helping him out with game-planning. Also, the Bears have tons of coaches to call out plays and analyze that game, granted I’m not so sure how much I trust some of those guys. And fan after fan is criticizing Cutler for ignoring teammates and being off in his own world, yet many teammates, including Brian Urlacher, Chris Harris and Anthony Adams, have come to his defense and said that he is their guy and they want him as their team leader. Isn’t that exactly what you want as a fan, a guy that has the respect of his teammates? Sure, you might say that they are just saying that because they have to but plenty of guys have called out teammates when they have performed poorly (Check out Boomer’s article about Urlacher’s original thoughts about Cutler.) The leader of your football team is only responsible for the guys on his team, he doesn’t need to be Mr. Personality to the media and fans.

Myth:  Jay Cutler should be cut, the Bears don’t need a guy like him.

Jay Cutler led the Bears to the NFC Championship game, a place that they had only been to once in the last twenty years. They got there because of him, not in spite of him (see: Rex Grossman). This is the first time in a long time that the Bears have a full-time quarterback that is recognized as being one of the most talented in the league. Does anyone remember 2003-2005? Bears quarterbacks threw a total of 32 touchdown passes in those three seasons. If the Bears coaches and management fix the offensive line and get some real receivers, you will see how valuable Cutler can be.

Myth:  Other quarterbacks have played with injuries, Cutler just isn’t tough enough.

Everyone is quick to mention that Chargers QB Phillip Rivers played in the 2007 AFC Championship game with a torn ACL. Guess what happened? The Chargers lost the game. Also, people fail to mention that he tore his ACL in the Division Championship game a week earlier and LEFT THE GAME IN THE THIRD QUARTER. Also, Patriots QB Tom Brady played in Super Bowl XXXVI with a sprained ankle. He sprained it two weeks earlier in the AFC Championship game, a game which he left and did not finish because of his injury. So the real story isn’t that Jay wasn’t tough enough to finish the game, he isn’t the first guy with a significant injury to do it. Had the Bears made the Super Bowl, we maybe would have seen just how tough he was if he played. I don’t know how you question a guy who lost over 30 pounds during a season, continued to play and then found out he has diabetes.

So there you have it, my take on the situation. Hopefully people can look at the facts and see where their quick decisions on the situation are completely wrong and we can go back to being one of the strongest fan bases in the nation. I’m sure I’ve missed some of the other criticisms so please, enlighten me if you have more “reasons” why “Cutler sucks” so we can put this all behind us. A Bears nation divided will only get us second best like it did this year. Cutler will be back next year and we will have to ride the roller coaster again. Super Bears Super Bowl in 2012.

What camp are you in?

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  • Boomer

    Wow Deez – way to bring it! Great post to sum it all up. It makes me sad to think that Bears fans will now be divided into the Pro-Jay and Anti-Jay camps. I hope the jersey burners come to their senses by the time we slap the pads on in late July.

    • Boomer

      PS – I added a poll to take everyone’s temperature.

      • deez

        Thanks Boom! It’s going to be a loooong offseason and this whole thing has already gotten out of control. It really sums up a season where people just wanted to hate the Bears for any reason. We just gotta keep on keepin’ on.

    • dmcsherlock

      Hey, Deez, Jay and Bears’ PR staff are out back with your money.

      • Tom

        Hey dmcsherlock, if you can’t refute any of the points, then why don’t you just make a useless comment?

        Oh wait…you already did. Well then, good show.

  • Mr. Pickles

    Excellent points. I think a good footnote to all the moronic Jay Cutler criticism is that, even in defeat, the Bears still proved they were a legit Super Bowl contender this season. GB was well on their way to a rout but the Bears hung tough and, on the arm of their third string QB, were in a position to come back and win this game. Unfortunately it didn’t pan out but the fact that they didn’t roll over and made things interesting proved they deserved to be there.

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  • chicagoirish5

    Excellent points, Deez!

    For those that question Jay’s toughness, I would ask if you’ve ever had a severe knee injury. I have – torn ACL, MCL and an avulsionary fracture (tendon). It hurts like hell and it feels (at least mine did) like I had a fifty pound water balloon in my knee. Walking was possible, but side-to-side movements were damn near impossible. Quick movements – forgetaboutit!

    If you burned your jersey then your an idiot. Do you need help moving to Cleveland? I’m sure you feel better for doing it after you just wasted your hard earned money burning your own jersey

    If you question why he didn’t return to the game but was able to walk on/off the field then you need to revist my comment two paragraphs above. Not to mention, how many times have you seen a player walk off the field, then hear on Monday that their knee is ripped up and they are done for the year.

    As Deez brings up, Rivers played the following week but had a knee brace to provide support. It’s not like NFL teams have knee braces lying around for everyone in their locker room. Knee braces at the NFL level are professionally form-fitted and take a few days to be made. It’s not like their locker room is Dick’s Sporting Goods and they have them lying around.

  • Big Bear

    Good analysis and commentary, but folks are still missing the forest by looking at the trees. It is not about the knee or the toughness, especially given the news flow and support from yesterday on those two matters. A lot of fans remain pissed at Jay over the pouting. You guys that are coming to his defense are just not getting it: Deez, the “few” 5 second clips were many, and about every 10 minutes over the course of the entire second half, and its not like when they weren’t showing Jay pouting he was clapping and cheering on his fellow soldiers… that means 90 minutes of fan (and possibly) player demoralizing pouting. Oooooo, Caleb Hanie said that Jay spoke to him on the sidelines on ESPN radio… give me a break.

    ChicagoIrish — you say this does not matter and compare the sulking to other players. It is pretty darn clear that the behavior matters to fans. Chicago is an emotional town and you have to earn and maintain fan loyalty — that means better team spirit from Cutler in the second half, bottom line. The NFL exists only because of fans. The truth is that if Jay does not pout, there is no one asking if Soldier Field will have him back next year.

    The people who have Jay’s ear should let him know that the fans know the truth about the injury and the toughness, and they also know he is a star QB that can win future Superbowls for us, but we are owned an apology for his selfishness in the second half when the rest of us were still freezing our butts off cheering for the team.

  • Bob

    As a die hard Bear fan in Upstate NY i first want to tell you that your site is great i am on here everyday. Secondly thank you for this post about Jay i am so sick of all of these Bandwagoners trashing Jay we would not have been in this game without him. Lastly Trent Dilfer is an A&&hole just sayin

  • Jimbogbp

    Generally, image is everything, trumping the truth. The image / body language that Cutler portrays is usually that of someone who doesn’t care. It certainly looked like he didn’t want any part of the game on Sunday. I am not accusing him of this; in fact, I am sure he put everything he had into the game. It’s just that the image he put out was a negative one; I believe that is what most of the haters saw and focused on.

  • jackkkk

    Cutlers a baby he pulled him self because he knew he wasn’t gonna win. It’s the NFL if your the starting QB and you can walk in a big game like this you rally your troops and hang in there. Cutler just gave up cause he’s a poor loser. I’ve been talking nothing but trash about this guy for the last three years and this situation just helps prove me right a little more. Unless this team can win the Superbowl we will see the same thing next year. If jay can’t win the Superbowl he will pull some more poor sport BS.

  • chicagoirish5

    Big Bear – I hear what your saying, but don’t agree with you on the part of the Bears and/or Jay having to apologize to the fans.

    For those of you that think he quit and could have played thru the pain…do me a favor…stand up straight and put about 75% of your body weight on the leg of your choice. Now ask your wife or your husband to step back about five yards. Now have them run at you as fast as they can, lower their shoulder and drive through your knee – either from the front or the side…your choice. Now, after you stop screaming from the pain, get up and try and drop back, plant and throw. Good luck!

    As for the pouty face: Have we really gotten this nit-picky? The next thing you know we’ll be critizing Jay because he scratched his ass with his left hand verses his right. Side line cheering and non-pouty faces, as warm and fuzzy as that makes some fans feel, does not win football games. Talent and play on the field does. On Sunday the Bears fell short on both. If the Bears had pulled that game out we would not be having either of these discussions. We’d all be anxiously awaiting to hear from the sports news source of our choice if Jay is playing in the SB.

    So for those of you that are bothered by Jay’s pouty face, were you bothered by Payton’s facial expressions on the sideline as the 4th quarter clock ticked down during SB XX? Go pull out your copy of the game (all true Bears fans have at least one copy) and watch. The Bears are about to win the team’s first SB and is Payton on the sideline jumping up and down like he did during the NFC Champ game against the Rams? No. He’s pouting because he didn’t score a TD (did he deserve to have his number called at the goal line…HELL YES). If you look closly, you can even see one play where Walter quit and was walking toward the sideline before Perry scored. Personally, I have always kind of held it against Payton that he quit during a play in the SB and was on the sideline pouting. I remember even one shot of him in the locker room, while everyone else was celebrating, it appeared he was pouting (hate to keep using that word) and being consoled by one of the assistant coaches. I guess I kind of looked at it as though Payton put more emphasis on scoring verses winning the game…

    So, do you think my comments about Payton are stupid? Now you know how you Cutler critics sound…stupid!

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  • Stephanie

    This whole article is a load of hoopla… no offense intended. But is is just one in denial fan who can’t see the fact that Jay Cutler lacks any kind of mental toughness… hands down. Thats it! Discussion ended.

    • Boomer

      Steph – there’s no way I’m giving you the last word on this one. This has NOTHING to do with mental toughness and everything to do with a physical injury and not being able to perform the basic functions necessary to throw a football at the highest level. Cutler was hurt at least with 4 minutes left in the half and came out and played 2 series with a bum wheel before THE COACHING STAFF pulled him.

  • Big Bear

    o.k. — No need to debate the Pout Effect any longer (although as a fan, ChicagoIrish seemed to have carried some Walter pouting for many years so it kind of proves my point — just imagine if there were millions of Twitter accounts back then and instead of a few minutes to go in the half you saw him pouting for an hour and a half). But I digress — sadly, in less than 72 hours, poor Jay is not only a verb, but on the other side of the world. Check out this snip from coverage of the Australian open today:

    “MELBOURNE, Australia — So history is lost. Rafael Nadal is out. Even he can’t win on one leg.

    Nadal hurt his hamstring in the first few minutes, and then limped on, tried on, fought on. No way was he going to Cutler this thing. He couldn’t push off on his serve, couldn’t get anything into his shots, couldn’t even run, really. [...]”

    We need some bigger news so people move on. If there are any Dallas readers that know a bartender near a college campus, please offer up a free tab for Big Ben sometime this week. That should do the trick.

  • chicagoirish5

    Big Bear – My Payton comment was an attempt to prove a point. Must not have communicated my point all that well. I do agree with you that I think we all need to move on.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You either like Jay or you don’t. You either think he quit or that he was injured, etc, etc.

    I guess the last thing I will say is this. We all make posts/comments as though we know what the truth is or what really happened. The truth is we don’t know. Our eyes and ears see and hear what we want to see and hear. I have a strong assumption that none of us commenting on this topic were in the locker room or on the sideline. I think we all like to pretend that we know exactly what happens or what is said or what actually goes on behind closed doors at Halas Hall or Soldier Field – we don’t!

  • Dave Johnson

    i think hes a whiney b&tch

    this video sums up my feelings

  • drose1

    he’s a piece of shit treats people like shit so people treat him like shit. I can never root for a piece of shit like that. I hope he fails again and again and again.