I Want to Like Jay Cutler…

I like everyone.  Or, at least most people.  But Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler is just not one of them.  I want to like him.  I do.  He just makes it so damn hard for me.  The Bears are a team I have a lot of respect for.  I lived in Chicago for a while.  Jay Cutler is a Hoosier (even though he was born in Georgia).  While I am not a born and bred Indiana native myself, after living here for eight years it is now my adopted home state.  So yes, Jay Cutler and I are both Hoosiers, so to speak.  I pull for him, but I just can’t get myself to…like him.

Jay Cutler grew up in Santa Claus, Indiana.  Yes, seriously.  And no, there has never been a more dour person to come out of Santa Claus, Indiana.  He played quarterback for Heritage Hills High School and during his senior year, he led his team to a perfect season and the school’s first Class 3A State Championship.  I’m assuming he smiled.  At least a little.

Cutler went on to play quarterback at Vanderbilt before he was drafted by the Denver Broncos as the 11th overall pick in 2006.  Many considered him the best quarterback in the draft.  For the record, he was taken after Vince Young (#3) and Matt Leinart (#10) and is the only starting quarterback left in that group.  Cutler’s ride with the Broncos was up and down through the 2008 season.  In 2009, there was trade talk.  While it never materialized, Cutler was hurt by the rumors and later demanded a trade.  He eventually went to the Bears and Kyle Orton to the Broncos.  The rest is history…Tebow…Manning…you know the story.

Cutler was made out to be a whiner over the trade.  And unfortunately, once he got to the Bears that reputation never died.  What really did him in was the NFC Championship game in 2010 against the Packers.  Cutler hurt his knee in the third quarter, but was riding the bike on the sideline.  The Bears ended up losing by a touchdown.  The Packers went on to win the Superbowl.  Speculation was that Cutler could have finished the game.  An MRI later revealed a sprain.

If it’s not his body that’s letting him down, it’s his demeanor.  Cutler was invited to do the seventh inning stretch at the Cubs game at Wrigley Field this summer.  Singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game is part of the gig.  While his singing was dreadful, it was his lack of personality that really offended.  He was booed badly by the crowd, which one would assume was mostly Bears fans.

Week one of the 2012 NFL season was a great start for Cutler, week two…not so much.  He was sacked seven times by the Green Bay Packers and was caught on camera chewing out his offensive line.  Cutler isn’t the first quarterback to take his frustration out on his linemen.  Tom Brady has done it.  So has Peyton Manning.  But they don’t have a likability problem.  Fair or not…

Over the years, everything about Jay Cutler has been subject to question: his character, his toughness, his dedication, his drive, even his diabetes.  But there’s only one question I have: Why is he so unhappy?  Charm doesn’t make you a better quarterback, but it sure makes people more forgiving of you (see Tim Tebow).  One of the joys of football is watching the players you love having fun playing the game they love.  Say what you will about Brett Favre, but the guy loves football and loved nothing more than playing it.  Well, almost nothing.

Cutler is engaged to Hollywood It-Girl Kristin Cavallari, with whom he has a brand new baby boy named Camden.  I thought fatherhood might soften him and make him more personable.  Guess that remains to be seen.  If nothing else, the reality TV starlet should be able to give him some pointers on dealing with the public.  She had to remake her image after The Hills and did a pretty good job of it.  You know what would be really good for Cutler’s image?  Dancing With The Stars.  On second thought…maybe not.

Jay Cutler.  Much maligned or misunderstood?  I’ll keep pulling for him.  But someday, I’d really like to like him too.

XO

One comment

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