I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but on Sunday the Bears will play the Green Bay Packers for the right to go to the Super Bowl in Dallas in a couple of weeks. I really wish I could enjoy this, because it would seem pretty cool, you know, playing your arch rival in a championship game for the first time ever, and in a playoff game for only the second time in history (the other time was the week after Pearl Harbor). It’s just too bad we’re not allowed to enjoy this.
What? You don’t understand what I mean? I’m sure it’s not the first or last time.
According to the media, we’re not supposed to enjoy this out of the blue successful Bears season because the Bears head coach, Lovie Smith doesn’t like talking to the media.
We’re also not supposed to like this team because the quarterback, Jay Cutler, is a prick, who is–you’ll see a trend here–not really fond of talking to the media.
I’m really not sure why that’s supposed to matter to us. I’m rooting for a football team, not the press conference. I understand that it has to be frustrating for the working media to have the two most visible and accessible (by NFL mandate, not by their choice) members of the team so unwilling to say anything of substance to them. But I don’t really care.
I think Lovie’s a pretty good football coach. Of course he does things that make me nuts, like blowing replay challenges and calling weird timeouts and stuff, and it makes me nervous that in a big game that’s going to get the Bears beat. But you know who else thinks their coach is shit at replay challenges and timeouts and stuff? Every fan of every team in the NFL. It should be comforting that the guy Lovie’s coaching against this week is laughably terrible at in game strategy.
Is it true that Lovie can be dismissive and condescending to the media? Of course it is. I just don’t know why that’s supposed to matter to me or you. I know Lovie goes to great pains to praise the fans after every home game, and we all enjoy having our asses kissed, so thanks!
I also know that since Lovie’s come to town the Bears are 9-5 against Green Bay and 9-3 against Brett Favre, and those two had haunted the franchise for a decade before that. The Bears have won three division titles and if they win Sunday they’ll have gone to a pair of Super Bowls.
I reserve (and exercise) the right to yell at the TV on Sunday at something Lovie has done that’s dumb. Just don’t ask me to hate him because he can’t pretend to give a shit about the questions asked by the Hub Arkushes and David Huhs of the world.
But it’s not just Lovie, of course. Some of the local, and apparently all of the national, media think Jay Cutler is the biggest turd ever to fester on the face of this Earth. Jay’s problem is the same as Lovie’s. He treats his media availabilities as something to endure. Jay seems to really enjoy a good, deep sigh and eye roll. He makes no effort to pretend that he doesn’t think a question was dumb. And again, I ask, why do we care?
What I know about Jay is that he’s the first real quarterback the Bears have had in a quarter century and the first of adequate size since Sid Luckman. I’m not even exaggerating. Oh sure, he does dumb things from time to time. He holds onto the ball too long and refuses to throw the ball away too often. He thinks he can make any throw at any time and his interceptions tend to be atrocious. But…he also makes plays. Big ones. The kind we got used to thinking only quarterbacks on other teams would ever make.
On Sunday, Jay will get matched up against another good young quarterback, and every football “expert” will tell you that Aaron Rodgers is a lot better than Jay. Jay’s too careless. Aaron’s a gutty leader, the epitome of class, the next great QB. And you what I love about Jay? Jay doesn’t give a shit about that. Jay doesn’t need the media to like him, honestly, Jay doesn’t need us to like him. Jay’s just going mope his way out onto the field and try to beat the shit out of the Packers. And if he does, he’ll mope off the field, and if he doesn’t? He’ll mope off the field. But he’s going to try, and he’s not going to be scared.
There’s a good chance that the NFC Championship game could turn into a shoot out, and for the first time since the invention of the NFC, the Bears won’t be outgunned. But we’re not supposed to like that because Jay’s a prick.
If given the choice between a prick who can sling it and a choir boy media darling with a pop-gun arm, I’ll take the slinging prick.
Honestly, Rodgers is just as big a dick as Jay is, but he pretends not to be. There’s actually a kind of honor in Jay not bothering to disguise it.
You know what successful QBs are dickheads who half the team want to kick in the face?
All of them. Quarterbacks are arrogant asses. They’ve been told they were special since they were little, and they believe it. Some of them take great pains to cultivate their image as that of a gritty leader. Some of them are Jay Cutler and just act like the petulant ass that they are.
The media will tell us that we don’t have to like these guys.
But we don’t have to not like them, either.