You would have thought Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had changed his name to Sarah Palin the way he was eviscerated -- minus all the facts -- on Twitter on Sunday. Instead, all he did was not finish the NFC Championship game because of an injured knee.
Before anyone knew how badly he had been hurt, he was knocked -- mostly by former players who, as one tweeter pointed out, would be the first to rip anyone criticizing them without knowing the facts. Yet the rush to judge Cutler came fast and furious, from Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew, former cornerback Deion Sanders and ex-linebacker Derrick Brooks among others.
Of course, they all said this stuff before learning that he had suffered a Grade II sprain (he would miss three to four weeks if this were the regular season).
Anyway, here's our thoughts:
Cutler is tough » We're not Cutler apologists. We do think he would be better paired with Mike Shanahan again, but he throws many risky passes and can be a bit of a punk. That said, Cutler was sacked 87 times in the past two regular seasons combined. He missed one game. You can't take that sort of pounding and be soft. He hasn't avoided contact like, say, Sanders.
It speaks to his reputation » Not in terms of toughness, but in terms of likeability. Think Tom Brady or Peyton Manning would have been knocked this way? OK, by someone other than Terrell Suggs or Bart Scott? Not a chance. It's because of what they've accomplished and their reputation among teammates. Cutler? He's easier to dislike because of his demeanor.
Don't judge by his demeanor » Not every injury requires a player to be on crutches or have a huge icepack on the ache. This is one of them. And all the talk about Philip Rivers playing with a torn MCL and ACL? It's true, he did play. But in the game where he initially hurt the knee, as Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter first pointed out, he sat out the fourth quarter.
Rip Cutler for a lousy performance. That's deserved. On second thought, perhaps his lousy play was Palin's fault. Hmmm.