Jay Cutler was sidelined for almost the entire second half of Sunday's NFC championship game due to what we all now know to be a sprained MCL. During the game, many of his NFL colleagues were putting him through the gauntlet via twitter.
We've all heard the quotes by now, so I'm not going to waste your time making you reread all the nasty things that were said about Cutler. We've all read or heard some of it already. However, I don't think that his absence in the game was the true motivator for the backlash, but rather the icing on the cake baked by years of cocky and cavalier attitude combined with a million dollar arm and a 10 cent record.
No matter what you think of whether or not Cutler was being soft by not coming back into the game on Sunday or you view him as quitting on his teammates or not in that game, it's undeniable that Cutler didn't have the best NFL track record before this even happened. His stats speak for themselves.
If we look at his stats like the cover of a book, it looks to be a pretty good read. In Cutler's 68 regular season games, he's completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 104 touchdowns and only 79 interceptions with a career QB rating of 84.3. It looks like a pretty good book, but you can never judge a book by its cover.
If we look inside the numbers and break them down by chapters (wins vs. losses), we get the whole story. Since 2007, Cutler's first full year as a starter, he's thrown 73 TDs to only 21 picks in his wins, including playoffs. In his losses, however, he's thrown only 24 TDs to a gaudy 54 picks in just four seasons.
It's always said that when a team wins the QB gets the credit, and when they lose the QB takes the heat. Sometimes this isn't fair, but in Cutler's case, this is very well deserved. When he plays well, his team gets wins more often than not. When he plays poorly, his team usually doesn't stand a chance because of just how poorly he plays.
His career record as a starter is 34-31, just barely over .500, and has only made the playoffs once in four seasons as a full-time starter. In that one playoff appearance, he led his team to zero points and sat and watched as a third string quarterback named Caleb Hanie that no one outside of Colorado and Chicago has ever heard of tried to dig the Bears out of a hole that Cutler played a big roll in digging.
During his fairly unsuccessful stint thus far in the NFL, he's found time to boldly liken himself to the legendary John Elway by saying he had a stronger arm than the Hall of Famer, openly fought with his best weapon in Denver in Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall, and butted heads with Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels to the point of forcing the team to trade him.
Cutler comes off as cocky and condescending with a hand-in-the-cookie-jar smirk plastered on his face nearly every time he's seen. He constantly reminds fans, players and media alike that he feels entitled to some sort of respect that his career simply doesn't warrant him getting.
Is the criticism of the infamous Jay Cutler warranted?
He brushes off questions about poor performances with cavalier responses and dumbfounded looks and toots his own horn when he plays well. He tries to force passes into places where they shouldn't go because he feels he can make the throws that no one else can every time and ultimately hurts his team with his attitude and play.
After all of this, he found himself in the NFC championship game playing the division rival Green Bay Packers at home in Chicago. After suffering an injury that he was quoted as saying, "I don't even know when it happened," sat on the bench and appeared to pout as he paced back and forth with no noticeable limp and even road the stationary bike at one point.
While his drama was playing out on the sideline, there was a game playing out on the field in front of him. The Bears fought hard, but they couldn't overcome the deficit that Cutler played a large role in giving them.
If Cutler had shown himself to be a stand-up guy at any point in his career before this, it may not have been as big a deal as it is now. However, being that player and guy that he is for the last four years has landed him right on the hot seat. He's being held accountable for his actions, as every person should.
I'm not going to say whether he was hurt or not, or what is in the man's heart. I only give you the picture that we, the avid football fans, have seen in the curious case of Jay Cutler, and the picture isn't pretty. He comes off as a young diva who can't win in crunch time with the cockiness of a guy walking around with four Super Bowl rings.
So before jumping to the aid of the victimized Jay Cutler, I implore the Jay backers to remember one very important thing: Cutler isn't only being called out for what he didn't do in the game on Sunday, but also for everything he has done in the four years leading up to that fateful game.