Column: Cutler Lets Team Down with Poor Body Language
By Derek Garcia '13
If you guys didn’t know, the Pack and the Steelers will play for the Lombardi trophy February 6 at Jerry-world in Texas. I’ve been continually asked if I will say anything about the Pack making the Super Bowl. However, this is all I will say: Firstly, at least I got a few games from my playoff predictions right (how ’bout them Jets?) and that the Super Bowl will feature the Packers (maybe that will help my credibility, somewhat. Or does this diatribe nullify the effect?) Secondly, I will stick to my guns and say that the Pack will win the Super Bowl despite not playing the Jets. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Looking back on my predictions, the Jets vindicated what I wrote about them in that column. It was funny to say that they were going to have the No. 2 seed and beat the Patriots only to have Brady’s team go out and crush them 45-3 soon after. Oh, and it looks like I underestimated (?) the Bears. I actually had them out of the playoffs. Go figure.

Speaking of the Osos, the big controversy in the NFL has been whether Jay Cutler is a quitter for sitting out most of the second half of the NFC Championship game because of an MCL sprain. Listen, I have no problem with him sitting out; especially if he was told to sit by the medical staff, and the fact that he might have been detrimental to the team had he continued playing (Also, because I’m a Packer fan.).

The only problem I have with Cutler is the way he conducted himself on the sideline the rest of the game. This instance reminds me a lot about the Derek Anderson incident when he was caught laughing on the sideline with Deuce Lutui during a Monday night blowout against the 49ers. What we have in both instances are two quarterbacks, who were playing horrible games and losing, not conducting themselves properly on the sideline. Not to mention, I believe that these instances also tell us something about Cutler and quarterbacks in general that we need to take into consideration: that they are human beings.

How do you “properly conduct” yourself in this situation? Allow me to explain: Jay Cutler was in the wrong to sulk and sit alone on the bench the rest of the game. Although he probably realized that he was out of commission during the biggest game of his life, he should have supported his team. You can’t say he didn’t try to get back in, the replays showed us that he tried to loosen his knee on the bicycle on the sideline. But the replays and cameras also showed us a dejected, solitary figure on the bench weathering the cold of Soldier Field. If Cutler couldn’t bring himself to help out Collins or give some advice to Hanie, at least try and root for your team and stand up some crutches with some of your teammates.

Then again, like I mentioned earlier, maybe he was too dejected to make anything productive out of his situation. If it really was because it affected him that way, we should cut him some slack. After all, the guy is only human. However, his body language sure is confusing, because it has been taken by many to be demonstrative of apathy. And if it really was apathy that he felt, then the criticism is warranted. As the leader and quarterback of the team, he is in no position to give up so quickly in such a high stakes game.

But what does this have to do with Derek Anderson? You see, Derek Anderson was criticized for levity in a game when his team was losing and he was playing badly. No one knows what he said or what someone else said that made him laugh. Shoot, I don’t even remember an article that criticized Deuce Lutui as much as Anderson for laughing as well.

Although it may have been inappropriate given the circumstances, I feel that Anderson was showing his frustration at himself or at least trying to lighten the mood for himself and for others on the sideline. His postgame rant was very emotional and blunt to say the least. Anderson made it explicitly (pun intended) clear to Kent Somers that he wasn’t proud of his performance:

Anderson: I’m not laughing about it … You think this is funny? I take this ****** serious. Real serious….

Anderson: I put my heart and soul into this **** every single week.

Somers: All I’m saying is the camera showed you laughing.

Anderson: I’m just telling you, right now, what I do every single week. Every single week, I put my freaking heart and soul into this. I study my *** off. I don’t go out there and laugh. It’s not funny. Nothing’s funny to me. I don’t want to go out there and get embarrassed on Monday Night Football in front of everybody.

Jay Cutler would probably agree with Anderson that he does take this **** seriously. Anderson doesn’t find it funny to lose, neither does Cutler and neither does any other NFL quarterback for that matter. It takes a lot of evidence to call out someone for quitting on his team, especially if it was a quarterback. Cutler takes it seriously, and although his body language didn’t show it that much, and he wasn’t as colorful as Anderson, I’m pretty sure that this injury and the loss devastated him as well.

The fault with these two instances was not the fact that both men apparently “gave up” on their team during the game, but the fact that they didn’t handle the situation well. Anderson really may have been telling a joke to liven up his teammate but the fact of the matter is that he should have known that such actions could be easily misconstrued. Cutler should have helped Collins and Hanie by giving them tips or least look somewhat interested in the game by interacting with his teammates. In either case, both men let their emotions and frustrations get to them and it adversely affected their situation.

Issue 12, Submitted 2011-01-26 23:03:59