Let’s hear it for Jay Cutler

Rick Reilly has done the impossible.

No, he hasn’t written a new version of Leatherheads that doesn’t, you know, completely suck.  Reilly has made Bears quarterback Jay Cutler into a sympathetic — and thus likable — figure.

Cutler had given us not much to feel good about in five NFL seasons.  Apart from playing much of the 2007 season with undiagnosed Type I diabetes (we’d hate to see how long it would have taken to catch the disease if he didn’t work for a company that has a team of doctors available at any given moment), Cutler hasn’t done much of anything that makes many people want to buy his jersey and/or see him be successful.

Suddenly, however, we want the guy to be successful.  Personally, I want to see him win the Super Bowl.

And it’s all Rick Reilly’s fault.

When last mentioned on these pages, Reilly was being castigated by Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports for recklessly characterizing some of the nuances of a morning jog on the cobblestones of Pamplona next to a battalion of large, horned mammals.  Though Reilly’s latest effort won’t potentially place anyone who relies on the accuracy of his words in danger (grave or otherwise), it represents the kind of superficially-reasoned bias that clumsily hides a deeper agenda.

Reilly makes it clear that he doesn’t like Cutler.  But it’s unclear why.  Maybe Cutler didn’t act sufficiently impressed with the guy who allowed himself to believe that being a damn good back-page-of-SI columnist meant that he had the chops to write movies (he doesn’t) or host SportsCenter (he definitely doesn’t).  Maybe “Riles” is simply doing a solid for his old buddy John Elway, persuading Broncos fans to quit moping and whining about the decision to trade Cutler and to start looking ahead to the future.  Or maybe Reilly was looking to mail one in during playoff week, and Cutler provided the easiest target for Reilly’s periodic quota of word salad.

Reilly’s complaints at times are too petty to even be called petty.  He seems to chastise Cutler for handling his charitable works the way that many are taught to handle such business, without seeking publicity, attention, or recognition for their efforts.

“He’s a giving person who does things behind the scenes and hates it when he gets found out,” Reilly writes.  “A few days before Christmas, he and [girlfriend Kristin] Cavallari brought presents for an entire ward of sick hospital kids.  A reporter for the Sun-Times got wind of it and asked him about it.  Cutler refused to discuss it.”

If that paragraph had appeared in a positive, or even balanced, look at Cutler, there would be nothing significant about it.  In the context of Reilly’s column, it comes off as a complaint that Cutler should be more like the athletes who love to talk to others about all the nice things that they do.

More than ever, with five episodes of ProFootballTalk Live to produce each week, we realize the importance of content to a media operation.  But we wish more NFL athletes would choose not to wear their charitable acts like logos sewn onto their jerseys.

Reilly also knocks Cutler for not basking in the limelight that comes with being an NFL quarterback.  “Cutler could own Chicago if he wanted,” Reilly says.  “In a city that has had as many good quarterbacks as Omaha has had good surfers, Cutler could have his name on half the billboards and all the jerseys.  My God, the kid grew up a Bears fan!  But he doesn’t even try.  He has zero endorsements and doesn’t want any.  If there is such a thing as a Jay Cutler Fan Club, Cutler is having a membership drive — to drive them out.”

Reilly’s effort to paint Cutler in a bad light has backfired like a ’71 Vega, exposing more about Reilly than he ever would want his audience to know.  To Reilly, pro athletes should seek out as much attention as possible.  To Reilly, pro athletes should lend their names and likeness to any and all companies that will pay them even more money and provide them even more attention.  To Reilly, pro athletes should do charitable works in that same spotlight, so that everyone will see it and, in turn, love them.

Well, at least we now understand why Reilly attempted to leverage one thing he does really well into a multi-platform gig at ESPN that promised more money, more fame, and more chances to let the world know that he does charitable works, too.

53 responses to “Let’s hear it for Jay Cutler

  1. I used to enjoy reading Reilly’s back page articles in Sports Illustrated. But watching him on the Extra Stupid People Network is unbearable. Not quite as bad as the Kenny Mayne weirdness, or Lazy Eye saying “redunkulous” every 2 minutes, but close…

  2. “Personally, I want to see him win the Super Bowl.”

    Whoa!! Who actually wrote this article?!?!?

  3. Haha, thank you for calling out that trashy article. Sounds like Reilly needs a hug or something.

  4. Jay Cutler is a tool.Bet it was his girl that wanted to buy the presents(which was great btw) You want him to win the SB Mikey? You Viking fan pretender….

  5. Thank you Mike! I’ve been thinking about forming a Jay Cutler fan club where the members ask absolutely nothing of him but that he play well. No requests for access, no requests for autographs or memorabilia, nothing: but for him to play well.

    Oh – and one other thing – we cheer him when he disses the media because many of them are often trying to muckrake simply to get a story.

  6. I saw Jay Cutler whenever NFL Films had him miked up for the game in Toronto. I can’t remember at all what he said, just that he seemed kind of goofy and amusing. I couldn’t stand him the last few years but after that I’ve kind of secretly rooted for him. Good to know I can come out in the open now.

  7. The only issue I have had with Cutler is his limited leadership ability but he is a quality QB and there are very few of those in the NFL. Getting a guy like Cutler would make my team legit contenders but the search continues. The guys that are constantly seeking attention are the ones I cannot stand; and when they do something stupid they absolutely deserve all the criticism they ever get. Jay Cutler has what it takes to lead the Bears to the SB and he will likely do that this year…and then all the haters that ridiculed him and the trade can shut the hell up.

  8. i didnt know who rick reilly was going into this, but now knowing hes 1) the reason i think john krasinski isnt fit for movies, 2) openly angry that jay cutler isnt doing everything to his exact specifications that were never specified, and 3) an overwhelming *expletive*ing *expletive*, i now have a person i hate more than jim cramer.

  9. Slow Clap.

    Jay Cutler is the man. Reilly is a nutcase.

    Seriously, bashing a guy for not wanting to discuss or be praised for his charity work? Give me a break.

  10. One positive article highlighting someone bashing the Bears/Cutler doesn’t make up for you picking the Seahawks.

    How Reilly still has a job as a writer is amazing, guy makes you guys look like professionals, but at least he uses spell check.

  11. I’ve had a problem with NFL (and sports media, for that matter) for a long time.

    You all are awful at your jobs, and I mean that in the most professional way.

    I’m sick of logging onto SI to see Peter King or Don Banks talk about Rex Ryan’s and Bill Belichick’s sideline attire.

    It’s patently obvious that you sports writers don’t even watch half of the games.

    I saw John Clayton put Revis and Nnamdi on his all-pro team. Seriously? They’ve combined to 60 tackles and 14 passes defensed. Clayton put them on there because they are big names. He obviously didn’t watch either of them play a single game this season.

    All NFL based media focuses on story lines, and John Clayton’s All-Pro team is only a microcosm is the NFL’s media problem.

    There is no focus; the analysis is watered down–when it exists; and you all often write stories that pertain very little to football. Reilly’s piece is a perfect example. It’s total and complete unadulterated bitching because the guy isn’t a media darling.

    Instead of paying deference to real stories, like the NFL’s officiating problems, we get a piece like Reilly’s.

  12. I read the article before this post and thought the same thing about Reilly’s bizarre take on Cutler’s declining to highlight his charity work.

    This is exactly why players often give the media the one word or silent treatment, because of media hit pieces like this one.

  13. Jay Cutler is the most maligned NFL figure never to commit a crime or unforgivable act. Yet he’s scrutinized for his philanthropy, which is absolutely ludicrous. Reilly should lose his job for such nonsense!

  14. Ummm… Are you sure this article was serious? Isn’t it possible the article was a complement to Cutler?

    Just sayin’

  15. There is no wrong way of being charitable, and anyone criticising it is a moron. It tells me something positive about a man who doesn’t want to endorse anything until he actually wins something. Good for him cause he’s pretty much the exception to the rule. Haters can suck it cause they’re digging for something that isn’t there. Go Bears!

  16. From someone who can’t stay Reilly or Cutler, you’re blowing this out of proportion.

    The charity stuff wasn’t a criticism. Was saying that Cutler gets sacked all the time and never complains a criticism?

    If anything, Reilly does Cutler a favor here by actually using a few examples of Jay not being a complete d-bag to make the case that there might be a good person hidden somewhere in there.

    Because if you go by pretty much everything Cutler has ever said or done in public, there’s not much to let you draw that conclusion.

  17. Where are the articles about how Cutler or Ryan hasn’t won a playoff game yet? I mean Rodgers was crap till he won one, how about Cutler and Ryan?

  18. Reilly means nothing to me, but you’ve really distorted his comments. Basically he said Cutler has a good arm, but is a jerk with rotten people skills. However, he made clear that Cutler may have other positive qualities if you’re willing to dig for them. Reilly did not ridicule Cutler for keeping his charitable contributions on the down low.

  19. iabearsfan says:
    Jan 14, 2011 6:09 PM
    why don’t my comments ever make it?????

  20. Read the article. I had no real opinion on Reilly before this, and was never a huge Jay Cutler fan. He always seemed to come across as a surly, conceited punk who never was quite as good as he liked to think he was.

    This article seems to be pretty much along that vein. I didn’t see Reilly as criticizing Cutler regarding his charitable work, I just saw Cutler portrayed much as any other writer ever has.

  21. I don’t know what I am more shocked at,the stupid article he wrote or the fact that you actualy defended Jay Cutler. as a bears fan I could care less what type of guy he is as long as he leads the team to wins which has this year.eli threw 1 less int. this year than Cutler did last year and the press says nothing.

  22. Wow, I was unaware that anytime you use the author of this articles last name your comment doesn’t show up. I have tried in various ways but the only way to say mike’s last name is to put some periods (or other stuff) in there with it.

  23. jay cutler doesn’t rape women, sexually assault coworkers, kill animals, or throw his teammates under the bus.

    he’s socially retarded and doesn’t give good soundbites.

    wow. what a terrible human.

    unless your a broncos fan realizing just how stupid it was to get rid of him, I’m not sure why anyone would care enough about him to care, let alone dislike him.

  24. Johntonioholmes- did you really use tackles to determine all pro level? Would you rather have a CB who the QB ignores or a CB who gives up receptions and racks up tackles 10-15 yards downfield?

  25. Some facts for you MF:
    1 -You don’t catch type I (JV) diabetes . It is a metabolism disorder. It isn’t known what triggers this immune system reaction though. It may be due to ‘autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors, possibly viruses.’
    Keep in mind that just because Type I diabetes may be triggered by a virus doesn’t mean that it is contagious.
    2 – My son diagnosed with it 2 days after he turned 7 (in 2004). How was he diagnosed? Him complaining about not having the strength to play during recess at school and started to have accidents in bed at the same time. Following the 48 hours of complaining and various symptoms, me and my wife, who are not medical professionals, diagnosed our son during a few hours of research at medical sources available on the internet. He was officially diagnosed by a doctor at an urgent care on Sunday. So your point on how lucky Cutler was due to working for a company who have team of doctors at any given time has no merit. So, if the articles are correct about him spending majority of the 2007 with type I diabetes without being treated for it, does reflect poorly on organization, team doctors, and Cutler who attended to Vanderbilt University. Cutler admitted during May 2008 that he should have recognized something was wrong!

  26. I think the sheer length of Reilly’s ‘little’ bio says all you need to know about him………………he must have a lot of mirrors in his house

  27. Here’s what got Reilly upset–he shows up for Cutlers Wednesday press conference and starts asking questions, but Jay doesn’t want to play nice….How many people in this room know you, etc. He’s a NATIONAL reporter who wants to walk in the room and be bowwed to, sorry, we know Jay’s game here in CHicago, and frankly, the fans don’t care what he does as long as he doesn’t turn into Cade McNown.

    Check out the Chicago Tribune, they have a good article about it in Thursdays online edition.

  28. As a sports fan I wish that the media would try to remain as anonymous as possible. It’s never about THEM. It never has been. I care about the Sports they cover– not them. Not one bit. I don’t know why Reilly thinks that he needs to be the center of attention. And others like Peter King, Bryan Gumble and just about everyone affiliated with ESPN do the same. The media is awful now. It’s all about individual personalities and trying to promote themselves and their networks. And a lot of them are hypocrites for calling out players for being too selfish and self-promoting. Reilly is the poster boy for why the media is unbearable these days. Just shut up about yourself and tell us about the sports you should be covering.

  29. Rick reilly’s kind of a big deal ….in his peanut sized brain. No insult to peanuts.

  30. I really don’t understand the never ending Cutler bashing.
    To be honest I would bet that most of the bashers don’t understand it either.
    They feel that they are supposed to because they read it some place.

    There are plenty of jag offs in the NFL and Cutler is not even in the same league.
    He does not seek the attention that so many players do and why should that be a bad thing?
    You hate Brady for being a glamour boy.
    You hate Roethlisberger for being a douche bag frat boy.
    You hate Vick for being a sadistic punk.
    You hate Favre for being a drama queen.
    You hate Romo for being a Cowboy.
    You hate Manning for being… well for not being on your team I guess.

    What is it about Jay Cutler that gets your panties in a bunch?
    You don’t even know do you?

  31. Rick Reilly is obviously an idiot. He is a Broncos fan from Boulder, CO. He came to Chicago and was upset the Bears wouldn’t grant him a 1-on-1 interview with Cutler.

    Look at his earlier story when Cutler was still in Denver. He didn’t have a problem with Culter then ignoring the media. http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3682223

    Makes you wonder what could have changed? Mad Cutler forced his way our from Josh Mcdaniels? Upset Cutler didn’t give him an exclusive? Cutler steal his woman? Whatever it is Reilly needs to get over himself. Nobody cares if Cutler doesn’t suck up to the media, especially a blowhard like Reilly.

  32. The problem with the media is that they are human. They have biases as any other person does. Why does Cutler get so much criticism? Because he doesn’t cater to the media. That does make him an easy target. The media perceives this guy to be an a$$hat, so the speak about him in that way. They will never give the guy any credit when it’s deserved because they don’t want to.

    If a person meets a celebrity for 2 minutes, all that celebrity has to do is not act like an a$$, then that person will say the celebrity is an awesome person and down to earth. It’s human nature. The media is no different.

    I’m a Bears fan and am not completely sold on him myself. I hope to see more positive in the next few weeks. However, the guy is a much better player and person than the media gives him credit for. Likewise, QBs such as Eli, Vick and Rodgers get more credit than they deserve because they give the media what they want.

  33. other than the democratic congress, the next least trusted “institution” in america is the media.

    they have been mistrusted for years. for good reason.

    the mass media nonstop bashes anyone who isnt slavishly liberal and loud about it.

    watch real current events.

    countries all over the world are dropping the dollar (watch inflation soar) left and right but sheee-it lets hear all about all the people (nonleftists the media hates) the media wants to blame for an ignorant leftist nut shooting a congresscritter.

    cutler avoids the media? MORE POWER TO HIM. he’s a sane man.

  34. I’ve been a Cutler fan since his Vanderbilt days, but it has nothing to do with who he is, and simply to do with his football ability. I was ecstatic, as a Bears fan, when they pulled off that trade, and was fine with the price that was paid. That said, it hasn’t been the easiest ride.

    Thing is, the only thing I care about is how he performs on the field. I hope he’s a good person off of it, and by most accounts, he is. I don’t care how he relates to the media, I don’t care about any of that.

    Anyhow, I thought Bob LeGere offered some good thoughts on the whole Reilly situation over at the Daily Herald.

    Btw, initially, I didn’t view this as a hit job. I thought it was … just another piece on how difficult Cutler was. The part that makes me wonder if this was a hit job was when he basically ridicules Cutler for not looking up to any QB growing up. I found to be quite ridiculous.

  35. PFT readers seem to have a big hate on for Reilly. But I didn’t know him from John Q. Sportswriter before reading this article. Reilly may be the biggest jackass on earth–but it’s still a distortion to say his article totally ripped Cutler. He gave examples of Jay’s bad behavior but also complimented his QB skill and handling of diabetes. He was not slamming him for keeping his charity work quiet. Reilly’s primary criticism was that Cutler makes you work too hard to find his good qualities.

  36. My post really has nothing to do with Jay Cutler or this Reilly person, whom I’ve never heard of, so just ignore it if you like.
    hockeypuck2011 says: Jan 14, 2011 7:39 PM

    “Some facts for you MF:
    1 -You don’t catch type I (JV) diabetes . ..”


    If you read the article, I believe you will see he’s saying “catch” as in “figure out”.

    As in, “We’d hate to see how long it would have taken to FIGURE OUT [he had] the disease….”

    I’m almost sure the writer isn’t a doctor, but I’m fairly certain even lawyers know you don’t “catch” diabetes.

    In your second point you go on to describe how you diagnosed your son, who also suffers from JVD [I hope a cure is found soon for this horrible disease, by the way], which has absolutely nothing to do with the article, yet you mention it, then you tell the writer their comment has no merit because he thought, as most people would, that someone with access to 24/7 medical treatment might be in better hands than the rest of us poor shmucks, and expresses his wonderment at how long the rest of society might go with an undiagnosed disease when a person with said care can do so.

    Then you contradict yourself by stating, “So, if the articles are correct about him spending majority of the 2007 with type I diabetes without being treated for it, does reflect poorly on organization, team doctors, and Cutler …”

    I’m not sure if you’ve ever played sports as an adult, but when you’re physically active, seven days a week, and I mean, really-hardcore-active, not playing softball once-a-week-active, it takes it’s toll physically and mentally. So for a professional athlete to “miss” something the rest of us might notice, isn’t really that far fetched, nor does it make them any less intelligent, no matter their Alma Mater.


    [I do hope your son is better now and a cure is found. No child should have to suffer, ever.]

  37. Not saying you are not right about his complaints being stupid, but this article reeks of some pre-existing professional bad blood between you.

    Did he steal a job or trash your blog?

    Get over it, calling out how dumb the article was is good, turning it into a opportunity to educate me to the fact that there is a creature on this planet named Rick Reilly and he wrote a movie you didn’t like is un-good.

  38. It’s always funny when the media goes after someone because they aren’t a back slapping quote machine who likes to hang out with them.

  39. I read the article before I read this take on it, and remembering back to my initial reaction, I don’t agree with this at all.

    I thought Reilly was writing a complimentary article: that he was well-aware that acting petulant with the media is no crime, and his aside revelation that Cutler gives Christmas presidents to hospitaled children was meant to cast him in a sympathetic light. And I thought that tone was pretty obvious.

  40. Jay’s job is to win football games, not cater to Reilly’s ego by giving him an interview. That’s what spurred all of this- Cutler saying no thanks to a one on one interview.

    Reilly talks for about 2 seconds in a way that compliments Cutler, but the tone of the article is definitely one that paints Cutler as a jerk. His ability to play nice with the press has no bearing on whether or not he can play the game. Reilly’s a sports writer. He’s supposed to be writing about the sport, not the personalities behind it.

    Is Cutler a jerk? Probably not. Does it matter? No.

  41. I gave Rick the benefit of the doubt when I first read the article. I assumed the whole thing was meant to be sarcastic. After reading the link to Rick’s [auto]biography, I cannot fathom the possibility that this guy isn’t a complete tool in every sense of the word (except the good one).

  42. After reading Reilly’s incredibly disdainful and disparaging “article” about Cutler, whom I’m otherwise indifferent towards, it’s hard to believe anyone posting here could defend it as being in any way “complimentary” and anything less than a hitjob.

    So he acknowledged Cutler’s arm and resilience – a smarter-than-average dog watching the game on TV could draw the same conclusion.

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