In Monday night's game against the Detroit Lions, the Bears quarterback—questioned many times for his attitude and toughness—was, as usual, sacked and hit hard by the Lions' Ndamukong Suh. In this case, hard is not the word that fairly describes the hit on Cutler.
Cutler, who is used to spending an inordinate amount of time running for his life in the backfield (due to an offensive line that can't block), was knocked out of the game momentarily after Suh's hit.
It was obvious that Cutler was in tremendous pain. He was on the ground for a while, but he managed to go back in the game even after almost having his ribs broken. Even Cutler's harshest critics have to acknowledge the toughness he showed there.
It's not like Cutler would have paid attention to what was or wasn't being said, anyway. That's never bothered him. Heck, he's one of the top five most disliked players in the NFL, and he's not losing any sleep over it.
His perceived bow out from the NFC championship game in 2011 led to a nasty fallout that saw Cutler crucified by the media and his peers, but he didn't care. His antics on the sideline this 2012 season haven't rehabilitated his image either.
Even his own team's fans have a love/hate relationship with him. Yes, he's a tough pill to swallow, but he's their team's leader. Throughout his career as the Bears quarterback, even with some awful games, he has still managed to lead the Bears to some success, and the fans can't complain about that—he probably could have done more with a better offensive line.
The quarterback isn't trying to win any popularity contests; he's just there to do his job. And that's the way it should be.
You won't see Cutler associated with any cute "you can't spell elite without..." phrases, modeling Uggs shoes, or dancing and flexing his muscles in insurance commercials. One thing you can bet on seeing, though, is Cutler taking hit after hit, removing grass from his helmet and picking himself off the ground, ready to go again.
Is Cutler tough? Absolutely. Does he care if anyone thinks otherwise? No.
Is Jay Cutler elite? Does it really matter? We all know he isn't a perfect quarterback, and his public persona isn't any where near Tom Brady's, but, he can be the type of quarterback that can lead this Chicago Bears team to a Super Bowl.
I'm sure that's more valuable to Cutler than being liked or idolized. And if Cutler were to ever hoist the Lombardi Trophy over his head, he will probably still continue being the same aggressive and erratic quarterback that he is today.