What a crazy couple of games yesterday! I love Championship Sunday. In in a football sense, it’s probably the best weekend in the game – even better than the Super Bowl. Instead of one over-hyped game, you get 2 hyped games, that typically deliver in some fashion.
I thought that the Jets/Steelers game was going to be the one to watch, but it turns out Bears/Packers was a more compelling game. Not only was it closer at the end, but it was packed with tons of drama. You have CSU’s own Caleb Hanie leading the Bears from a 14-point deficit and putting them in a spot to win the game. While I began the game rooting for the Packers, I thought a bears win would have been incredibly compelling, if anything for the 2 weeks of distractions this QB situation would cause.
As a football fan I’m extremely grateful for the sacrifice the players make, just so that we can be entertained, and I do feel bad when a player is injured. I don’t know the workings of Jay Cutler’s body, and when he says he’s injured, I have no reason not to believe him. At the same time, players need to understand that the perception of a situation can be worse than the situation itself – and this one of those cases. It’s one thing when fans are questioning his toughness, but when you had players on Twitter (one of the many reasons why Twitter is so compelling) questioning his toughness, it apparently moved Cutler to tears when he found out.
The issue isn’t whether Cutler got hurt. We’ll out find out in the next day how bad the injury is, which will lead to vindication to one side of the debate. However, the issue lies with the actions that took place before and after the injury that cause the perception of his injury to take shape.
Before the injury Cutler was playing poorly, and Cutler’s body language reflected his displeasure at the way the game was going. As much as I hate Tom Brady seemingly berating other players on the sidelines (sometimes for his own mistakes), it’s at least a better reaction than hanging your head and staring at the ground.
Then came the moment that the Bears decided to pull Cutler. Cutler didn’t go back to the locker room to conduct further tests, nor did he even put an ice pack on his knee. He didn’t put on a headset or try to huddle around his replacements when the came back to the bench. Cutler simply sat down, by himself and stared at the ground the rest of the game, completely disengaged. At that point, I think Cutler would have better served himself being off the field or even out of the stadium, at least he could use the "we’re looking at the injury" excuse.
Again, I’m not going to question the guy’s heart. Only the training staff knows the severity of his injury at the time, and only Cutler knows how he felt during the game. Unfortunately sometimes in life, perception can be more important than the actual chain of events – and I think to many Bears fans (as well as Cutler critics), the perception speaks volumes.
I’m sorry Bears fans, you guys had a good run. As crazy as Denver’s QB situation is, I’m just glad that Cutler’s no longer a Bronco. Denver has enough controversy already.