After getting hosed by ESPN in 2007 for yelling at then-Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers went on to lose the AFC Championship to the undefeated New England Patriots while playing with a sprained knee on one leg and a torn ACL on the other.
While Rivers' play dropped off tremendously in that game without being able to plant and throw off his back foot, his reputation around the league with the media and with fans sky-rocketed and has continued to ascend. More importantly, he gained the unfailing respect of the Chargers locker room.
Cutler went on to nearly lead the Broncos to a winning season and division title in 2008, only to demand a trade in 2009.
After a season of struggle in 2009, Cutler finally got over the hump and led his team to a winning season for the first time since his high school days. His Chicago Bears had a phenomenal season, ending in a 21-14 defeat in the 2010 NFC Championship game.
Cutler's career is on the upswing. How ironic it is that his reputation has taken a hit because he allowed himself to be taken out of the NFC Championship game due to a sprained MCL? That injury seems minor in comparison to Rivers' injury, which required surgery less than a week prior to the game. However, some people couldn't ride a bike with that injury.
Rather than focusing on the fact that Cutler attempted to come out for the second half and couldn't get it done in Lovie Smith's eyes, many people are looking at Cutler's lack of cheerleading skills and that's a shame.
But that's what happens when you're the key party in a sham. Cutler deceptively played the victim in his conflict with Rivers and attempted to paint Rivers as a classless guy. People who are remotely familiar with Rivers know this was never the case.
Cutler has seen his reputation decline more and more. Some people see him as a quitter with no heart.
Who can say that Cutler didn't give it all he had? Not I, but until Cutler becomes a stand up guy, reputation busting situations will continue to hamper the man.
"God's Gonna Cut You Down"
Go tell that long tongue liar,
go and tell that midnight rider,
tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter,
tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down.
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