It's been quite a week for Jay Cutler. He gets injured and leaves the NFC Championship game against the Packers, in what many considered the most anticipated sporting event in Chicago's history.
DURING the game he gets blasted by his peers on Twitter for not being tough enough, gets ripped on by fans for quitting and criticized by analysts and color commentators for his demeanor on the sidelines.
AFTER the game, Bears "fans" burned their Cutler jerseys in the parking lots of Soldier Field. For a majority of week, TV and radio personalities, journalists, columnists and bloggers continued the onslaught.Columns were written disputing the claims of Cutler's Grade II MCL tear. Bloggers and Twitter users blasted him for walking up a set of stairs will dining out after the game and TMZ showed footage of Cutler walking in Beverly Hills. Seriously?
The criticism early in the week was so uncalled for, I threatened to unfollow Twitter users if they ripped on Cutler's toughness or leadership skills. Often times, we as Bears fans will disagree on the current state of the team so it was good to see other Bears fans stick up for their quarterback.
His teammates, coaches and management not only defended him, they did so in an emphatic matter. They confirmed his toughness, desire and reaffirmed that he was a leader.
The tone has changed about Cutler from the national media as they've realized they were mistaken. Not so much as to backtrack on what they think of Cutler and how he was supposed to handle the injury but more so of what they would have done and if he has the mental make up to be in a leadership role.
Prominent members of the media, like John Madden, of all people, have come out to strongly defend Cutler. Folks, if Madden says something, and football fans can agree, you listen.
Sure Cutler hasn't done much to restore his credibility in the eyes of his critics but he doesn't have to. He doesn't seem to care about what others think of him and that in itself is a great quality.
In the end, his character was damaged.
The perception people have of Cutler is a direct result of the non-stop criticism by the national media since coming to Chicago. He is considered to be aloof, disinterested, selfish, have poor leadership skills and bad quarterback mechanics. Even when he lights up another team, prognosticators fall back on his personality.
What does Cutler do now? He doesn't have to do anything. He doesn't have to address the media. He doesn't have to make a public statement. Cutler definitely doesn't have to reply to anyone on Twitter.
The only thing he can do is work even more diligently in the offseason to lead the Bears to the Promised Land.
If there were lessons learned, you can't judge a person without walking in his shoes. Sure everyone has their own perception on things and can voice their own opinions but if you do, you better back it up.