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Passionate Madden defends Cutler’s toughness, demeanor

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Hall of Fame coach John Madden recently joined Adam Schein and Rich Gannon of Sirius NFL Radio to discuss the hottest issue of the week — the injury to Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, whether he could have played with the injury, and whether his demeanor suggested that he cared about the fact that he was missing the second half of the biggest game of his life.

In defending Cutler, Madden was passionate, emotional, and as angry as we’ve ever heard him.

“I’ve been in football for over 50 years,” Madden said, prefacing his remarks.  “I’ve never questioned a player’s toughness.  I never have.  Whether it was in coaching, broadcasting, whatever.”

Madden then turned to Cutler specifically.

“There’s no one in the NFL that has a tougher job to do than Jay Cutler,” Madden said.  “I think playing quarterback in the NFL is the toughest thing you can do.  I think throwing a forward pass and having guys rushing you and hitting you when you’re looking downfield and throwing the ball is the toughest act you have to do.”

Madden explained that Cutler plays with Type I diabetes, what that means, and what it requires.  After that, Madden got pissed.

“And then people are looking at him, they put a camera on him, and they say they don’t like his demeanor,” Madden said.  “Demeanor hell!”

We don’t use exclamation points lightly.  In this specific case, based on the volume with which the words were delivered, we probably should have used three or four of them after the word “hell”.

“Live a day in his shoes,” Madden said.  “Type I diabetes is not a daytime thing.  It’s not a week thing.  It’s not a month thing.  It’s a life thing.  And it’s every day, and it’s every day for 24 hours.”

Madden, whose grandson suffers from Type I diabetes, said that Cutler is a role model to kids with the disease, and that Cutler necessarily is tough because of what he does and the realities of the illness from which he suffers.

(He’s also tough because, as we’ve pointed out this week, he played the bulk of the 2007 season suffering from the disease and not knowing it, losing more than 30 pounds during the season.)

Schein then raised with Madden whether it would have been wise for the Bears to be more direct and candid about the fact that Cutler wasn’t returning to the game, and Madden explained that, if a players is out due to injury, the potential strategic gains from concealing the extent of injuries probably need to be set aside.

Through it all, Madden articulated his thoughts in the same plainspoken yet powerful way that made him beloved as a broadcaster.  Nearly two years after his retirement, the comments were reminder of what the NFL is missing with Madden no longer serving as perhaps the greatest ambassador to the fans the league has ever had.

And hearing him talk about the game he loved makes us hopeful that he’ll stand up on behalf of the fans some point soon and insist that the league and the players work out their differences so that the game he loves may continue.

UPDATE:  In 2008, Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports provided a thorough look at the challenges Cutler and those with Type I diabetes face every day.  Silver knows the never-ending drill; his son has Type I diabetes.

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50 Responses to “Passionate Madden defends Cutler’s toughness, demeanor”
  1. jc1958coo says: Jan 28, 2011 12:08 AM

    where is frank caliendo!! he’ll take this one to the bank!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG

  2. da11ascowboys says: Jan 28, 2011 12:09 AM

    Who else read that entire article in John Madden’s voice?

  3. slugdub says: Jan 28, 2011 12:13 AM

    Nicely said Madden!

  4. worstwebsiteever says: Jan 28, 2011 12:18 AM

    John Madden is one of the greatest of all time.

  5. Rex Grossman says: Jan 28, 2011 12:22 AM

    “He also has a huge double chin like me and and and and and do you know how hard that is? Walking around like a turkey all the time and and and and feeling it flop around like jello and and you know, it’s tough. Demeanor hell!!!!”

  6. tramonwilliams38 says: Jan 28, 2011 12:27 AM

    Jay Cutler will never make it back to the nfc championship game again!!! He should have toughed it out that was his only chance. O well he go shopping in LA alot more with his ugly gf!!! good for him!!

  7. nickster2k says: Jan 28, 2011 12:29 AM

    Through it all, Madden articulated his thoughts in the same plainspoken yet powerful way that made him beloved as a broadcaster.


    so he was loud and obnoxious and did the whole thing with a turkey leg in his hand?

  8. packmanfan says: Jan 28, 2011 12:34 AM

    Gawd I miss John Madden.

    Even though I’m a Packers fan, I’m glad JM is setting it straight for Cutler and making those fools who dissed him look like even bigger fools.
    None of those idiots should have judged Cutler without finding out how serious it was or how much it hurt.

  9. monkeesfan says: Jan 28, 2011 12:42 AM

    And Type 1 diabetes is relevant to what, John? Nothing.

    Here’s the truth – Jay Cutler LIED ABOUT HIS INJURY. The lie was exposed by his shopping spree in LA this week.
    His demeanor is relevant, John, because he has never once shown that he takes this game seriously. His resume is one of pointing fingers, putting up meaningless volume stats, and FAILING TO WIN.

    Jay Cutler is Ryan Leaf with better stats.

  10. couldntthinkofaname says: Jan 28, 2011 12:50 AM

    Madden’s awesome. I love all these big, tough fans questioning an NFL player’s toughness. What a joke. The bigger joke is other players doing it on f’n Twitter.

  11. ErikW65 says: Jan 28, 2011 12:52 AM

    I respect Madden but Jay needs to exhibit leadership.

  12. rideout9 says: Jan 28, 2011 12:54 AM

    i miss madden as if he was a relative of mine, his passion and ability to bring the game to a fan’s level will never be emulated ever again!!

  13. hobartbaker says: Jan 28, 2011 12:59 AM

    “Who is DEMEANOR! Flabby Neckblubber or A. Rudejerk? I ask you?”.

  14. profootballwalk says: Jan 28, 2011 1:03 AM

    Bang! Pow!

    Now where is that bus?

  15. sdb0ltz says: Jan 28, 2011 1:24 AM

    I hate Cutler.. but in this case all you critics are WRONG.

    Cutler is a great QB in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. He didnt get there by quitting! Stop being a negative, jealous human being. He tried his best and could not EFFECTIVELY continue.

    It takes NO skill to point out fault!

    Dont let this one incident overshadow what he did ALL YEAR. 28 other teams would kill to have him as their QB. Man up fans and stop being whiney negative a$$ women!

  16. hobartbaker says: Jan 28, 2011 1:27 AM

    Cutler has also been offered refugee status and safe harbor by several heads of state. Under terms of universal human rights and the Geneva Convention.

  17. hobartbaker says: Jan 28, 2011 1:31 AM

    Thousands quickly responded to Madden’s suggestion that they “live a day in Cutler’s shoes”. More specifically the hours between midnight and 2 AM, with the option of taking off the shoes.

  18. rcunningham says: Jan 28, 2011 1:31 AM

    Can we stop with this story now?

  19. dino2997 says: Jan 28, 2011 1:47 AM

    What’s most irritating is the NFL players that criticized Cutler. They’re all nothing more then cowards and they are showing what kind of cowards they are by not speaking up now.

  20. edhochuli says: Jan 28, 2011 1:56 AM

    Madden should use that anger and direct it towards EA Sports for half-assing a game and taining his name!

  21. ihateannouncers says: Jan 28, 2011 1:59 AM

    I’m surprised more people haven’t argued this point. How many players let alone QB’s have that disease?? Loved the exclamation point reference and yes I read that in Maddens voice.

  22. midgetbanger says: Jan 28, 2011 2:26 AM

    Madden is a scrub just like Jay Cutler.

  23. majikalmushr0om says: Jan 28, 2011 2:47 AM

    “I think playing quarterback in the NFL is the toughest thing you can do. I think throwing a forward pass and having guys rushing you and hitting you when you’re looking downfield and throwing the ball is the toughest act you have to do.”

    Whew, and here I thought that since those years passed where you were no longer the commentator for your video game, that you lost your knack for spotting the obvious and generally repeating the same thing with different words…

  24. ursushorribilis says: Jan 28, 2011 4:01 AM

    Ha! A man of reason. He considers circumstances and personal history. Madden has it right.

    Cutler was lambasted for being “soft” by some when in reality Cutler took horrific beatings while at Vanderbilt; concussion (s) while in Denver and poundings behind one of the worst pass blocking lines in NFL history with the Bears. (Seven days prior to the NFC Conference game, Cutler was deemed a “hero” who ran head first through Seattle linebackers.)

    Living with Type I Diabetes is a “heroic” event all by itself. Being pounded by 300 pound lineman MORE THAN ANY QUARTERBACK IN THE LEAGUE adds to the toughness.
    Being unfairly accused by cowardly, envious and hypocritical weasels only makes Cutler a bigger HERO!

  25. lambchop731 says: Jan 28, 2011 5:14 AM

    As I am watching that playoff game (Packers/Bears), never once did it cross my mind that the guy was quitting. I don’t like Cutler..but he IS NOT a quitter. Well said, Coach Madden. I hope the national news covers his point.

  26. birdobeamen says: Jan 28, 2011 6:16 AM

    Someone tell John Madden to calm down.

    Yes, Cutler plays with type 1 diabetes — that’s great! I have the utmost respect for that….

    …..still doesn’t change the fact he quit on his team in the biggest game of the year and succumbed to what 99 percent of the population believe was an injury that could have been played through.

  27. blackfootkiller says: Jan 28, 2011 7:28 AM

    I see this as damage control by the NFL. Sure Cutler played a whole season with diabetes, but that can be attributed to the inept doctors in Denver more than anything else.
    This isn’t about him having what today is a very manageable disease, it is about heart, leadership, and commitment.
    His JOB is to play QB in the NFL, and the last time I checked he was being paid millions of dollars to do that.
    How many of us work a day schmucks get to stand around for half a day at work, and keep our jobs?
    He quit, he doesn’t care, and he will never be an elite QB in the league because of that.

  28. brucetrimble says: Jan 28, 2011 7:29 AM

    This brings up a question that has never been addressed by the media in Denver or any other market: when Cutler unknowingly played for the Broncos with Type I Diabetes and lost 30 pounds as a result, how is it that the medical staff of the Broncos didn’t do more to learn what was going on with Jay? Seems to me that the medical staff dropped the ball on that one.

  29. ch0rn says: Jan 28, 2011 8:02 AM


    “still doesn’t change the fact he quit on his team in the biggest game of the year and succumbed to what 99 percent of the population believe was an injury that could have been played through”

    Maybe we need to post another 100 cutler articles on this site, you obviously didn’t read the first 100.

  30. leroysbutler says: Jan 28, 2011 8:07 AM

    BAM! Tough acting Tinactin.

  31. universalcynic says: Jan 28, 2011 8:27 AM

    This article is so out of place on this site. PFT was one of the first sights to lead the witch hunt on Cutler. Wah wah wah Rivers played (and lost) wah wah Witlock said Cutler is a wuss…wah wah he was in LA (walking gingerly btw) wah wah MJD tweeted this & that (then back peddled) wah wah wah I don’t like his body language wah wah wah.

    His coach, team captain, and now Madden join the growing number of people who realize how absurd this story had gotten. Congrats on being late to the party PFT.

  32. salmen76 says: Jan 28, 2011 8:27 AM

    Cutler is a very tough man. I will never doubt that. But last sunday in the middle of a championship game he “tapped out”. I’m thankfull he’s not the starting QB of of the Saints! Brees played 6 games in the regular season with the same injury. Facts are facts. Cutler “tapped out” and the bears fans can have him.

  33. ytsejamer1 says: Jan 28, 2011 8:55 AM

    Before being diagnosed with it myself, I lost a bunch of weight…I was like 5’11 or something and down to 100lbs. I was eating all I could to put on weight, but couldn’t. I went a couple of months before deciding to go to the doctors about it. Of course they diagnosed it in three minutes and off I went. I wouldn’t place too much blame on the Broncos…I’m sure Cutler probably didn’t think to mention it or it was noticed until he had lost a considerable amount of weight.

    But having Diabetes isn’t exactly “suffering”…it can cause a multitude of problems, but only if you’re an idiot and don’t take of yourself. After you have it for awhile, you really don’t think about it as if it were a horrible disease…it’s just a part of your life. Cutler no doubt has the best medical care options available to him, so he’ll be fine. I don’t consider myself a tough guy because I’ve had it for years…maybe I consider myself more responsible, but that’s about it.

  34. johngaltwho says: Jan 28, 2011 9:14 AM

    Well said John Madden

    No one should dismiss the challenges of type 1 diabetes

    No one should question Cutler’s toughness

    No one should question his ability to throw a laser spiral from a well protected pocket

    Further, I hope no one questions his ability to make smart decisions with the football under pressure. I think the Bears should stand behind their franchise quarterback and keep him front and center for a very long time.


  35. CKL says: Jan 28, 2011 9:19 AM

    Jimmy Johnson was on Mike & Mike this morning and concurred that his toughness shouldn’t be questioned but he did say that when he’s dealt with Cutler he has been arrogant and dismissive. He suggested that Cutler needs to be a better teammate and be more involved & that he doesn’t make anyone around him better which is part of his job as a leader. I agree with everything JJ said. Cutler can’t change who he is but he would probably be better off “faking it” a little. He should follow Ben R’s example. The guy was considered by many to be aloof and a poor teammate and he made himself more involved and it appears his teammates have responded. Who knows if BR really IS a better teammate or if he’s just faking it and they are buying into it? It doesn’t matter that much as far as the results…the actions do.

    Playing a physical sport while having diabetes isn’t a cause for hagiography though. Someone posted a long long loooong list of other athletes who have done just that and a lot of them at a high level. The condition is much easier to manage now than when a lot of them did it too.

  36. 706vet says: Jan 28, 2011 9:23 AM

    The most laughable thing to come out of the Cutler hate were the pathetic tweets!! Whether is was just plain bad english (intentional or not), pre-judging before the injury was known, jealousy, stupidity, or beer before tweeting etc.

    Please tweeters, keep em’ coming. It’s truly enjoyable. HaHa! Jay “Nails” Cutler baby!

  37. birdobeamen says: Jan 28, 2011 9:40 AM

    Cutler was photographed and videotaped walking PERFECTLY fine just days after the NFC Championship game. Still want to defend him you Cutler apologists? Get a grip. Stop defending a guy that just doesn’t have it IN him to be a winner. He’s a crybaby. Always has been. Always will be.

  38. wikidpissah says: Jan 28, 2011 9:45 AM

    Great points about playing with diabetes. Most of us will (fortunately) never know how hard that is, and the fact that he played while losing so much weight attests to his “toughness.” The guy has never begged out of a game in his life. He’s going to do it in a championship game?

    As for the “fans” who question any NFL player’s toughness; they have never felt the kind of hit that an NFL QB feels many times every game. Most would be out of work for a month if they did.

  39. tominma says: Jan 28, 2011 9:52 AM

    Media pundits and other players threw Cutler under the bus when thy had no idea what the hell they were talking about! Somehow it doesnt seem prudent to play a QB who has a partially torn MCL! BUt, that’s just me…….

  40. swansong144 says: Jan 28, 2011 10:13 AM

    The weight of personal insecurities that are causing middle-aged men to deride Cutler as “not tough” far outweighs the importance of the story itself. I hope your kids are a little more grounded in reality then you are.

  41. jlstaud says: Jan 28, 2011 10:59 AM

    Unbelievable how many comments make mention of the fact that Jay went shopping a few days later. Seriously, you have no clue. I ruptured my ACL. I didn’t tear it, I completely blew it out. Guess what, within about five days I could walk pretty well on it without much of a limp. But walking and playing football are two completely different things. Unless you’ve torn your MCL and played NFL football on it, you really have no room to talk.

  42. deweyaxewound says: Jan 28, 2011 11:23 AM

    salmen76 says:
    Jan 28, 2011 8:27 AM
    Cutler is a very tough man. I will never doubt that. But last sunday in the middle of a championship game he “tapped out”. I’m thankfull he’s not the starting QB of of the Saints! Brees played 6 games in the regular season with the same injury. Facts are facts. Cutler “tapped out” and the bears fans can have him.

    And your Saints “tapped out” of the playoffs against a Seattle team the Bears absolutely SMOKED.

    And prior to last year’s S.B., your Saints team “tapped out” of the playoffs at the hands of the Bears FOR THREE years in a row, didn’t they?

    How about I offer you a new definition of “tapping out”?

    When 8 defenders try to tackle one RB and CAN’T–that’s “tapping out”.

    By the way, that same monster RB who went into “beast mode” against your soft-ast team…the Bears held him to 2 (TWO) yards on 4 carries, and held the Seattle offense to 34 total yards on 12 carries.

    Cutler by himself had more–43 yards on 8 carries (that includes a couple kneel-downs) and two rushing TDs, which included having to plow through multiple defenders at the goal line.

    If you really want to question heart and character–why don’t you ask Reggie Bush about “tapping out”? Has he even played a full season yet?
    How about Shockey? That guy gets hurt if someone looks at him sideways.

    And Brees didn’t have the “same injury”, anymore than he and Cutler can have the “same knee” or been hurt in the “same play”–each players’ body is different, plays are different, injuries are different, reactions are different.

    And who are you to question HIM? You probably wash dishes or arrange flowers or crunch numbers on a computer for a living–you probably get winded from crying yourself to sleep at night.

    Just to put it all in a little perspective.

  43. monkeesfan says: Jan 28, 2011 11:35 AM

    sdboltz – Jay Cutler is a VOLUME STATS quarterback – he is NOT a winner. What he did this season was put up numbers, he did not lead his team to wins. In the most important game, he quit.

    jlstaud – no, we HAVE a clue; if Cutler was truly injured he would not be shopping in LA – he exposed himself as a liar there. You have no right to be wrong, staud, so stop being wrong right here.

  44. monkeesfan says: Jan 28, 2011 11:36 AM

    wikidpissah – people understand real toughness more than you give them credit for. People also know what a liar and fraud are – Jay Cutler is the liar and fraud.

  45. diamondduq says: Jan 28, 2011 11:40 AM

    I’m sure I’m probably in the minority here and will probably get blasted by the fanatics to frequent this site, but I’m incredibly thankful Madden is nowhere near a broadcast booth anymore. The last few years he was broadcasting was like listening to a senile old man who couldn’t put together a logical thought while stumbling over his words and drooling on himself. As painful as it is, I’d much rather see and hear Dick Clarke on New Year’s Eve, at least that’s only once a year, than John Madden anywhere near a broadcast booth or making any kind of football commentary! I still love your video game though John, keep cashing those checks!

  46. JSpicoli says: Jan 28, 2011 11:52 AM

    And he is a Raider.

  47. agelardi says: Jan 28, 2011 2:15 PM

    To paraphrase Brian Urlacher, the ones critisizing were the ones watching from home. If you notice, not one of his teammates or coaches critisized him for coming out of the game. So that should end the discussion.

  48. sportslingo says: Jan 28, 2011 5:44 PM

    John Madden says:

    Cutler, a Quitter ?

    DOINK !

  49. buzzbissinger says: Jan 29, 2011 1:04 AM

    monkeesfan says:

    Jay Cutler is Ryan Leaf with better stats.

    Your username and the lunacy you spew just about sum things up.

  50. buzzbissinger says: Jan 29, 2011 1:20 AM

    “Brees played 6 games in the regular season with the same injury.”

    “and succumbed to what 99 percent of the population believe was an injury that could have been played through.”

    “This isn’t about him having what today is a very manageable disease,”

    Wow. I just can’t “argue” with “logic” like that…you guys are right, Cutler must be a wuss.

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