Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Let's Play The Blame Game, Fa Sho

After burying my head in sand for the majority of Depression Monday, I've cautiously approached allowing Bears talk back into my life. In breaking my two year old routine of listening to Waddle and Silvy on an almost daily basis; I've managed to clear my head, gather my thoughts, and focus my energy on one important task: revealing the ignorance of the common Chicago sports fan.

Now I don't mean ignorance in the traditional eyes of Webster. I'm talking more about the way we use the word "ignorant" in our daily lives. When someone says or does something so incredibly stupid that you just need to call them an ignorant ass MF, whether or not this person has been properly educated on the topic at hand.

"The topic" I speak of is, of course, the Jay Cutler situation. As we all know by now, Cutler sprained his MCL at some point during the NFC Championship game. Some believe he was injured early in the game (during his attempted jump pass to Matt Forte out of the end zone), while others believe he was hurt shortly before halftime. The truth is, it doesn't matter when or how he was hurt. What matters is that he was hurt and the decision was made to pull him from the game.

Since I haven't been able to shut the sports world out completely over the past 3 days, I have a general idea of the venom that's been spewed at Cutler by local callers, and it makes me sick.

If you're anything like me, you like to make quick judgements on a situation and it's hard to go back on that intial evaluation. This is a natural part of being human. However, where we may differ is that after I make my quick judgement, if I find out new information contradictory to my original thought, I have no problem changing my mind as long as this new information makes logical sense.

When Cutler was taken out of the game Sunday, we weren't given any information from the fine people at Fox. I don't know if this is related to Fox's overall theme of painting the Bears in a negative light during the broadcast, or if it's that they simply didn't get any word from the Bears as to what's going on. Regardless, I understand why people would come to the instant conclusion that Cutler simply isn't toughing it out. But then early on Tuesday, we find out that the MRI came back showing a Grade 2 sprained MCL aka a tear in his MCL.

This didn't stop the angry calls from coming in.

While listening to the Afternoon Saloon for a brief 15 minutes, I heard one caller stating that "all I know is that Ben Roethlisberger or Brett Favre would have shot up and gone back in the game." Really? And how do you know this Mr. Caller Man? Have you been inside of Ben R's head at the same time that he's suffering from an identical injury to Jay Cutler? I'm sorry, what was that? You're just making a generalization on Ben R because you see him as a big tough guy since he gets away with R'ing broads on bar stools? You think because Brett Favre has been abusing pain killers for 20 years that he's tough just for continuing to go out there?

The point is that nobody is inside of Jay Cutler's head besides Jay himself. You don't know what level of pain tolerance this man has. And if you want to take a guess, you'd be stupid to think that he doesn't have a high pain tolerance. I've never met Cutler nor picked his brain, but I have seen him get sacked 87 times over the past 2 regular seasons, behind the worst offensive line in the NFL. Then when you add all the times he got rocked on plays that didn't end up recorded as a sack, you're well over 100 hits on your QB. And how many times did he complain about these hits? Zero.

As a fan of Jay Cutler press conferences, I've never heard him complain that Frank Omiyale is his starting LT. I've never heard him complain that J'Marcus Webb couldn't block a speed rusher if he had a twin conjoined to his right hip. He has stood up at every post-game presser and taken accountability for Jay Cutler needing to play better.

Every injury is different and everyone's body responds differently to injury. Just because Drew Brees played part of 2010 with a sparined MCL himself, doesn't mean that every MCL injury can be played on. There is no golden rule saying that if your knee injury is limited to the MCL, you need to suck it up and go back in. Jay
Cutler is a professional athlete and a competitor. He doesn't endorse any products because he wants to prove himself as a winner before his face is plastered all over the city. He doesn't open up to reporters because he wants you to judge him based on his ability to win football games. You honestly think that someone who keeps
it 100% about football with you and me would just quit on his team?

Then you must have never played sports at any resemblence of a high level.

We're taught it's all fun and games growing up, but when you reach a certain age, everything is thrown out the window except winning. You don't get participation trophies when you're 12. That's about the time the real athletes start to emerge and the "good effort! good try!" chatter starts to die down. You don't get to Nationals by trying harder than the other teams; you get there by winning. You are judged by how much you could help a team win, not how nice you are to the akward lefty who doesn't see the field except in blowouts. As you continue to grow older, the focus is more and more on winning. It is instilled in your brain that if you don't win, you are a loser. By the time you're grown up, you either have the desire to win or you step away from the game for good.

Last time I checked, Jay Cutler is not pursuing a career related to his degree in Human and Organizational Development; he is a football player. A football player who is paid on his (perceived) ability to win games. It's not a question of being tough enough. If he would have been healthy enough to play effectively, he would have been in the game. End of story.