(crossposted from Anchor of Gold)
First, if you haven’t read Spencer Hall’s article, read it. I concur in every particular.
Done? Sweet. Now, an analogy (they’re those things on the SAT, for you non-Vandy SEC fans – you know, the SAT, the one harder than the ACT? Never mind):
Brett Favre:Mark McGwire::Jay Cutler:Barry Bonds.
Think about it. Favre is out there dragging around the field, playing progressively worse until finally being dragged off, and Minnesota”s out of contention – and each of his previous three seasons after “retiring” ended with a game-killing interception, usually in the playoffs – but because he’s a good ol’ boy and a gunslinger and like a kid having fun out there, he completely skates. Even after we all saw why he wears that jersey number. (Too soon?)
Meanwhile, here’s Jay Cutler with a grade-2 tear of the MCL – but because people don’t like his personality, he gets no benefit of the doubt. Actually, strike that – because people don’t like what they think is his personality. Problems with the coach in Denver? Jay’s a spoiled little whinebagger, and never mind that Denver fired Josh McDaniel once they realized that you can’t catch New England Patriots-ness like you would a cold. Cutler ineffective in Chicago? Never mind that Chicago led the league in sacks allowed this year, or that #6 already has one concussion on the season. Comes out of the NFC title game on a national stage? Well he must be a girly-man wimp, since he can obviously walk around, they should have to drag him bleeding off the field as he fights to grab his helmet and run back out there! Never mind that an MCL tear on a quarterback’s plant leg is basically an invitation to crumple in a heap, assuming you can stand up long enough to try to plant on it.
The NFL machine – the league, its amen corner on ESPN, and even some of the players, who haven’t wrapped their heads around what “union” means – have already made their decision. Jay Cutler is Not Their Kind Of Guy. And in the ultra-conservative, ultra-conformist, neo-Dickensian world of the NFL, that’s the worst mark a player can bear. Meanwhile, off we go with one alleged rapist in the Super Bowl and a convicted dogfighter in the Pro Bowl.
But Cutler’s the bad guy. Ah. OK.
Tell you what, all you muttonheads burning your jerseys in the Windy City – if you’re tired of our boy, why not consider releasing him? I’m sure there are at least a few teams that might like to take a chance. Speaking as a guy who has Redskins fandom the way other people have, say, herpes, I’d sign Cutler tonight with no hesitation at all. Because unlike the usual assortment of steroid freaks and has-beens on the Sabbath gasbag shows (Deion? DEION SANDERS thinks somebody’s soft? That’s like having Paris Hilton call you a slut), those of us who have actually seen #6 at work know the truth: if he ever had an O-line commensurate with his talent, Cutler would have some kind of ring already.
A little advice for the yuk-yuks on cable, and AM radio, and throughout the blogosphere: forget about what you “know” and try looking at what’s actually going on. You might be a little surprised. Meanwhile, I’ll be out somewhere raising a glass in my black-and-gold #6 jersey, because that’s our guy. I got his back.
(ETA: About ten minutes after I posted this, I got a message from the site admin, and…um…I’m on the front page of AoG and have been issued full front page posting privileges. Gulp. After 17 years, I’m a sportswriter again.)