A shot during the third quarter of the Patriots vs. Bears game Sunday showed quarterback Jay Cutler huddled along the sidelines in what many perceived dejection and disinterest.
The next day, newspaper columnists and radio hosts criticized Cutler’s leadership. Many called his passion for the game into question and pointed out the detriment of his personality both on and off the field.
The sheer ridiculousness of these accusations remains baffling. For experts and fans alike to assume they can garner some kind of understanding of a player’s leadership because of the look on his face is just plain lunacy.
This argument brings to mind detractors who claim Lovie Smith’s failures as a coach stem from his sideline demeanor. Perhaps if he spiked his headphones once in a while or grabbed an offensive lineman and barked violently at him for all the world to see, the Bears would rise to the level of champions.
Too many Bears fans remain stuck in the mystique of that unforgettable Super Bowl team of 25 years ago. The legend of Mike Ditka created a standard by which Bears players and coaches alike are judged.
Did passion win the Super Bowl?
Do we perform better at our jobs when our bosses constantly scream and bark orders at us?
This does not mean that criticisms of both Cutler and Smith are unfounded. Cutler makes errant throws every game and needs to improve his footwork. Smith has yet to master clock management and challenges. These are just a few of many criticisms they deserve, but their personalities need to be left out.
Often times Jay Cutler speaks at the podium and displays a face only a special kind of mother can love. At times he is short with reporters and displays attitude.
Not once has Cutler called out his teammates. Even when the offensive line seems to forget how to pass block and Cutler ends up on his back before he even sets his feet. Not once has he called out a wide receiver who failed to complete a route.
The man does not earn a paycheck for personality. He has one of the best arms in the league and is perhaps the most talented quarterback to put on a Bears uniform.