Ahh, the meatheads are out in full force. They’re all saying that Jay Cutler quit, that he couldn’t handle being down 14-0 in the NFC Championship game so he just started limping around and then took himself out of a game so that his sterling backups Todd and Caleb could finish things up.
And I’ll admit that yesterday, when Jay first got hurt I was in meathead mode myself.
Some of you got these tweets from my award-winning Twitter feed:
If Cutler can stand up he needs to play.
Unless he gets major reconstructive surgery on his knee tomorrow, Cutler will never live this down. And shouldn’t.
It didn’t take me too long to figure out just how wrong I was.
Look, we know Jay Cutler is a lot of things. He’s a punk. He’s got really weird hair. He’s careless with his footwork and where he throws the football, but he’s not a quitter. So I immediately regretted sending both of those twats. The good news is that barely anybody actually reads my tweets, so it really doesn’t mean anything. It was just suffering the sheer panic of Todd Collins actually being in a playoff game taking snaps.
LaDanian Tomlinson got the same crap a few years ago when he limped out of an AFC Championship game against New England, while his own quarterback, Phillip Rivers was hobbling around on a torn ACL. Does anybody really think that LaDanian Tomlinson isn’t tough?
So let the meatheads have their fun. They need someone to focus their rage on, and it might as well be Jay. But Jay didn’t quit. He got hurt. It happens, it’s football. The Bears, however, continued their lifetime achievement of failed public relations with the inept way they handled the announcement of Jay’s injury. He was out, and he probably deserves some credit for limping out for the first possession of the third quarter and giving it a shot, but instead they said he was “questionable.” So that made every dope on their couch, like me (and amazingly like half of the Jacksonville Jaguars–including Maurice Jones-Drew who sat out the final two games of the season when the Jags needed a win to make the playoffs) think that Jay should be doing SOMETHING to get ready to play again.
The only ‘something’ we saw was the sad (and really funny) sight of him on the bike on the sidelines trying to pedal it while still wearing his cape.
The Jay Cutler we’ve seen the last two years isn’t going to quit. He’s going to get hammered and he’s going to get up and he’s going to throw some more interceptions. That’s what he does.
What he needs to do, apparently, is go the full Favre. When he was in for that first possession of the third, and he realized that his bad knee wasn’t going to allow him to back up or step into his throws he needed to crumple to the ground and force the training staff to carry him to the sidelines. Instead he limped off and then stood there, while Bears fans built up rage and bile.
I could write a novella about the stupidity of not having a capable backup quarterback on the roster, but I’ll keep it shorter than that. The reason Todd Collins was the number two QB was that he knows the plays, he knows the reads and he gives you the best chance to still run your whole offense. But..he’s also 40 years old and can’t move and so, he’s useless when the bullets start flying.
The reason Caleb Hanie is number three is because when a team runs the most basic zone blitz in the world, he throws the ball to their nose tackle. I will give Caleb credit though, he made some plays, he didn’t play scared and he legitimately made the fourth quarter of that game interesting and fun. He also shaved off his weird playoff mustache between the end of the game and press conference, which was a nice touch.
It would have been nice to have seen that second half play out with Cutler able to be in the game, though. The Bears figured out the Packers offense about halfway through the second quarter and made Aaron Rodgers look mortal. But that’s now how the game works.
For now, I’ll busy myself ignoring any further coverage of this Cutler injury story because I’m already tired of it, and apparently my view on it is the same as David Huh and Rick Telander. So that makes me really uncomfortable. So I’ll leave you with this, Brian Urlacher’s postgame quote when asked if he thinks Jay is tough:
“Jay was hurt. We don’t question his toughness. He’s tough as hell. He’s one of the toughest guys on our football team. He doesn’t bitch, he doesn’t complain when he gets hit. He goes out there and plays his ass off every Sunday. He practices every single day. We don’t question his toughness.”
Just hours remain until Farmageddon, the seven decade awaited rematch of the 1941 Western Division playoff game between the Acme Packers and the Decatur Staleys is almost upon us.
OK, fine, the Packers had dropped the Acme by then and the Bears had been in Chicago for almost two decades, but you get the idea. It’s been a long time since the Bears and Packers met for anything more than bragging rights.
Sunday they meet for the championship of the NFC. And though the Packers are the wild card team and the Bears have the division title and enjoyed a first round bye to go with it, the experts are all over the Packers.
Vegas has the Packers as a four point favorite, and given the conventional wisdom that being at home gives you three points, they really think that Green Bay is a touchdown better.
But just as it has all year long, everything’s coming up Milhouse for the Bears.
Consider that in the last two days two very important breaks have gone the Bears way.
1. The NFL assigned referee Terry McAuley and his crew to the game. Remember (like any Packers fan can let you forget) that the Bears won the Monday night matchup this season between the two teams by a field goal, and the Packers set a team record with 18 accepted penalites against them? Know who the referee was that night? His initials are Terry McAuley.
2. Last week the great Jim Cornelison got Soldier(s) Field geared up with his signature version of the national anthem, and 60,000 Bears fans roared along with every note.
The Bears wanted him to come back for the title game, but NFL and Fox said that American Idol reject (and Chicago area native) Lee DeWyze was going sing it.
Bears fans threw a tantrum and amazingly, the NFL and Fox relented, Cornelison will sing the anthem, DeWyze will sing a song at halftime.
Both of these things are really important. Except they’re not.
If anything you wonder if McAuley’s crew will be less likely to flag the Packers because of the grief they took for calling 18 (all seemingly well-earned) penalties in the first match up.
As for the anthem, yeah, it’s cool, but it’s the NFC Championship against Green Bay, the crowd and the Bears would be fired up even if they replaced the anthem with Vag McCaskey reciting her favorite Emily Dickinson poem.
How cool was this? WBEZ got 1,000 year old booming voice newsman Carl Kassel to recite Al Pacino’s pregame speech from “Any Given Sunday.” Kind of classes it up.
Here’s the original:
Somehow, two of the most successful franchises in NFL history come into this game with an almost non-existent playoff history against each other. They have combined to win 23 NFL Titles, but their paths only crossed once in the postseason. Halas threw a few jap plays at the Packers a week after Pearl Harbor and the Bears won big.
In the playoffs the Packers biggest rival has been the Dallas Cowboys. The Bears has been the New York Giants.
All of that changes on Sunday. It’s been festering for 70 years.
And who would know better than Vag herself? She sent me a telegram the other day that she wanted me to include her today.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR DESIPIO STOP
BOOKMAKERS HAVE MADE PACKERS FAVORITE STOP
DON'T KNOW SECRET PLAN WE HAVE READY FOR PACKERS STOP
WE HAVE REPLACED THE HARD CANDY IN THEIR HOTEL LOBBY WITH HORSE LAXATIVES STOP
PLAYERS LOVE HARD CANDY STOP
LAST TIME WE PULLED THESE SHENANIGANS WAS 1940 AGAINST WASHINGTON STOP
WON 73 TO NIL STOP
BET YOUR PSL MONEY ON BEARS TO COVER AND WIN GAME STOP
AND STOP CALLING ME VAG YOU ASSHOLE STOP
Well then, between the Bears getting the flag happy ref, big voiced anthem singer guy to rile up the crowd, and Vag is poisoning the Packers, the Bears are just that, and a couple of Devin Hester punt returns for touchdowns away from their third Super Bowl trip.
There’s a new site out there on the Interwebs called Youtube and you should check it out. It’s where I found this video which gives you a history of the Bears-Packers rivalry in a neat and tidy five minutes. The best part? They just focus on the Bears. Which is as it should be.
But you’ll see some pretty good stuff including:
- Pretty much every one of the cheap shots the Forrest Gregg Packers of the ’80s resorted to (I hope Ken Stills, Charles Martin and Mossy Cade all rot in prison…and then Hell)
- A reminder that George Halas not only founded the damn league, he played in it and he coached the Bears to 324 wins and six World Championships. Vince Lombardi can suck on it.
- Bears legend Mike Pyle! (Hey, I didn’t say it was all gold.)
- The immortal Larry Mayer explaining that to him the Bears-Packers is the greatest rivalry ever (well, if it is to Larry, it just is.)
- Brett Favre throwing a hissy fit.
Oh, trust me, there’s a lot of good stuff here.
In another matchup of the only two professional football teams to call Chicago home, the Cardinals and Bears are getting the full Fox treatment today. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are at Soldier Field to call the action. This will be great. Joe does smug so well, and Troy comes in handy because he loves to read the graphics on the screen to us. Great?
If you’re wondering just what a rag-tag league the NFL was early on, the reason the Bears colors are navy blue and orange, and the Cardinals are red and white is because they used to use the leftover jerseys from the University of Illinois (navy and orange) and the University of Chicago (maroon and white). Over the years, the Cardinals lightened up their red, but now you know the rest of the story. And I’m sure you wish you had cared to learn any of it.
The Bears won the toss and deferred to the second half, so they’re kicking off to the Cardinals.
Anquan Boldin is out, which is good for the Bears. But I don’t know how much it matters. They have to put Peanut Tillman on Larry Fitzgerald on every play, and Zach Bowman can’t cover Steve Breaston any better than he wouldn’t be able to cover Boldin.
In case you’ve forgotten (and let’s be honest, nobody has forgotten) the Super Bowl champion Bears of 1985 had the most dominant defense of all time.
They gave up ten points in three playoff games, and Tony Eason, Phil Simms and Dieter Brock still wake up screaming. Steve Grogan just listens to his neck crack.
Thankfully, our good friends at You Tube have a little video reminder of just how awesome it was to see that defense in action.