Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Apology to Jay Cutler

I am embarrassed to call myself a Bears fan. Not because of the outcome of the NFC Championship game but due to my own actions and actions of some other Bears fans.

I am apologetic.

I got caught up in the hype of Jay’s injury not to have enough clarity with my own eyes. I threw Jay Cutler under the bus when I tweeted about the knee injury. Sure, I could go into a speculative rant about how the injury happened and the oddity of the situation but where does that get me? At the end of the day, I am accountable for my actions and my behavior as a fan.

I have had some clarity since then but I wish I could say the same for other Bears fans…

“He quit on us” I heard in the line of a Dunkin' Donuts this morning.

“What do you think of Jay Cutler now?! said sarcastically by a Bears “fan” at work.

“I hate Jay Cutler. Can’t stand him” a disgruntled season ticket holder told me.

In Chicago, we pride ourselves on our work effort and I believe Jay Cutler is no different from the rest of us. In Cutler’s 5 seasons in the NFL he has missed 2.5 games (including playoffs). He has had to learn 4 offensive schemes on 2 different teams. This below average offensive line has allowed Cutler to be sacked a total of 89 times in two seasons. Throughout the 2010 season, Cutler was sacked the most out of any other QB in the league (57). As the pocket collapsed around him, he had only average receivers to throw to. Despite all of this, he refused to throw his teammates under the bus and continued to play hard every Sunday (with type 1 diabetes mind you).

Quitter? No.

Tough S.O.B.? Yes.

This was a good season. The Bears finished with an 12-6 record, earned a first-round bye in the playoffs, decisively won a playoff game against the Seahawks (a team that beat them earlier in the season) and played in the NFC Championship game. Under the circumstances, this was an improved team from last year. It goes without saying that Cutler also made strides statistically. But this improvement doesn’t seem good enough for some Bears fans.

I think it’s important not to spread systemic hatred for Jay Cutler and subsequently run him out of town (ask Denver about this). Jay is our quarterback (said in Lovie Smith voice). Now that we have heard the severity of his injury (torn MCL), I would hope some of us would be apologetic about our behavior. To go so far as to call him a quitter, light him up with ignorant tweets, have unbelievable hatred for this man and burn his jersey is inappropriate and classless.

I guess the old saying is true; "It's easier to apologize than it is to ask permission."

6 comments:

  1. good blog post, i never really had a problem with cutler in the game other than he was just awful throwing the ball in the time he wasn't hurt...what i did have a problem with was the idiot coaching staff. a timeout on 3rd and 3 when hanie has the packers defense on their heels that stops all the momentum only to have bennet RUN the ball?!? how did that make sense?!? there were a lot of other questionable coaching decisions made in that game...so if there is someone to throw under the bus, it's the coaches. stoopid bears...coaches!

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  2. Good stuff, Will.

    I played football for 11 years and sometimes I couldn't believe some of the things my family and friends would say after the game. They'd think some player was loafing when I and the rest of the team were acutely aware of the fact he was playing with a sprained ankle or some such injury.

    We fans really get only the tiniest sliver of the sports world, yet we flaunt our shred of reality as though it were absolute and transcendent.

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  3. Im not a Cutler fan, but I totally agree that the injury based hatred is ridiculous.

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  4. This is a very articulate statement of the logical and rational case against those who rushed to judgement without benefit of NFL experience, a medical degree, nor even a report from someone in a white coat.
    One thing: The statistical link doesn't work. I'd like to see it and share it.

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  5. I agree Tony. And thanks for bringing the broken link to our attention. Will has since fixed it.

    I think, however, the stats may need some input: We should notice how his total passing yards are up, while his interceptions are down -- but more importantly his AYPA (adjusted yards per attempt) show a decent improvement. He was just 0.1 behind Mark Sanchez (who plays with superior surrounding talent).

    He's not lighting up the league, but next year -- if we acquire an improved offensive line -- he just might.

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