So this past weekend, ESPN analyst Tom Jackson got up in arms about Chicago Bears Jay Cutler not saying hello to a security guard and that this proves the point that There’s Something About Jay Cutler, where it may be nothing but it’s still something.
And that prompted the likes of Awful Announcing to go into detail about what goes into the Extremely Stupid Pundit Narrative.
But in Cutler’s case, the narrative isn’t always about how Awful Announcing describes it — there are those guilty of making Cutler out to be better than he really is.
Disclaimer: I am a Denver Broncos fan and have as much fun as other such fans in passing along the “LOL Jay Cutler” joke any time he throws an interception, because this is what Bronco fans who are proud to have Peyton MF Manning for a QB will do to Cutler. HOWEVAH, that does not mean I won’t try to engage in some objective analysis when it comes to tearing down the ESPN talk.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Jay Cutler is a talented quarterback but he has this gunslinger mentality that’s quite similar to Brett Favre, in that you will either sit back in amazement when he makes plays and declare, “Wow, that was fucking awesome!” Or you will sit in back in disbelief when his pass into coverage gets picked off and wonder how he could be such a fucking idiot for making a boneheaded decision.
And one of the key differences between Favre and Cutler is this: Favre has this aw-shucks, drinking-buddy, good-old-boy personality that causes most media pundits to fall in love with the guy, while Cutler projects the image of the guy who isn’t interested in sucking up to these pundits and thus gets portrayed by them as not giving a rat’s ass about a game he’s supposed to love with all his heart.
One thing should be clear: There isn’t just the narrative that Cutler is aloof, self centered and lacking in LEADAHSHIP. There has also been the narrative — and still is to an extent — that Cutler is this elite quarterback who can transform any franchise into a WINNAH and if he ever makes a mistake, it’s because he doesn’t have somebody to help him out.
Both narratives date back to his time with the Denver Broncos and how it unceremoniously ended after the 2008 season. NFL fans will recall that Josh McDaniels was the new head coach at the time, there was talk about the Broncos acquiring Matt Cassel from Josh’s former team, the New England Patsies, and sending Cutler somewhere else. Cutler then got butthurt, while Mistah McD did his best Bill Belichick impersonation, until Pat Bowlen decided it was time to send Cutler packing.
And this led to the two groups with their own narratives they wanted to form. The first group consisted of those who couldn’t believe you’d trade a franchise quarterback and how it wasn’t Cutler’s fault the Broncos sucked because something something NO RUNNING BACKS NO DEFENSE NO NUTHIN’. And the second group was all up in arms about Cutler being a big baby and not understanding the NFL is a fucking business — that second group forming the crop of pundits who later kept declaring Cutler JUST AIN’T A LEADAH!
Both sides forget three key points:
- The Broncos had just fired Mike Shanahan as head coach and Cutler really liked Shanny — a guy who is known for getting the most out of his QBs;
- Jeremy Bates did not stay as offensive coordinator when Mistah McD was hired and Cutler really liked Bates — although it may be debatable whether or not Bates is the right guy to be coaching NFL QBs; and
- Bus Cook happened to be Cutler’s agent and Bus Cook happened to represent other players who had hissy fits about how their teams treated them — and why, one of those players just happened to be Brett Favre.
Roll those three points together and you likely had a situation that was destined to boil over. But neither side’s narrative wants to recognize these things.
Instead, since his trade to the Bears, we debate on whether or not Cutler was a wimp for not finishing the 2010 NFC championship game when his team needed him the most or whether or not he was a big meanie because he got in the face of left tackle J’Marcus Webb — in both cases, it’s the old Extremely Stupid Pundit Narrative at work.
Cutler defenders and detractors alike need to face reality. The truth is, Cutler is a talented QB who is capable of having very good games and capable of having very bad games, who tends to benefit from currently playing on a team with a great defense that is good at giving the offense great field position, while playing on an offense that is mostly run through running back Matt Forte, with just his former Broncos BFF Brandon Marshall to throw passes to, and having to deal with the fact that the general manager who acquired him gave him jack shit for an offensive line (a big reason said GM was sent packing last season) — and all the while, he’s not acting like it’s the end of the world as we know it if the Bears happen to lose a game now and then.
That’s closer to the real story behind Jay Cutler. He’s not this elite quarterback who can transform a team like magic and he’s not this sulky, whiny bitch who doesn’t give a crap about his teammates. He’s just a guy who happens to be a good — just not THAT good — quarterback who doesn’t treat what he does for a living as anything more than a job, even as a bunch of pundits line up to talk about how he could possibly do that when his job is practically Amerikana.