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24 Jan 2011

Audibles: Conference Championships

compiled by Bill Barnwell

Each weekend, the FO staff sends around e-mails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).

On Monday, we compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site. Please note that we may not discuss every single important event in each game.

Green Bay Packers 21 at Chicago Bears 14

Doug Farrar: If the Bears don’t keep at least one of their linebackers out of the chase on play action, this game is going to get ugly in a big hurry. Rodgers was just killing that Cover-2 with play action on the first drive. On his last pass of the drive, all three ‘backers voided the zone entirely to follow.

Tom Gower: Just to echo Doug's comment, a very impressive opening drive by the Packers. Aaron Rodgers was particularly sharp, and helped show why I'm not a huge fan of execution-style defenses like the Bears: if they don't out-talent you, it's possible to rip them apart.

Mike Tanier: A few well executed play-fakes on that drive, which helped set up the bootleg.

Doug Farrar: If the Bears don’t keep at least one of their linebackers out of the chase on play action, this game is going to get ugly in a big hurry. Rodgers was just killing that Cover-2 with play action on the first drive. On his last pass of the drive, all three ‘backers voided the zone entirely to follow.

Bill Barnwell: Bears get Devin Hester isolated against Charlie Peprah -- by far the weak link of the Packers secondary, particularly in coverage -- on third down and Hester runs a great deep out. Cutler overthrows him by two yards. Not a good sign.

After watching the replay, looks like it could be route miscommunication -- looked like Cutler thought Hester was running a corner.

Aaron Schatz: Chicago decision to punt from the Packers' 35: Fail. Good coffin corner punt, but James Starks makes it back past the 30 on the first carry. There's too much wind today to try an early 53-yarder?

Bill Barnwell: Robbie Gould's only attempted two 50+ yard field goals at home in six years. Not surprised they punted.

Vince Verhei: As the resident defender of close-range punting, I'll stick up for the Bears decision to turn down the long field goal on their first drive. If they miss a 53-yarder, the Packers get an extra 30 yards of field position, and the ensuing Green Bay drive is likely a field goal, not a punt.

Ben Muth: T.J. Lang could be in over his head.

Doug Farrar: Chad Clifton suffers a neck stinger at the goal line on Green Bay's first drive, and TJ Lang replaces him on the second. He plays well against Israel Idonije on the first play, then Peppers switches over lined up wide to force one-on-ones. Lang gets beaten on a couple of pressures (he seems especially susceptible to inside moves), and this could be a real problem if Clifton can't return.

Vince Verhei: Packers are targeting Tim Jennings. What is that, six targets in the first two drives? Seven?

Bill Barnwell: Cullen Jenkins is having a monster game so far.

Mike Tanier: Empty against the Packers on third-and-six? With Bennett as a quasi tight end? Yuck buckets.

Tom Gower: On the Cutler sack on third down to snuff the Bears' second drive, Cutler tried to step up after pressure only to get crushed by Matthews on a delayed rush. Kreutz tried to stop Matthews, but did not do a very good job of blocking him.

Bill Barnwell: Everything successful for Rodgers has been right in front of the safeties.

Vince Verhei: I like the blitz the Bears used on Brian Urlacher's third-down sack. Tackle stunts outside, end moves behind him to the outside, Urlacher swoops to the outside of all of them with no blocker to pick him up.

Aaron Schatz: The first quarter of this thing was like one of those World Cup soccer games where one team totally dominates the other but it still ends up just 1-0.

Rob Weintraub: We slam the announcers a lot, so I'll give props to Buck for at least doing a mea culpa there and admitting Urlacher didn't slip, as he called it originally -- he got juked.

Tom Gower: Too many of these Cutler-Hester throws look like they're the kind of small miscommunications you see from a quarterback and receiver just getting used to each other in their first preseason, not the kind of thing you see in the postseason between guys who are in their second year as teammates.

You're down 14 points against a team with a good offense. You're on the opposing 31. Why are you punting?

Bill Barnwell: This punting inside Packers territory thing works when your awesome special teams guys (especially Corey Graham) down the ball inside the five-yard line. Not so much when you produce touchbacks.

Aaron Schatz: Graham actually caught the ball for the Bears, then stepped on the goal line, and then suddenly realized he was supposed to bat it back and just sort of dropped it towards the one-yard line. Good job there.

Will Carroll: Watching Rodgers' run, I wonder why no NFL broadcaster has come up with a system that shows how far and fast someone ran. Its the kind of data that is instantly understandable -- "he ran 62 yards to get 20" -- and would have some quirky things like figuring out that Rodgers can outrun Briggs, or that Briggs is fast enough to catch him twenty yards down the field if he had the right angle.

Ben Muth: Hate that punt from the Packers.

Vince Verhei: Jay Cutler seems to be imploding. The lob under heavy pressure into triple coverage really should have been intercepted.

Bill Barnwell: I think he was hit in motion there.

Vince Verhei: If Cutler was hit in motion on this play, it was by a 300-pound charging right into his face. Even attempting a pass there is an implosion.

Aaron Schatz: Great defense by Greg Olsen to prevent an interception there. Green Bay really is dominating. Surprising that this score is only 14-0.

Is it me, or are the refs actually blowing whistles EARLY in this game to indicate a guy is down? Usually they take forever to blow the whistle, because they are so scared of getting overturned. For example, Jay Cutler just took a sack and fumbled the ball but for some reason the official blew the whistle before Cutler was even down, not to mention before the ball came out. Huh?

Tom Gower: Inside the two-minute warning, a fumble by the offensive team can only be advanced by the fumbling player. It's a special rule designed to prevent the Holy Roller play. As soon as Forte picked the ball up, the play was dead. I assume Pereira was off-screen explaining the rule, which enabled BuckAikman to pick up on what happened.

Rob Weintraub: To continue the soccer theme, if Chicago scores it will be described as "against the run of play."

Tim Gerheim: I'm really impressed with the Packers' preparedness. I mentioned Rodgers, and it's the same with the defense. On one Forte run where he pushed it to the edge, the linebackers did a great job of maintaining contain and lane discipline. Forte tried to cut it upfield inside his widest blocker but Desmond Bishop stayed in his lane and was there for the tackle. Then they were in perfect position on a screen to both pressure Cutler and tackle Forte for no gain.

Doug Farrar: And there, folks, is a great A/B on interceptions: Fault of the quarterback, and non-fault of the quarterback.

Tim Gerheim: I assume you're describing the Rodgers one as not QB fault, but I don't think that's completely true. Assuming Driver ran the route correctly, that ball was quite a ways behind Driver, which made it pretty difficult to catch. Sure Driver might could have pulled it in, and it was obviously fluky to get picked, but Rodgers wasn't fully blameless.

Aaron Schatz: Well, don't you throw it slightly low specifically because low throws are rarely intercepted?

Vince Verhei: It hit the receiver in the shins. The interception was a little bit of bad luck and a little bit of Lance Briggs making a great play, but you can't defend that pass.

Bill Barnwell: It hit him literally in the foot. That's why it bounced up. If it him in the shins, it would have bounced down.

Tim Gerheim: It wasn't just low. It was to the inside of Driver while he was running horizontally toward the sideline. That doesn't quite seem like a low throw calculated to avoid interception.

The Bears defense looks weary on the Packers' first drive of the second half. That's not a good sign.

Bill Barnwell: Seems odd that they would be weary after halftime and a three-and-out.

Will Carroll: Was that Rodgers tackle a complete Roethlisberger deja vu? Wow.

Collins in ... unless Cutler has surgery next week, he's never going to win the Bears fans over.

Mike Kurtz: Cutler's "knee" is "hurt."


Aaron Schatz: His name is WALPOLE'S OWN Todd Collins!

Bill Barnwell: I think we can all agree on that Rodgers throw in the red zone as being an awful one.

Mike Tanier: Captain Urlacher says that his ship is still very seaworthy.

Tom Gower: You simply cannot make that mistake on third-and-goal. This game would've been over at 17-0, but at 14-0 and the ball at midfield, it's not.

Mike Tanier: Whenever I see a touchdown-saving tackle by a quarterback I think of Dave Krieg in a Monday night game in the late 80's fighting off two blocks to make the tackle. Cannot remember the game, though.

Vince Verhei: Don't remember the play you're talking about, but it sure sounds like Krieg -- subpar execution, elite effort.

Mike Tanier: Hester is succumbing to the slippery field in a Vick-like way.

Will Carroll: Cutler's standing. He said to the trainer that he's "feeling it" when he moves to his right. I'll give him a pass for not having ice on it, given the air temperature, but he would be smart to do it anyway.

This is about to get ugly, isn't it?

Aaron Schatz: I don't get it, what is the injury?

Bill Barnwell: Am I the only person who thinks Jay Cutler and the Bears doctors have the best idea of whether he should be out there?

Ben Muth: From Derrick Brooks's twitter: "HEY there is no for a guy with no guts and heart"

Strong words from a strong man.

Aaron Schatz: I hope I'm not the only person who thinks FOX is doing a terrible job of telling us when the injury happened and giving a replay.

Mike Kurtz: If Cutler is hurt, he's hurt. I'm mostly just joking around, because Collins = game over. Which is a shame, because the Bears defense is absolutely on fire.

Tom Gower: I agree with Bill. If Cutler's not playing, then there's probably a very good reason for it. And I don't expect any better from Fox.

Bill Barnwell: It was before halftime on that final drive. Not sure when. I mean, it's very clear that Cutler has a serious knee injury. They're not working on him on the sideline and he's not in the locker room getting worked on. The Bears aren't going to put Todd Collins in there for fun.

Mike Kurtz: Awesome, Hester EXPLODES for about -13 yards, is tackled by a teammate. I don't think we'll ever see a team more grateful for a rekick after that.

Vince Verhei: Buck has also forgotten what down it is a few times. It's the usual embarrassing show from this crew.

Ben Muth: I have no doubt that he is actually hurt, no one would take themselves out if they thought they could go. I just find it hilarious how much everyone seems to hate this guy.

Will Carroll: I'm not saying he's not hurt. I'm saying they don't seem too concerned and he didn't look that injured when he came out in the third quarter.

Mike Tanier: It's the imagery: Cutler STANDing on the sidelines, not being worked on. He looks far more benched than injured. I mean ... I know some injuries cannot be handled until later, but the appearances aren't good.

Aaron Schatz: I just said this on Twitter, but I wonder if the doctors actually are showing concern and FOX just isn't showing it because their broadcast values kinda suck today.

Tom Gower: By putting Hanie in with 1:12 to go in the third quarter, rather than running two running plays and waiting for the start of the fourth quarter, the Bears lost the use of Todd Collins and Jay Cutler for the game.

Vince Verhei: Wait a minute. Lovie Smith has decided that Caleb Hanie is a better quarterback, and he made that decision here, in the space of one quarter in the NFC title game?

Mike Tanier: Forte and Urlacher have decided they are Batman and Robin. Soon, Carson Palmer will demand a trade to Chicago.

David Gardner: I think it's just a "who can hand off/throw screens to Forte better" decision at this point.

Mike Kurtz: Haha, and then Hanie fires a perfect bullet to Knox to get to the 1-yard line. Holy cow, this may be a ball game.

Mike Tanier: Probably a good time to note that it is now 14-7 and anybody's game.

Ben Muth: You cannot let Caleb Hanie hang around!

Vince Verhei: Now Buck A) says "we just saw Jay Cutler smile for the first time" for the second time today, and B) says Hanie is 1-for-1 for seven yards, moments after he hit the 30-something pass to Knox to set up the touchdown.

Ben Muth: Julius Peppers certainly got his 15 yards worth on that hit.

Tom Gower: I wonder if Rodgers got shaken up at all on the TD the opening drive and then the big hit later in the first. He's been much more inconsistent and inaccurate in his throws since then.

Will Carroll: Great point, Tom. He was clearly concussed with the Peppers hit. I can't say that it's mishandled - he got up and "shook it off", but there's consequences. Inaccuracy might be one. Slower reads?

Mike Tanier: I am not sure how clear a concussion can be on television footage of a standing man "shaking off" a hit.

Will Carroll: He was hit in the head. He was down a while. As he got up, his eyes had trouble focusing for a minute. While I hate the term "mild concussion," it's pretty easy to see there.

Vince Verhei: DANCING FAT GUY!!!

Will Carroll: Is that the biggest man to ever make a pick-six?

Bill Barnwell: Hanie never saw B.J. Raji bounce off the line on that zone blitz. I know that seems ridiculous to say -- that he missed a 350-pound man drop back into coverage -- but it's true.

Mike Tanier: This Bears touchdown drive rendered ridiculous by the uncalled hold on Clay Matthews on one of the first plays. The lineman got to second base on him. Or by the short kickoffs that keep giving the Bears the ball around the 40-yard line.

Aaron Schatz: Does Nick Collins know this game is still going?

Ben Muth: Nick Collins failed geometry.

Vince Verhei: So Hanie throws what should be a season-ending pick-six, then leads a march down the field and scores in 80 seconds to pull within a touchdown again. That's a third string QB against a top-five defense. I will never fully understand this game.

Mike Tanier: Hanie is now sixth on the All-Time Bears Quarterback list!

Bill Barnwell: Bears run defense has been fantastic in the second half. 10 carries, 16 yards by Starks/Kuhn/Jackson. This game should be over.

Mike Tanier: Tim Masthay is having a big game.

The sight of Clay Matthews dropping into coverage in these situations fills me with awe and sadness.

Mike Kurtz: This quarter is a good example of why, charges of running up the score be damned, you should never, ever take your foot off the gas.

Mike Tanier: Geez, more Packers had to trip over each other on that first down pass after fourth-and inches.


Tom Gower: The jet sweep/end-around, to the short side, WITH BLOCKING TE DEZ CLARK LINED UP AS A WIDEOUT TO THAT SIDE. Gee, you think they might be running that direction? Absolute masterminding by Mastermind Mike Martz himself.

Doug Farrar: That’s the kind of stuff that got Jeremy Bates fired.

Bill Barnwell: Oh, if that fumble by Sam Shields had come a moment earlier ...

Vince Verhei: What a weird-ass, ugly, clunky game. Seems like the best players were all on the losing team -- Hanie was excellent with the obvious exception of the pick-six. And the linebackers were tremendous all around.

Bill Barnwell: If I may stick up for the winners, Cullen Jenkins and Greg Jennings had fantastic games. And B.J. Raji wasn't that bad, either.

Aaron Schatz: And Tim Masthay, cancelling out what was supposed to be a big-time advantage for Chicago special teams.

(Ed. Note: Actually, it turns out he didn't... when I run the DVOA from the two conference championship games later today, you'll see that Chicago destroyed Green Bay in every other element of special teams. -- Aaron)

Mike Kurtz: Looking over my comments on the Bears game again, I should mention that I think if Cutler was hurt, obviously he shouldn't play. But considering the situation, it would make sense for him to do a very good job of appearing to be hurt (which is silly, I know, but because of the coverage at first I thought he had just been benched, since I didn't see any trainers or anything).

Mike Tanier: If I am the trainer, I stick a big immobilizer on Cutler, or hand him crutches, even if he doesn't need them. If I am the coach, I order the trainer to do it. Or to head for the locker room and come out limping in street clothes.

And after seeing Shonn Greene and Cotchery crawl back onto the field in today's second game, I do have to wonder if there was more to the injury than just an injury.

Ned Macey: The Bears' players seemed to have no issues with it, and what impact does the media firestorm have if they've already lost? They obviously evaluated him in the locker room at halftime and thought he was dicey. He couldn't play on the first drive, and everyone understood he was too hurt to play/not allowed to play. Obviously, nobody on the team thought that Todd Collins was a better answer. Why should the Bears give a crap about what MJD was going to tweet?

And, if coming out injured in a Championship Game means you're a gigantic pussy, then how can the Patriots possibly rally around that Tom Brady character?

Mike Tanier: Well, the player still has to live, dine, shop, and ingest media in the community. As do his family and friends. Better to spend the next six months as the guy who heroicly cheered in vain from his crutches than the next six months as the guy "not tough enough to be out there."

New York Jets 19 at Pittsburgh Steelers 24

Mike Kurtz: CBS's new pre-game shtick is JB talking to the E*Trade baby. I want to kill myself after seeing that.

Bill Barnwell: Did Mike Tomlin really tell Phil Simms the Steelers wouldn't have to resort to gadgets or tricks without a hint of irony?

Will Carroll: Pouncey had his ankle forcibly inverted by the guy falling on him ... not good at all.

Doug Legursky got blown up on third-and-1. It wasn't exactly an unexpected call to go with Redman, but there was just no push and the line bowed in at center.

Ben Muth: Doug Legursky's lack of accessories (glove, tape, etc) is off-putting.

Mike Kurtz: Mendenhall needs to work on his ball security. He's letting it creep away from his chest and there's a good chance that he's going to just get stripped.

Vince Verhei: Of all the ways I saw this game going, the Jets looking completely incapable of stopping the Steelers' running game was not on the list.

Mike Tanier: This is the same game twice, right? I mean, the Steelers are even in a full house backfield.

Okay, Revis didn't leave his guy on that goal-line stop. The defenders had coverage depending on who released outside or inside. He had the inside receiver, who turned out to be Ward.

And he didn't have impact on the play. Smith batted the ball down.

Sorry, I usually leave the Simms criticism to everybody else, but that got a little silly.

Mike Tanier: This is the Same Game! They are rebroadcasting it! The bootleg was the giveaway. They are saving money by tinting the color on the picture and showing the same game twice!

Aaron Schatz: The difference is that the first game only looked like it should be 24-0 after one half. This one actually is going to be 24-0 after one half. Not much to say. Total domination by one team so far.

Mike Tanier: You are right. But Brunell is better than Collins so it balances things out. And at 17-0 I was sure it was some kind of conspiracy.

Will Carroll: Sanchez seems to be in pain. He came off holding his left arm. Watching the replay, he didn't get hit on the left arm and landed on the right. I don't see what happened. He got hit by ... maybe ... no, Taylor had his open hand on Sanchez's left elbow. I don't get it. They're showing him on the sidelines shaking his head, so maybe a stinger?

Tom Gower: The sack where Turner got destroyed, yes, Sanchez didn't have a chance there, but that Taylor blitz that created the fumble-six to make it 24-0 was pretty obvious and Sanchez did not handle it very well at all.

Bill Barnwell: Looked like the cornerback on that Holmes TD slipped after about three yards. Think it was Taylor, not sure.

Aaron Schatz: This is a big difference between Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger: If you play max coverage to stop Big Ben from throwing the ball, he will run. Brady would not.

Mike Kurtz: Of course, when you contain Roethlisberger in the pocket, you can just pop him.

Vince Verhei: Jets shut the Steelers down, getting three straight plays for negative yards, and get the ball back. They're only two scores down. I am buying into Mike's theory that this is the same game, with different color settings, and some "Greedo shoots before Han"-style video editing afoot.

Will Carroll: Ryan Clark took a knee to the head from one of his own teammates.

Vince Verhei: The more rushers you send at Sanchez, the worse he plays. So of course the Steelers are playing the entire second half into a soft zone, rushing four guys or fewer.

Tom Gower: The key on Sanchez is getting pressure, not the number of rushers. If he sees a blitz coming, he'll hit the quick slant if it's available, and it's been available a fair amount.

Will Carroll: Farrior puts the crown on Greene (who comically gets up screaming about how hard he hit him.) Again, there's some sort of paper that floats out of someone's helmet. WHAT IS THAT?

Mike Kurtz: Polamalu is a non-factor again, which is making it really hard for LeBeau to get the strange angles he loves. He's clearly not 100%.

Bill Barnwell: So, that Jets playcalling near the goal line...

Mike Tanier: That drive was a microcosm of everything that has ever happened in the universe. That drive was a whole civilization in a bottle. That drive was Kandor.

Will Carroll: Why Tomlinson on fourth-and-1 rather than Greene, who'd been playing like they got him back on the field from that shoulder by giving him crystal meth?

Ben Muth: That was the worst quarterback sneak I've ever seen.

Tom Gower: The quick slant had been working; they just went to the well once too often. The second down play as well was just mediocre execution. Tomlinson on fourth down... yeah, I'm not going to defend that one either.

Aaron Schatz: As if to underline Tom's point, the Jets make a fourth-and-1 on the next drive on... a quick slant.

Tom Gower: I have to wonder if there's not something wrong with Greene at this point, since Tomlinson's the only back in the game of late.

One story from today's games: teams struggling with backup offensive linemen. Peppers abusing Lang in the early game, and now Legursky's bad snap to create a safety, Mangold's replacement getting abused the first play he's in, and Hunter's struggles at right tackle today playing for Woody.

Vince Verhei: When George Karl was coaching the Seattle SuperSonics many years ago, if the team was down by three points in the final minute, you knew they wouldn't force the three-point shot, they were going to go for the two-pointer and then foul immediately. The goal was to extend the game as long as possible and hope the other team's execution would eventually break down.

That's what the Jets' comeback effort reminds me of. They're patient, taking three yards here, eight yards there, picking up the fourth downs they need to. It seems doomed to fail. Then they get in the end zone and now they only need one more stop to get the ball back with time for a go-ahead score.

Aaron Schatz: That pass to Heath Miller instead of trying to run down the clock with 2:50 left probably wins the Colbert Award. Ballsy.

Mike Tanier: David Harris almost made magic happen before the two-minute warning. He almost stripped Mendenhall.

Vince Verhei: Mark Sanchez in the first half: 7-of-16, 63 yards, 2 sacks.

Mark Sanchez in the second half: 13-of-17, 170 yards, no sacks. Nearly a quarter of those yards came on one play where the cornerback fell down, but that's still a hell of an improvement.

Mike Tanier: Sanchez did all the things he does well in the 2nd half: tight slants over the middle, late throws to the sidelines in the 10-15 yard range.

It seemed like every time he dropped to throw in the first half it was 3rd-and-13.

Bill Barnwell: Amazing that CBS guys are lionizing Roethlisberger for coming through on third downs and having intangibles and making plays. He was 10-of-19. He threw for 133 yards and two picks. He scrambled for a touchdown ... and averaged fewer than two yards a carry on 11 attempts. The only reason the Jets had a chance was because Roethlisberger, in fact, was awful until the last series.

Vince Verhei: Following up on my basketball analogy: Unfortunately for the Jets, the Steelers hit their free throws.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 24 Jan 2011

370 comments, Last at 03 Feb 2011, 6:09am by bengt


by BritPop :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:02am

Kyle Orton finishes that game...

by Mac32 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:11am

Oh G-d - please be kidding.

by Mike W :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:08am

Two very similar games. The Packers of the second half looked like the team that managed to lose six games by 20 points. It seems like no team is dominant enough to continue "manifesting its will" when the other team needs it more. I expect a close Super Bowl.

I think Rodgers' bell can be considered rung on that Peppers hit, and I think it explains in toto his inability to make some very short, easy throws late.

My wife watched the first half of the GB-Chi game with me, and was soon laughing at my constant head-shaking and angry correcting of Aikman and Buck. If a play goes for three yards, there is about a 100% chance Buck will call it a two or four yard pickup. And on a close call, no matter how clear upon replay, Aikman will say, "Uhhh . . . I don't know." Looking forward to them in two weeks.

I really hope Pouncey is ok, in a month.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:27am

I also hope Rodgers is ok. While we saw Flynn was ok against the Pats, if AR can't play in two weeks because of concussion the Packers don't stand a chance. I was surprised Flynn didn't go in after that Peppers hit. It was obvious to everyone except McCarthy that AR needed to be examined.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:32pm

It wasn't just Peppers that hit him. Peppers helmet hit Rodgers and then the other Bear back there smacked Rodgers on the head with his hand. His head was a pinball bouncing around there for a second or two.

I'm glad Rodgers went with a different helmet after missing the game earlier this year, but yeah, he took some damage there. I figure he'll be fine though at least for the short term. I've watched years of players going back out after obvious concussions and not playing up to par and then coming back fine later. I'm not disputing the long term damage. I know that is there, but I think people are reacting differently to watching a concussion this year because of the added awareness and because the league has been better about not letting players continue play after suffering them this year.

The Packers identity has been their defense for a while this year. From Week 8 onwards they allowed 0, 7, 3, 20, 16, 7, 31, 17, 3 in the regular season (the 20 was to Atlanta, the 31 to New England). Playoffs 16, 21, 14 and 7 of the 21 was a kick-off return so 14 if you take away awful special teams. Of the 31 given up to New England, 7 were a pick six and 7 more were after a 72 yard kick off return to a lineman that put NE on the 2. So that game was 17 points if you factor out the horrible special teams and a huge offensive mistake.

The offense has been up and down all year and will frequently disappear for a couple of quarters a game, making life on the D harder, and the special teams tend to make life hard on the defense. The team looks completely dominate if the offense shows up at all. It just looks average to very good when the offense goes to sleep.

Even if Matt Flynn has to start I feel this defense and the talent the offense has will click for at least a drive or two so that they are in the game. It's what the team has been all year. Though I think the chances of winning with Rodgers drops significantly. I've heard people say "well our offense just didn't show up" so many times after they played the Packers this year, that even though the stats are good (though not elite), that the defense is a reason for that.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:36pm

"I really hope Pouncey is ok, in a month."

Given his struggles against powerful NTs like Peko and Ngata, I would think that the Packers would be looking forward to exploiting Raji and/or Jenkins on Pouncey.

by The Other Ben Johnson (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:07am

"Each weekend, the FO staff sends around e-mails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can)."

"Hey guys, are you watching this NFC Championship game? It's on Channel 5."

by armchair journe... :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:08am

I hope Hanie doesn't get skewered for that game-ending pick. You guys railed on Martz for calling the 2nd to last play, but what about the last one? I actually had to replay, frame by frame, to find the receivers. That took about 10 minutes. I don't think Hanie had quite that much time to research.

4th and short, four receivers go out, and the best I can tell, only one went to the sticks---and that was all the way at the sideline. There was no one in between the numbers... or even close. The entire middle of the field was empty. You only need a few yards, and you only have one chance to get it, why is everyone running deep routes? Could Martz have made it any more difficult for his 3rd string quarterback, with all of 5 games mop up time on his resume? I'm dumbfounded. Can someone explain to me how that play was supposed to work?

Side note: There are no 50/50 balls with Johnny Knox. Either he is open, or its an interception. Uncanny.

armchair journeyman quarterback

by snoopy369 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:04pm

What I want to know is why they didn't call a timeout after the boneheaded reverse (which was boneheaded, among myriad other reasons, for forcing the quick 4th down play). You can't take them home with you, guys...

by Eddo :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:04pm

Agreed on Knox. He is terrible at using his body.

by armchair journe... :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:26pm

I was actually thinking of your prior comments to that effect while watching this game. I had thought you were overstating the case, but, well... apparently, not.

by Eddo :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:12pm

Glad to see I make an impression. Hopefully, it's a good one.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:31pm

There isn't much to use.

I don't know what Aromashadu did to earn Lovie/Martz's ire, but it's tough to beat a physical secondary with a couple of mighty mites and a possession guy.

I have to question the Bears ST DVOA as well. In addition to Hester's invisibility, Maynard had a shaky game.

Caleb Hanie will never have to pay for a drink if I'm ever in the same joint.

by JCutler6 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 6:17pm

Agreed - seems like D.A was still paying for that drop he had earlier in the season in the endzone

And he was de-activated yesterday for Dez Clark - who was absolutely invisible the whole game. Poor choice by Martz/Lovie there

Martz called a horrible game yesterday. I echo the sentiments of the above poster that the 4th down call was just as bad as the 3rd down call. Everyone running deep routes when you needed 5 - just shocking coaching by Martz

by Roy (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 10:24am

this is wrong. 2 guys run short to the 1st down, 2 guys run deep, and the RB starts to release for a potential dumpoff in the middle just before hanie throws it. about 3 seconds elapse from snap to interception.

by armchair journe... :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 2:08pm

of the two guys that run short, one is nearly at the sideline, and covered, the other is off screen, presumably also at the sideline. between the numbers, short and medium distance, the field is empty. the QB has the ball deep behind the line of scrimmage...with 6 guys blocking 5 rushers. the RB "starting to release" is nowhere near the line of scrimmage, much less the line to gain. you may see this as a perfectly acceptable strategy, and if so, please tell me how it was supposed to work. i am genuinely curious, that's why i asked about it. i have never seen a fourth down play--much less a season-on-the-line play--in which the part of the field most empty of players was the part of the field the offense needed to get to.

perhaps martz intended to create this massive hole for the rb to release into, on some sort of slow-developing dump-off or screen. that's the best i can guess from watching it. and that hardly seems like a good idea.
armchair journeyman quarterback

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 6:21pm

Martz gambled that the Packers would assume quick slant to convert and try to jump underneath routes, so he sent his receivers on go routes? If it had been Bill Walsh, it might have worked. Unfortunately, like Patton on Rommel, Capers had read Martz's book.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:11am

Anybody who has seen Cutler take the hits he has taken over the last two years, and keep going, knows it really is dumb to question his toughness. Blame Lovie Smith for choosing Todd Collins as his 2nd option. The old experienced guy, who has lost whatever athleticism he once had, is the most overrated guy in the NFL.

The first possession of the game was the most important in many respects, and while QB play was definitely the difference-maker, it is worthwhile to remember that the tackle Rodgers made 40 yards downfield was as imporatnt as anything he did yesterday.

I have't watched the Jets a lot, but am I crazy to think that the best way they could improve their roster would be with a dominant defensive lineman? It can't be a fun morning to be a Jets fan this morning, but going forward there is a lot to be optimistic about. Sanchez likely is only to get better, and a good qb behind a good offensive line is a formidable combination.

by raffy60 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:33am

Thank you Will for stating what was very obvious to me but somehow has been missed by, other football players, any other commentator or "analyst" in the football media. Cutler was benched by Lovie Smith, plain and simple. What the bigger story for me is not if Cutler was seriously injured; but maybe, just maybe the "professional" analysts of the NFL give Lovie Smith a little too much love and credit where not deserved and a free pass for any gaffes made. Is the insightful question really "did Lovie panic" rather than "is Orton not tough enough?" And I'm going to really open Pandora's box here by stating that possibly we have an example of political correctness via a vis the national media's version of the Rooney Rule.
As always "HUGE" credit for the entire FO staff on revealing something that their so called "professional" colleagues miss with stunning regularity.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:40am

Seeing I've seen coaches of all races make the same mistake of overrating the value of an experienced guy who doesn't have any athleticism, since I've been watching football, and have seen it gone uncritisized by pundits who engage in cliches about wily veterans, I don't think there is any need to reference the Rooney rule or political correctness.

by raffy60 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:38am

Thank you Will for stating what was very obvious to me but somehow has been missed by, other football players, any other commentator or analyst in the football media. Cutler was benched by Lovie Smith, plain and simple. What the bigger story for me is not if Cutler was seriously injured; but maybe, just maybe the professional analysts of the NFL give Lovie Smith a little too much love and credit where not deserved and a free pass for any gaffes made. Is the insightful question really "did Lovie panic" rather than "is Orton not tough enough?" And I'm going to really open Pandora's box here by stating that possibly we have an example of political correctness via a vis the other than NFL media's (excepting the FO staff) version of the Rooney Rule.
As always "HUGE" credit for the entire FO staff on revealing something that their so called professional colleagues miss with stunning regularity.

by Gwyn (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:44am

The Tribune has a poll up this morning - Do you question Cutler's toughness ?

Yes - 50%
No - 31%
Wait for MRI - 19%

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:34pm

Yeah, people are often dumb. Look, Cutler has significant flaws, but he has taken some real beat-downs over the past couple years, and hung in there. I severely doubt he just decided to run up the white flag yesterday.

by Nathan :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:36pm

Sun-Times is reporting a torn MCL

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:53pm

PFT is reporting that Cutler has an MCL tear. If that ends up being the case, and he has to have surgery to fix it, I wonder if the cat can be put back in the bag on this one. Speaking for myself, if I were Cutler, I'd have a hard time forgiving and forgetting some of the things that have been said about him in the last 24 hours.

by Temple (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:08pm

Well none of that came from his teammates. Maybe it pushes him and the team into making next year an sports guy's Eff-You year.

by JasonC23 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:13pm

That to me was the most significant thing that happened yesterday with Cutler's situation--Krutz and Urlacher both stood up for him and called anybody questioning Cutler's toughness stupid. That means the locker room won't be divided by this, which is really the biggest concern. Everything else is just noise. And, well, stupid.

by Kal :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:34pm

Even better than the locker room not being divided, it gets that great us vs them mentality. It's a silly thing but it does work to motivate.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:36pm

Normally I'd agree, but I'm not sure what happens when "them" includes your own fans.

by Kal :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:11am

Mike Tanier: That drive was a microcosm of everything that has ever happened in the universe. That drive was a whole civilization in a bottle. That drive was Kandor.


by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 3:06am

Seriously. It's not every day you get to drop a Kandor reference, and I feel it should be saluted. Thank you for getting on that hours before I could.

by DavidP (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:16am

"Now Buck A) says "we just saw Jay Cutler smile for the first time" for the second time today, and B) says Hanie is 1-for-1 for seven yards, moments after he hit the 30-something pass to Knox to set up the touchdown."

About the B part- you misunderstood what Buck was saying. He was talking about drives and points, not passes and yards. He said something like: "Cutler had X drives resulting in 0 points, and Hanie is one for one for seven points".

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:25am

Doesn't change the fact that the Bears team got 7 points, not Hanie personally. And that the Bears team got them in spite of Hanie, not because of him. If he'd played a full game, the Bears WRs would have been carted off on stretchers the way he was hanging them out to dry.

But we will now be treated to an offseason where Hanie has swagger.

by parkgrades (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:37pm

Trade Hanie now, while his value's at its highest!

And then draft 7 offensive linemen -- 1 or 2 will surely work out!

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:43pm

Yes, but the Bears also need a couple receivers who actually know how to run good routes.

by Eddo :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:13pm

Actually, route-running is only really Hester's problem.

Knox -
strengths: route-running, hands, speed
weaknesses: terrible at using his body, getting separation

Hester -
strengths: speed, using his body
weaknesses: route-running

Bennett -
strengths: route-running, hands
weaknesses: getting separation
I really like Bennett, and would like to see him targeted more often.

by Illmatic74 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:27pm

Based on your scouting report the reason why he is not targeted is because he is always covered.

by Eddo :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:04pm

Fair enough. He's also on the field the least of those three.

by Whatev :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:14pm

So between the three of them, you have one good receiver!

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:36pm

There's simply not enough evidence that they won "in spite of" Hanie. He scrambled well and completed tough throws. And yes, they scored 2 TD's with him under center after getting nothing from Cutler and Collins. It's not like they were defense and special teams scores.

by biebs (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:20am

So.... Sanchez is good?

by MidnightAngler (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:48am

is this a joke?

Sanchez didn't make a single play when his team was down by less than two scores. The steelers defensive strategy appeared to be to encourage the jets to run down the clock by running and completing passes in the middle of the field. It isn't a coincidence that once the jets were in striking distance, the steelers picked up a few first downs and ran out the clock.

The way Roethlisberger and Legursky played, the steelers must have felt better with Sanchez on the field running the clock down.

by biebs (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:09pm

I thought Sanchez actually was pretty good. I was thinking about the Walkthrough from the other day when I wrote that.

I don't really understand the logic that "It isn't a coincidence that once the jets were in striking distance, the steelers picked up a few first downs and ran out the clock."
Roethlisberger made two great plays on 3rd down, furthermore, I don't know what that has to do with Sanchez anyhow.

by scottybsun (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:52pm

Can't..... ever...... give...... Sanchez....... credit..... at this site....... Because other lamestream football commentators...... who were are....... better and smarter than........ over-rate him....... we must never give him credit when it...... is clearly due.

The Steelers D did to the Jets what the Jets did to the Pats- when they got a big lead, they played in a scheme that, in effect, forced the opposing qb to check down or risk certain interceptions.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:58pm

I'll give Sanchez credit. He played a better game than Roethlisberger, and noticably so. Unfortunately for Sanchez, his teammates did not play a better game than Big Ben's. This game should be Exhibit A in the case of "QB record is a stupid stat".

by Mark S. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:13pm

He did play better than Rothlisberger. Granted, Rothlisberger played very poorly save for a handful of good runs for first downs.

I'd describe Sanchez as solid. It's a hard performance to judge, since he did nothing before the Steelers went up 24-0 and the Steelers starting playing soft, but I thought he was OK.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 1:51am

And of course, the national discourse is not "QB wins is a stupid stat" but rather "Ben Roethlisberger is SO GOOD that he can have a great game (and win it singlehandedly) while putting up a horrific stat line."

I've even heard it described as the best game of his career.

To quote a certain 40-year old colelge coach: Makes me wanna puke!

- Alvaro

by troycapitated p... :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 2:55am

I admit that I no longer live in the States, and thus miss a fair amount of the national discourse. I do, however, frequent sports sites such as the WWL and this one, and I can't recall hearing anyone suggest that Roethlisberger won either of the Steelers' playoff games by himself. During the game the announcers repeatedly credited Mendenhall with being the big story of the game and ESPN has him (Mendenhall) ranked at #1 on their cross-sport power rankings for the week.

I have heard, and read, many national commentators say his game was better than his stat line would lead you to believe, and I think that re-watching the game, or even just reading the play summaries in the game book would confirm that assertion.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:22am

Hanie completes 3 passes in a row, and on all 3, the receivers get hung out to dry - on the first, expecially, the guy just got drilled. On the 3rd, the DB takes a bad angle and it's a broken play down to the 1 yard line. And yet somehow, all the idiots in the bar - mostly Steelers fans - all start to proclaim what a great QB Hanie is. They scored that TD in spite of Hanie, not because of him.

Next thought: You hear all the time about the Prevent Defense. Usually, some idiot broadcaster is railing against it, infuriated by how much he despises it. But lost in the shuffle of the Green Bay game was that they used the prevent defense and they won. Chicago took over with under 3 minutes left and had to go the length of the field. Green Bay promptly put their dime package in the game and took away the deep ball. They traded yards for time, and forced Chicago to try to execute and sustain a lengthy drive rather than deciding the game on a cheap big play/mistake. The one time Green Bay brought the blitz, on 3rd and long, Hanie converted and moved the chains. Yes, Chicago got the ball to the 35. And yes, they ran probably close to 10 plays by then. But that’s exactly what the prevent does. You run that many plays, eventually you are likely to make a mistake. And the Bears did. The DB who got the INT will get the credit, and that’s fine. He made a hell of a play. But ultimately, the coach’s willingness to play the prevent was what put him in position to make the play in the first place. We rememeber the 1% where the prevent fails, but nobody ever remembers the 99% when the prevent works.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:09pm

Prevent D is risky. I'm not sure it's worse than the alternative, but it definitely doesn't "work" 99% of the time. It becomes much easier to move the ball and score with two minutes to go in a half no matter how good the D is or how bad the O is. Teams that couldn't do anything all day suddenly find themselves in a position to win the game, and that's the result of prevent D. I would really like to see, if possible, some numbers on this, but I'm certain prevent's success rate is much, much worse than 99%.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:15pm

Assigning statistical probability to it was probably a very poor way to phrase things on this website. But I would love to see a study on it. And it does overwhelmingly work. When it doesn’t work, it results in a spectacular, memorable finish. When it works, it’s as noteworthy as a 4 yard run in the second quarter. So we remember the failures and it clouds our judgment.

The Prevent is actually LESS risky. You trade yards for time and you don't give up a cheap score, and you force a team to make a sustained drive in hopes of eventually getting a score before the clock runs out. Yards don't matter at that stage of the game.

by scottybsun (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:55pm

Dean- perfect post

The most common ways teams with leads lose is by allowing big plays and/or turning the ball over (see Giants v. Eagles). A prevent D works if you get a win, no matter how much nervousness it causes.

by Whatev :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:27pm

Yeah, maybe if the score is 45 to 38. If you've only given up one score all game, the probability of eating a bunch of big plays is pretty low and I don't think the argument that it's worth giving up tons of 10-15 yard plays to reduce that low probability even further is a sound one.

by Jonadan :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:11pm

To be fair, I don't think expecting Hanie, thrown into the Championship game and playing live for the first time in I have no idea how long, to be correctly reading which routes would get his receivers drilled is reasonable. I don't like the line of reasoning anyway - football is a contact sport, the only relevant question is, "Did you get the yards?" Y/N. I mean, sure, if you can get the yards without getting your receivers killed, by all means do it. But if you've got to get the yards... it's a contact sport.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:21pm

A better QB will put the ball in a safer spot. Don't think his WRs won't let him know about it. But that's why Hanie is 3rd string in the first place.

Hanie is what he is. He’s a backup who came in and did the best he could in a rough situation. He probably bought himself 3 more years in the league by exceeding everyones expectations. But I don’t think anybody out there is thinking about grooming him to be a starter ever.

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:19pm

Hanie clearly deserved to be the second-string QB. Collins was awful.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 1:58am

Hanie is third string because Mike Martz is an ego-maniac. After the Carolina debacle, Colins got dumped to #3, but during the bye Martz pulled his weight and got his guy back to #2, a decission that might have cost them the championship, the way the D was playing in the second half.

Also remember that the Bears went into 09 with two QBs on the roster: Cutler and Hannie. And they were going to go into this season with Cutler, Hannie and rookie Dan LaFeveour, but then Hannie got hurt in training camp, they had to bring in Collins, then tried to sneak LaFeveour into the practice squad but he got claimed off waivers, thus forcing them to retain Collins after it was clear he couldn't play, instead of relasing him and promoting the rookie.

Absolutely NONE of this is indicative of Hannie being a #3 talent. In fact, I'm pretty confident Hannie will be a starter somewhere in the next few years.

- Alvaro

by tuluse :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 3:04am

I don't know if Hanie will be a starter, but I could easily see him having a long career as a backup.

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:27pm

You're praising the Packers' prevent defense??

The Packers regular defense had the Bears locked up for 3 quarters, and then finally let a TD in near the start of the fourth.

And then, after they pulled ahead 21-14, they let the Bears drive 60 yards in 4 plays to score a TD.

Was that the prevent defense? Because that's when you're supposed to be playing the prevent defense.

And the last drive was not a great time to be counting on it for much. If you're up by only a TD and the other team has 3 minutes left, that's more than enough time to dink and dunk it up the field and take a lot of yardage for free. And yes, this defense let the #3 QB of the Bears look great.

I just don't see what's wrong with the regular defense. The Packers have the best defense in the NFC and they'd shut out the Bears for three quarters. Why give up free yardage to the Bears? Out of fear of the #3 QB being able to connect with Knox or Hester when they'd had no deep passing game all day?

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:33pm

"I just don't see what's wrong with the regular defense."

That's OK. Most fans don't. Most sportswriters don't. It's sort of like the BCS. All the bitching about it in the world simply makes it too toxic to have a legitimate discussion about it, but it doesn't change the fact that it works.

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:13pm

It works? The Bears drove 60 yards in five plays for a TD! How is that working?

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:18pm

It works because they won.

Also, I'm not even sure they were in a prevent yet on the drive you're referencing. They certainly were on the last drive when they successfully traded yards for time and eventually forced Chicago into a game sealing mistake.

The prevent defense is like eating your vegetables. There’s nothing macho about it. There’s nothing fun about it. Nobody’s ever going to get excited about it. It’s not sexy. Little kids whine when faced with it. But it works.

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:27pm

No, that's not what "it works" means.

If you have a two TD lead and go into a prevent defense to force the other team to burn the clock before scoring, and then the other team scores in 5 plays, then no, your prevent defense didn't "work" solely because your team won the game. That's a terrible way to evaluate success or failure of a given scheme. That kind of gross method of evaluation will lead you to call everything done by the winning team a "success" and everything done by a losing team a "failure".

You seem to be intent on praising the Packers' prevent defense, facts be damned. If the Packers were _not_ in a prevent defense with a 2-TD lead late in the game, that would seem weird to me.

I know that the prevent defense can work. The Jets did an excellent job with it the previous week against the Patriots. But the Packers-Bears game was an excellent example of why people hate the prevent defense.

Look at the second Bears TD. There are defenders all over the secondary, but they stood around and let the Bears' receiver score a TD.

The one thing that should not be praised about the Packers' defense yesterday was their prevent scheme.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 4:26pm

What you're not getting is that yards no longer matter at this point in the game. Style points no longer matter. DVOA no longer matters. The only thing that matters is not giving up a TD. Statistically, the most probable way to do that is to go prevent. They did that. It worked. It's unquestionably the right strategy, and it unquestionably worked.

by Kal :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:10pm

Except...it didn't work. They gave up 2 TDs in the final quarter and gave up a QB in 81 seconds, both not slowing down the Bears and not stopping a TD.

It worked, barely. Whereas when they blitzed Hanie he basically got shredded.

A vanilla defense isn't going to do well normally (which is what they threw at Hanie the first drive). A prevent vanilla defense is even worse.

by tuluse :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 4:29pm

Personally I think they backed off because they were facing an inexperienced QB that they wanted to see if he could read coverage. Not because of the game situation.

by MCS :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:09pm

That is exactly what they did. Even before they went to the dime package they switched the approach and rushed 3 and dropped 8 for the majority of the plays in the 4th quarter. They were daring Hanie to read the defense and beat them.

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:16pm

I mean really, you want to credit the Packers' defense for stopping the 3rd string QB from making a long TD pass on the last drive? When the Bears don't really have a long passing game to speak of, not on that day, in that weather, with those receivers, and that QB.

Presuming that you're the one who knows what you're talking about? An obnoxious habit. Suggest you lose it. I made a long rebuttal and you simply ignored it and re-asserted that you were correct.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:20pm

"I mean really, you want to credit the Packers' defense for stopping the 3rd string QB from making a long TD pass on the last drive?"

Well, that WAS what they were tasked to do, and it IS what they did, right?

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:30pm

No, they were tasked to stop the Bears from scoring a TD. By focusing entirely on one very unlikely approach to scoring a TD, the allowed the Bears to raise the total probability of scoring a TD, when summed over all possible strategies.

And yes, they did stop the Bears, but that doesn't mean it was the correct approach to take. As we saw on the previous drive, that defensive approach was weaker than their regular defense was.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 2:07am

I just want to say that

1) I agree that few things make you lose credibility faster than stating that everyone is wrong and only I am right (specially when you do't actualyl back that up)

and most importantly

2) The prevent defense did not force the Bears into a desperate 4th-down interception. Mike Martz calling the absolute worst play on a third and short in do-or-die time possible short of kneeling down forced the Bears into that situation. If he calls a Hannie bootleg instead, or they don't panic and call a time out before the play Hannie called because the insane play didn't come in clearly on the radio (or so he claims. I choose to believe he heard the play, decided it was insane and audibled into a play that actually picked up the first down), the Bears are in perfect position to tie. Thanks to the prevent defense.

- Alvaro

by MJK :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:44pm

First off, I hate prevent defenses in general.

However, something that often get's missed by people attacking them is that the offense changes as well in "prevent" situations.

Most coaches are inherently risk-adverse. They tend to run "safer" plays in score-neutral situations. Look at how many adhere to the fallacy of "establishing the run" even though passing is (in most neutral situations) a better strategy. Look at how few designed plays involve laterals or tosses, no matter how exciting or effective such plays could be, because of the high risk associated with them. QB's too will generally err on the side of throwing the ball away or throwing a practically uncatchable ball in order to avoid the possibility of a pick.

But all that changes when you're desperate for a score. Playcalling becomes more aggressive. Receivers run deeper routes, and the plays become designed to have the greatest probability of scoring points quickly, not the least probability of turning the ball over. QB's begin to play more aggressively and take more risks.

And much of the time, it works. Even against a straight defense, not a prevent, offenses that go no-huddle and become aggressive and pass-first in their playcalling usually begin to move the ball better than they had before they got into that mess. That is because the offense still controls the ball, and it is still more difficult for a DB to make a play on a toss up than a WR.

I suspect that sometimes when a desperate offense starts moving the ball and everyone assumes the other team went "prevent", they actually didn't...the offense just started playing more aggressively.

It's also worth noting that many announcers can't tell the difference between a "prevent" and simply playing nickel/dime and staying in a zone. Prevent means you never blitz, you double any receivers on the sideline, and keep your safeties deep to stop the deep pass, and basically surrender anything in the 5-15 yard range in the middle of the field. What the Packers seemed to be doing was playing a simple nickel zone and blitzing less than normal.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:49pm

Once the game charting data comes in, it'll be obvious, but it seemed to me that on the last drive, they rushed either 3 or 4 (covering with 7 or 8) on every play except the one I referenced earlier. They weren't in nickel or dime. To the extent that you can tell from the TV, it looked like cover 3 on every play except the one. They blitzed once and got burned (cue Easterbrook), but otherwise they played a straight prevent.

by Botswana Meat Commission FC (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:03pm

Well, if there's one offense that DOES consistently rely on aggressive playcalling and lots of deep routes... the Mike Martz system comes to mind.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:22pm

...and at least twice the radio commentators mentioned that 5 receivers were out in the patterns on the final drive for the Bears. I think what you saw in the last quarter was Martz running the full Martz offense with the chains off because they needed to score in a hurry.

I'd like to see the charting results, but that seemed to be the case to me - and it still took a major mistake in the secondary to give the Bears a TD.

Incidentally, my favorite part of the whole bears TD debacle at the end was Woodson looking back at Collins with the "WTF?" look.

by TomC :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 7:49pm

Incidentally, my favorite part of the whole bears TD debacle at the end was Woodson looking back at Collins with the "WTF?" look.

Agreed, that was awesome.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 8:44pm

Yup, great TV shot

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 6:31pm

And much of the time, it works. Even against a straight defense, not a prevent, offenses that go no-huddle and become aggressive and pass-first in their playcalling usually begin to move the ball better than they had before they got into that mess. That is because the offense still controls the ball, and it is still more difficult for a DB to make a play on a toss up than a WR.

The Packers' base defensive formation is a 2-4-5 nickle, typically running some form of zone blitz. It's a pass-leaning variation on LeBeau's 3-4-4. LeBeau, in part, created the 3-4 zone blitz as a defense against the Bills' no-huddle K-Gun formation, because it's ability to mix looks and bring exotic pressure against limited-potential (hurry-up no-huddle is inherently complexity-limited, because of time constraints) formations. In other words, the Packers' base formation is the correct defense to be using against what the Bears were doing. Prevent offers no advantage, other than freely hemorrhaging yards and letting the offense get into a rhythm.

by armchair journe... :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:23am

Bill Barnwell: Amazing that CBS guys are lionizing Roethlisberger for coming through on third downs and having intangibles and making plays. He was 10-of-19. He threw for 133 yards and two picks. He scrambled for a touchdown ... and averaged fewer than two yards a carry on 11 attempts. The only reason the Jets had a chance was because Roethlisberger, in fact, was awful until the last series

That's because statistics can't tell you how great a game Roethlisberger had, only Phil Simms can.

armchair journeyman quarterback

by 'nonymous (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:39am

They spent too much time praising both quarterbacks, really. The defenses hardly got any credit or time from Simms and Nantz.

by Tom Gower :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:35pm

Death to italics.

by bengt (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 6:23am

I tried to end them too, but with '< / it>' instead of ' < / em>'. Should have looked into the formatting options. Maybe you could add an entry 'How do I end other people's italics?'?

by Tom Gower :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 2:20pm

If I'm being diligent, I check the page source and see precisely what I need to do to fix it. Otherwise, I just put a couple ending -em's and -i's and see if it works when the comment posts.

by armchair journe... :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:11pm

I was referring specifically to Phil's quote which began "Statistics would tell you Ben's had a bad game..."

[ sorry Tom ]

by Tom Gower :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:09pm

Death to italics.

by bengt (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:07pm

BR's 'attempts':
12 yards on 3rd and 12
2 yard TD
Kneeldown, end of half
4 yards on 1st and 10
-1 yards, fumbled snap (from the backup center)
5 yards on 3rd and 4
5 yards on 3rd and 3
-1 yards, fumbled snap (from the backup center), safety
Kneeldown, end of game

I don't want to judge Simms, but Barnwell's rebuttal was pathetic. Adding kneeldowns to calculate an out-of-context rushing average is a disgrace to a site like FO IMHO.

by Geo B :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:30pm


Steeler fan trapped in Houston!
Six Time SB Champs! ;-)

by scottybsun (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:48pm

bengt- great post

As a Jets fan, I recognize just how much Ben contributed to that game. He played mostly well in helping his team get a 17-0 lead, ran for numerous 1st downs and ended the game by converting two 1st down throws (effectively playing game-clinching defense). He played against a GREAT pass defense that frustrated the heck out of Manning and Brady the past two weeks (ignore Brady's garbage-time stats).

I job requires extensive use of statistics, and I have a healthy regard for "unexplained variance". Too bad too many at FO seem to think that if a contribution doesn't fit into a variable in the formula, that it doesn't have an effect, and is just "luck".

Some outlier players are better than their stats. Ben is one of these few.

by coltrane (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:19pm

This is just ridiculous comparing Peyton Manning's game against the Jets to Roethlisberger's game. Peyton played a mistake free game that included a brilliant long TD pass. Only "Kick Em" Caldwell precluded him from getting more points up.

Ben was terrible with his passing yesterday. He had 2 picks in 19 attempts and there also could have been 2 more. He missed an easy TD pass to Heath and didn't make any plays in the passing game. I agree that he was very good with his legs, but the Steelers may be the only team in football to withstand such a stinker from the QB and come out with a W.

The mainstream media are morons for pumping up Ben because is so "clutch". This is his 3rd playoff win where he would have to be graded out at D or below and won.

by MurphyZero :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:07pm

The one interception was on a screen pass on 4th and 1 that hit Mendenhall in the hands and bounced up to the defender. The incompletion would have resulted in the same as the interception. Now I will say that Ben threw the ball way too hard for the situation, so I'd say the interception is 60-80% Ben's fault. The other was on a 30 yard pass towards the end zone. Not so much a bad pass as much as a bad decision. Ben did not have a great game. But it wasn't nearly as bad as some of the folks are trying to call it--I'd call it a decent game, much better first half than second. If Pouncey can't make it for the Super Bowl, Ben and his new center are going to have to really work on the exchange.

by Jerry :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 12:45am

It looked to me like Ben had Sanders open if he made a good throw on the second interception. (The first, being near the line of scrimmage on fourth down, was meaningless.)

And there are now a couple weeks to work on snapping with backups.

by troycapitated p... :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 7:17pm

Yes, both interceptions were more a result of execution than decision-making, though, I suppose you could suggest that it may have been a bad decision to believe himself capable of executing a good enough throw rolling left on the second one. Had the play been flipped and he been rolling right, he probably hits Sanders.

by troycapitated p... :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 7:20pm

As a semi-related side note, I wonder how much, if at all, the knee-to-the-thigh he took early in the game could have impacted his throwing?

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 9:00pm

We'll probably never know for sure. I considered it a bad decision because he threw inside and short rather than outside and long. In my mind Roethlisberger is generally accurate enough for me to believe that the gross location with respect to the receiver was a decision and not bad execution. But, you're right, it's entirely possible he decided to throw away and outside and just missed.

The first one is a dropped pass. Maybe Roethlisberger could have thrown it with less pace, but if it's on anyone it's on Mendenhall. Some "blame" has to go to Brian Thomas for making a good play on a toss-up rebound.

by troycapitated p... :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 12:27am

Upon rewatching, I think he just missed the throw. Nothing but empty space outside and deep, so I can't imagine he meant wanted it to be shallow and in. Sort of the reverse of the pass to Miller which was lead too far.

(Incidentally, although there was a high likelihood that the ball hit the ground, the camera angle didn't seem to show that conclusively. Yes, the ball moved, but I thought the standard was indisputable evidence that it touched the ground, not reasonable doubt?)

I had forgotten that he had time to stop, set his feet and really get behind the throw. Just a bad throw. It's certainly one he could make.

On the first pick, although it was too hard, if it's Ward there on the screen, I bet he holds on.

by imafreak (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:40pm

I completely agree.

Roethlisberger played poorly. However, when he chose to run he was usually good. He convereted 3rd downs and scored a TD.

There is no need to muddy the waters by including 11 'attempts' in the stats where Roethlisberger's intention was not to run. Mindlessly repeating the rushing attempts without regard to the details in not illuminating nor is it necessary to support that case that Roethlisberger did not play particularly well.

by stop the italicky (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 5:05am

just trying to close the em tag here . . .

by Nathan :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:23am

The criticism of Cutler is bullshit. Anyone could see he was throwing off his back foot even more than normal cause his left knee was injured. He was throwing ducks all through the second quarter. Kreutz said he could see Cutler's knee wiggling around when he walked on it. I bet you anything it's an MCL. People are going to talk about Rivers toughing it out. Well guess what? Diabetics can't get cortisone shots. Google it.

It's really bad form to question an injury. This is a guy who's been sacked 100+ times the last 2 years and has missed one game due to a concussion.

by Illmatic74 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:39am

Also on the Rivers point people forget he missed the second half of the Titans game before toughing it out in the game against the Patriots. And another thing remember when Brady got injured a few seasons ago? He was able to stand and walk right after the injury.

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:56pm

...and ESPN is reporting that Cutler tore his MCL.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:27pm

It was the game against the Colts that he missed part of, but the point still holds. It is amazing how many media members just overlook that fact. Rivers left that game, and was in good enough shape to jaw with Colts fans after it was over, despite his injury.

The main problem was that the Bears were losing when he left. I mean, Tom Brady once left an AFC Title Game in the first half. The other difference with that game is that it was clear where he sustained the injury, but it wasn't even as bad as a torn MCL in retrospect. Also, it helped that Brady and Rivers' backups helped win their games, while Hanie's comeback fell short.

by M :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:01pm

This is the single best comment I've heard about Cutler's injury. I figured there was might be a diabetes-related complication to him getting some painkillers and "toughing it out". This might explain why Urlacher was so adamant about defending him publicly. Granted, Cutler can be a d-bag, but I haven't heard anything about him yet that makes him a worse teammate than Ben Roethlisberger. The difference is that Ben is bigger, stronger, and does not have the handicap of a chronic life-altering disease. From what I've read, they are both assholes to the media and teammates (and women in bars??), but Ben's got those two rings and now he's playing nice with the media in order to rehab his image.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have also been referred to as assholes, yet they've both been deified because of their exploits.

Cutler is an ass and often makes stupid decisions on a football field, but don't question his toughness.

by Eddo :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:04pm

Chicago fans are the worst. And I say that as a season ticket holder.

by TomC :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 7:53pm

I assume you don't mean the worst in general, only the worst in that particular sense (calling a guy a pussy 'cause he allowed the doctors to make him sit down with a torn MCL). If so, I totally agree (as a Chicago fan).

by Eddo :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 8:27pm

Yes, I should have been more clear. "Bear football" and "Bear weather" make me cringe. So many meatheads out there, it's sad.

by djanyreason :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:25am

It wouldn't be an audibles column without some gratuitous Roethlisberger bashing from Bill Barnwell...

by djanyreason :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:35am

In fact, let me extend those remarks.

Bill said "He scrambled for a touchdown ... and averaged fewer than two yards a carry on 11 attempts."

4 of those carries were kneel downs for a total of -7 yards. Take those out and you're at 7 carries for 26 yards and a TD.

Two of those were botched snaps for -1 yard a piece, neither of which resulted in a turnover. Botching the snap is bad on Ben, but in part forgivable as he is working with a backup center (and replays on the 2nd show Legursky is more at fault). If you ignore those two "runs", he's at 5 carries for 28 yards and a TD.

Of those 5 carries, 3 came on 3rd down, including a 3rd-and-13. He converted all three. One was on 1st-and-goal from the 2, and he scored a TD. The last was on 1st-and-10, in which he got 4 yards. All five were successes by FO's metrics.

Ben wasn't sharp throwing the ball yesterday. However, to suggest he wasn't good when he ran is just idiotic.

by Geo B :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:51am


Yes let's bust on Roethlisberger's gross numbers instead of analyzing them. I'm think he's looking much better in DYAR thanks to the many conversions of 3rd and X. Yes his QB rating sucks, but Sanchez's number is great - since QB rating doesn't reflect his fumble-six. The second pick was the only one I'd like to see him get back. I'll take those last two passes for the WIN thanks!

Steeler fan trapped in Houston!
Six Time SB Champs! ;-)

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:58am

Roethlisberger did not play well, but to say he played "awful" is a stretch. The first pick was not his fault. It was a bad pass, but it was a weird deflection, quite like the pick Peyton threw in the 2007 Divisional to stonehands Kenton Keith. The second was a bad throw, but it did net the Steelers about 30 yards of field position (doesn't excuse the bad pass, but it wasn't exactly Aaron Rodgers throwing a pick in a goal-to-go situation). He ran well (good takedown of the runs by the guy above). He didn't need to do much because the team ran so well.

It wasn't an amazing performance, and should again show why quarterbacks don't "win" games, teams do, but it wasn't an alltogether awful performance. It was NOT Super Bowl XL, where Roethlisberger was just pathetic.

by matt w (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:25pm

Well, technically neither fumble resulted in a turnover, but one did result in a safety. (Also FO doesn't give credits for fumble recoveries, though I think botched snaps are the most likely to be recovered? Not sure.) OTOH, if you're looking at results, the interception by Thomas was basically the same as an incompletion, though it had the potential to get ugly.

by dmb :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:39pm

My understanding is that fumbles are grouped into a few categories -- botched snaps being one of them -- and are penalized by the defensive recovery rate for each type, regardless of who recovered it on the play in question.

by Marcumzilla :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:28am

Did anyone else see Mendenhall hump Roethlesberger after the first kneel at the end of the game?

by dbostedo :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:35am

Yes!! Between that and the shot of (I think) Sanchez picking his nose and wiping on the guy standing next to him, it was the funniest game I've seen in a while.

by TreeRol (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:24pm

I thought I was the only one! I even rewound it to make sure I wasn't seeing things.

by armchair journe... :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:15pm

I was charitably assuming he thought there was another fumbled snap and was just...uh...helping Ben cover it up.

by Yesimadolphinsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:54pm

Friend at my house watching the game: "See, Ben!? That's what it feels like!"

by BJR :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:33am

Whilst Roethlisberger should not be lionized for his efforts yesterday, I think it's palpably false to describe his performance as "awful", particularly whilst citing his raw yardage total. Why would he attempt more passes whilst Mendenhall was running wild in the first half? His only really bad error was his second interception, and he picked up a couple of absolutely key first downs whilst scrambling which can't just be ignored. And of course the icing first down at the end which was a real trademark play.

I understand it can be very tedious listening to announcers lauding QBs when they haven't done anything special, but there is a middle ground between that and being awful. Just being ok and playing well enough to allow your side to win, which is pretty much what Roethlisberger did last night.

by 'nonymous (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:34am

This is a response to a phrase seen in half a dozen articles, not here: The Steelers sixth super bowl win was not "unprecedented," and the Steelers are not going for an "unprecedented" seventh super bowl win.

I'm a Steelers fan. It's cool that they have one more Lombardi trophy than the Cowboys or 49ers, and I'm cheering for them to add a seventh. But their sixth super bowl win was preceded by their fifth. Whichever franchise gets to seven super bowls will have to precede that accomplishment by first winning a sixth super bowl.

Thanks-- I just needed to say that somewhere.

by dbostedo :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:39am

But I think you're mistaking what they mean. A seventh super bowl win would be unprecedented because no one has ever done it before. To look at it another way, a fourth super bowl win for the Packers would have been preceded by the Steelers, Cowboys, and 49ers winning four.

Unprecedented (from Dictionary.com) : without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled:

So since there is no previous instance of a team winning seven, it is unprecedented.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:13pm

The more important point is that having the most Super Bowl wins is not the same thing as having the most championships. I don't care who has the most championships since 1967. It's like we're throwing out the entire history of the league before that by obsessing over Super Bowl wins.

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:59pm

Well, the league doubled in size when the Super Bowl era started.

So yeah, let's ignore everything before the Super Bowl. Get with the program! :)

by Botswana Meat Commission FC (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:14pm

As an Eagles fan, I heartily approve of counting NFL Championships since we DO have three in the trophy case.

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 6:39pm

At least you've *been* to a Super Bowl.

\Lions fan.

by 'nonymous (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:13pm

Yeah, I know what they mean. And you're right, it is acceptable to read it as "first team to achieve this total." But I think it's not a good way to say it; it seems to be a mindlessly repeated phrase. (Wouldn't it be silly to talk about the Packers' unprecedented first and second super bowl wins, rather than just saying they won the first two super bowls?)

Despite the narrow legitimacy of calling it "unprecedented," I still choose to rant about it. You're welcome to your own pet peeves, of course; but if you happen to collect them, you're welcome to add this one. I fear the phrase will be overused the next two weeks.

It is a nice trivia question, though-- which teams were the first to reach 3, 4, and 5 super bowl wins? I'm not certain of them all without looking it up.

by Podge (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:20pm

At a wild guess, I'd go:

1: Packers
2: Packers
3: Steelers
4: Steelers
5: 49ers
6: Steelers

I fear I would be drastically wrong. Bearing in mind my entire knowledge of Superbowls (and basically anything to do with any season) is episodes of America's Game I'm fairly certain that I am.

I did have it originally guessed as 3: Raiders and 4: Cowboys, but I suspect the Steelers beat them both there.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:23pm

Would the answer to all 3 be the Steelers?

by MCS :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:30pm

Rather than focus on the last 44 years, why not call it NFL Championships and look at the history of the league?

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:34pm

But you ignore such a great marketing gimmick by doing that!

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:28pm

Yes, the Steelers were the first to win three, and the first to win four, and the 49ers were the first to win five. Five within 15 years for the 49ers is remarkably concentrated success, but having Young as the successor to Montana explains a lot.

by dmb :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:34pm

That is correct. The Raiders' second and third came in the early '80s (1980, vs. the Eagles, and 1983, vs. the Redskins); the Steelers had their first four in the '70s. The Cowboys' fourth was in 1993.

by Independent George :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:49pm

Who are the first teams to lose 2, 3, and 4 Super Bowls?

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:56pm

Minnesota. SB 4, 8, 9 & 11.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:08pm

Hey, I'm just starting to get over my childhood PTSD! Thanks a lot! I think I also need to research whether the Vikings are now the first team to lose five consecutive conference championship games, which they managed to accomplish with last year's fiasco, when they fumbled away a game which they otherwise dominated. Two of those five losses were in OT, and one came when a game tying td was dropped at the goal line in the closing minute. No, I'm not bitter. Not me.

by Independent George :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:43pm

Sorry, Will. When I typed it, I actually thought Dallas had lost 2 before the Vikings.

by Jay Z (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:54pm

Vikings aren't the first to lose 5 consecutive conference championships. Raiders lost 6 in a row, if you count AFL, 68-69-70-73-74-75. Giants also lost 5 consecutive NFL championship games, 58-59-61-62-63.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 3:04am

Then I shouldn't mention that the Vikings also broke a pretty impressive strak of being the first team to lose thier second SB appearance? (GB, KC, BAL, DAL and MIA all won their second one).

On the bright side, technically the Vikings won the last non-SB NFL championship... which come to think of it means that technically neither the Jets nor Chiefs have ever won an NFL championship...

- Alvaro

by Southern Philly :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:55pm

Vikings, Vikings and Vikings.

by Wild Card Hater (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:13pm

1. Chiefs, I
2. Vikings, VIII
3. Vikings, IX
4. Vikings, XI

by dbostedo :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 12:38am

"...it is acceptable to read it as "first team to achieve this total." But I think it's not a good way to say it"

It's not just acceptable, it's the only way to read it. I think the key is putting the number in there. They aren't saying that, for instance, "the Steelers are going for an unprecedented Super Bowl victory". That would be unclear/awkward. It's that they're going for an unprecedented 7th Super Bowl victory - that changes the meaning entirely. It shows some amount of amazement, uniqueness, significance, or surprise that they are on SEVEN. So the fact that there's history involved plays into it too.

That's why using it for Super Bowl I or II would be odd. Because it wouldn't seem significant that it was unprecedented, because no matter what teams were in Super Bowl I, it was unprecedented. There's no background behind it.

by Podge (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:16pm

I think "unpreceded" is the word that means how you're defining "unprecedented". I also think that isn't a word, but we shouldn't let minor things like that stop us.

I get your point, but as the other guy said, the thing that is without precedent is a single team winning 7 Super Bowls, not that team winning a Super Bowl.

by EasyLikeSundayMorning (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 6:39pm

To quote the movie The Princess Bride: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

by 21 Cards (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:41am

"Diabetics can't get cortisone shots. Google it."

This is incorrect

I agree though, no reason to think that Cutler was able to play with his injury.

by Nathan :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:46am

Maybe "can't" is too strong but Cortisone definitely raises glucose levels in diabetics.

by Yesimadolphinsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:02pm

Correct. I'm guessing the doctor weighs the pros and cons of the shot, and if the benefits outweigh the consequences of elevated blood sugar, they'd give it. i.e. some life threatening deal that cortizone could help with.

I can also tell you from experience that trying to play any sport with high blood sugar is just short of an impossibility. You are incredibly exhasuted, lethargic, and un-coordinated, to the point of failing in even the easiest physical tasks.

Even if they were to give him that shot, if his sugar went high, he wouldn't be able to do much of anything on the field anyway. The difference really is night and day.

by Boots Day :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:43am

In all probability, Cutler was significantly injured, but everything about it looked bad:

* He appeared to make no attempt to ice or otherwise treat his knee.
* He appeared to make no attempt to coach or otherwise encourage either Collins or Hanie.
* He looked slightly bored with the entire proceedings.
* According to Fox, Cutler didn't even know what play he'd gotten hurt on.

All in all, he made it very hard to give him the benefit of the doubt.

by Illmatic74 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:54am

It seems like people are mad that Cutler didn't put on a show. Maybe ice would not have helped. And it probably isn't that he is bored or disinterested that really is his constant facial expression Eli Manning is the same way.

by parkgrades (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:41pm

Football fans want better acting out of their football stars. Except TO and OchoCinco.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:10pm

Yeah, leave the guy alone. It's obvious he didn't leave the game cause he was getting bored with it. He was either benched or he couldn't go.

by Podge (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:11pm

That's kind of Cutler in a nutshell. A guy that you can find excuses for, but he doesn't really make you want to bother looking for them.

I don't think not knowing which play he got hurt on is an issue though, as there's quite a lot of stories (although unhelpfully I can't think of any right now) of players playing through an injury and only realising they were hurt once the adrenaline of performing has worn off. Or on the next play when they don't really they are hurt and further injure the injury.

I read "bored" as "pissed off" though, but it was tough to say whether he was pissed off at himself, the coaches or being injured.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 3:56am

One of the Broncos' string of no-names at running back in the wake of T.D. played almost a whole game on a (partially, I think) torn MCL. I have a feeling it was Olandis Gary, but it could have been anyone, really. I also don't know how they were able to retroactively determine when the injury took place, but the way I remember it was that he said it didn't particularly hurt until the game was over. Which jibes with what I've been hearing since Sunday, which is that in the case of an MCL sprain, the best thing to do is to keep it moving so that the blood doesn't collect in the knee and stiffen it up. Going into halftime soon after the injury probably contributed to Cutler not being able to play effectively.

I feel that the lack of A) detail about the anectote and B) surety about the point I'm making lends this post a distinctly useful flavor. Gah.

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:06pm

And now that it turns out that Cutler had a torn MCL, do you re-evaluate your thinking?

*icing a torn MCL is silly
*bored? that's not what I saw. I saw somebody deeply depressed.
*and your point is...?

I think the lesson here to learn is that the vast majority of people are incapable of reading emotional expressions properly. People were mad at Cutler because he was withdrawn and depressed. People confuse the feeling of powerlessness with a feeling of indifference. It would never have occurred to me that Jay Cutler didn't care whether the Bears made the Super Bowl or not. Not having seen his scream-fests with Philip Rivers in years past.
People like it when a player runs around the sideline yelling at people. But really, running around the sideline yelling at people wouldn't have helped the Bears win yesterday.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:17pm

The whole body language thing with Cutler, like the facial expression thing with Eli Manning is dumb. Yes, I think leadership is a real skill or talent, and I am willing to entertain the notion that Cutler is on the left side of the curve in that regard, relative to other NFL qbs. You can't discern that from sideline shots of the guy on T.V., however.

by Independent George :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:58pm

Now that we know he has a torn MCL, does this now mean that he gets even more credit for toughness? I mean, dude tore a ligament, and wasn't even phased. I mean, he looked bored by it! Right? Right?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:03pm

Nah, it's just proof that his drug habit has gone undiscovered.

by Botswana Meat Commission FC (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:18pm

Right. Here in Atlanta the morning radio show idiots were going on and on about the "perception" of Cutler blah blah blah.

Yes, we can analyze the situation in the most shallow way possible like all the stupid people or we can examine the situation rationally. Stupidity seems to be winning so far...

by Boots Day :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:53pm

I guess you missed the part where I said Cutler was probably badly injured. My point is that it was very easy for fans to see him on the sideline and assume the worst.

Most of that is just optics, but I do think it would have helped if he had spent more time talking with his replacements about the Packers' defense and how to attack it.

by RowdyRoddyPiper :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 6:30pm

To be honest, it didn't look like Cutler had much of an idea inre: attacking the Packers Defense. I know people want him in there coaching, encouraging, whatever his teammates, but in some situations too many cooks spoil the broth. If Martz or Smith wanted him to give his input I think they would have asked for it.

by 3.14159265 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 12:54am

Cutler did not look very good when he did play, maybe due to the injury, maybe due to having a bad day. If I was Smith or Martz I would have told the medicos to take him back to the locker room.

by tuluse :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 3:14am

* He appeared to make no attempt to coach or otherwise encourage either Collins or Hanie.

Caleb Hanie has directly disputed this.

So in short this whole episode is stupid.

by Chris775 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:53am

To be fair Ben's rushing included 4 kneel downs for -7 yards. He clearly didn't have a particularly good game, including missing two open guys for touchdowns, but he was definitely productive rushing the ball - 7 runs for 28 yards, more than half the carries either for a TD or producing a 1st down on 3rd down. Generally, his mobility was key in extending plays in a game where the Steelers wideouts were just not very effective in creating separation.

by Kurt :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:56am


by 21 Cards (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:01pm

"Maybe "can't" is too strong but Cortisone definitely raises glucose levels in diabetics."

Cortisone raises glucose levels in everyone, not just diabetics. Type I diabetics (like Jay Cutler) have the advantage of being able to adjust their insulin levels to meet the body's increased demand. The rest of us have to rely on our bodies to manage this organically.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:44pm

Type I diabetics (like Jay Cutler) have the advantage of being able to adjust their insulin levels to meet the body's increased demand. The rest of us have to rely on our bodies to manage this organically.????

And there's me using my pancreas like a sucker. A life long illness that requires constant monitoring and daily injections along with chronic health problems later in life, some advantage.

by jfsh :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:57pm

Well, maybe it's a life-long illness with many disadvantages and one tiny, situation-specific advantage? Like being able to beat someone with your artificial leg, or turning into the Hulk when you're angry.

by David :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 7:49pm

Based on the sheer hateful stupidity of the above statement, there is no way that this site can implement 'ignore' functionality too soon

With enforced registration, also

by David :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 7:50pm

double post

by Robo Pope (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:12pm

He scrambled for a touchdown ... and averaged fewer than two yards a carry on 11 attempts.

Those include four kneeldowns for -7 yards, and two aborted snaps for 0. Roethlisberger had, realistically, 5 carries for 28 yards:
A 12-yard first down on 3rd and 12 just outside the red zone
A 2-yard touchdown, where it's a bit difficult to chide him for not getting more yards
A 4-yard run on 1st and 10
A 5-yard first down on 3rd and 4
A 5-yard first down on 3rd and 3

I think Roethlisberger had a better rushing day than you think.

by bobt (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:27pm

I don't think Barnwell is looking to be particularly unbiased on the point. I get the impression he's probably seeing all the Ben = Tom Brady comparisons if BR wins his 3rd and isn't super happy about it.

I think the comparisons are apt in spirit if not numbers. There are few players I believe in "clutchness" about, but BR just doesn't seem to mess up in those game ending situations (and his sample size is pretty damn large) compared to other good QBs, whether it's going down for a TD or getting a first down.

by zerlesen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:11pm

"I don't think Barnwell is looking to be particularly unbiased on the point. I get the impression he's probably seeing all the Ben = Tom Brady comparisons if BR wins his 3rd and isn't super happy about it."

Why should Barnwell be unhappy about Brady-Ben comparisons? Surely he should be more concerned with talking up Eli Manning's epic intangibles.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:32pm

That would be Bill "NY Giants Fan" Barnwell you're talking about?

by Independent George :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:15pm

Anybody else notice James Starks running out of bounds and stopping the clock with under 4 minutes to play? I was screaming at the television. My dog didn't appreciate that.

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:08pm

Yeah, we noticed it at the time during the discussion thread. Not having a dog in the fight, I thought it was hilarious. The Packers' fans were not amused.

by MCS :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:16pm

Not amused. Not amused at all.

by ammek :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:59pm

I was screaming at the playcall, too: the dreaded outside zone, which the Packers have failed to execute all season long (actually, for the last five seasons) despite running it half-a-dozen times a game. The likeliest outcomes were a) lose yardage when defender gets into the backfield, and b) get forced out of bounds. For the first couple of games that Starks played, he had success between the tackles so we saw a little less of this awful play, but the last two weeks it's been back again with a vengeance. At least we now know that Starks can't make any more out of it than Brandon Jackson or Ryan Grant.

by snik75 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 10:26pm

I was yelling. Felt like the worst possible play. Your running game has been pretty terrible, especially when the Bears expect it; that play never works for more than a yard or two; and the only reason you are running is to spend down more time. DON'T go out of bounds!

The Packers definitely could a little coaching on understanding the moment. Stay in bounds while wasting the clock. Don't wave the ball around until you are in the end zone. And for goodness sake, when you make the game-winning interception, GET DOWN.

by MJK :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 10:58pm

Yeah, as someone who wasn't powerfully rooting for either team, I couldn't decide which was funnier/more depressing...the run out of bounds when you're trying to kill the clock, or trying to run-back a game-clinching interception and risking a fumble (on 4th down, nonetheless, if I recall correctly).

by MJK :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:32pm

So once again, Roethlisberger plays like crap and gets canonized by the media. I just don't get it. Can common announcers not see horrible QB play with their own eyes? (Full disclosure...I only saw the second half of the game. Maybe Roethlisberger looked like a world-beater in the first half to go to the 24-3 lead).

I just don't understand Mark Sanchez. Sometimes, he seems to be an excellent QB...making good reads even when under pressure, throwing accurate balls both short and long, and leading the team. Sometimes, his decision making is sound but his throws are horrible (i.e. the Colts game). Maybe that is due to injuries? And sometimes, he makes the most harebrained and boneheaded decisions possible.

He's like a union of Jay Cutler and Eli Manning, both their good and bad features.

by biebs (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:11pm

I think Mark Sanchez is developing like a "stereotypical" young QB develops. The last few years, we've seen QBs star right away, we've seen QBs star after 2 seasons, and then bench for 2 or 3 years and then they either make it or they don't.

Because he started from day one, he was pretty terrible. He was backed by a fantastic defense his rookie season, so his bad play wasn't as much of an issue as it would have been for a team that was more mediocre on defense.

This season he was very up and down, some great games, some terrible games. That seems to be the norm for young QBs. His stats seem very similar to Eli Manning through two seasons. For whatever reason, he has played much more consistently in the playoffs. With 2 bad games out of 6 and no more than 1 INT in any game.

As a Jets fan, I have a lot of hope for him. I think he can be a very good QB, because he's played well for the Jets in playoff games. However, I don't know how much of that is helped by having Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards catching passes that lesser WRs couldn't get to.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:07pm

Sanchez has had 37 starts. There's a pretty good chance that his decision making will be a lot better in his next 37 starts.

by Geo B :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:34pm

Wondered about that myself, replay showed what appeared to be the gold stripe from Farrior's helmet coming off from the helmet to helmet hit. Brutal tackle, surprised they both got up. Some great run stops by the Steeler defense yesterday.

Steeler fan trapped in Houston!
Six Time SB Champs! ;-)

by There is no Santa Claus (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:51pm

Been noticing parts of the team logos peeling and usually flying off helmets (after collisions) the last few weeks. Maybe they used some different process of applying the detail to the helmets recently. I dunno.

by Michigan Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 9:54am

It's the cold that causes the brittleness of the paint. You noticed the same thing in the Patriots-Jets game last week when Branch (I believe) lost the face part of the Flying Elvis after a particularly savage stop.

You can see similar things happen in any non-dome playoff game when the networks use superslowmo on big hits.

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 6:52pm
by Vicious Chicken Of Bristol (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:43pm

Roethlisberger and Rogers had nearly identical games. Low completion percentage, 2 picks (one a deflection, one a bad decision), 1 rushing TD. A little unexpected from two of the game's elite QB's. I'm curious to see how FO stats size up their games.

Roger's goal line INT seems to be the most damaging as it certainly took at least 3 points off the board. Rogers had a slightly better day throwing the ball.

Ben took an extra sack, but did make some very big 3rd down conversions with his feet and his arm.

As strange as it sounds Sanchez had the best day throwing the ball out of all of the QB's that played this weekend.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:49pm

On the Peppers roughing the passer penalty, is there anyone else that thinks it was a bit unlucky? I know his helmet did hit Rodgers in the head but as Peppers started to dip to make the hit he 'aimed' for Rodgers' shoulder and as he got near Rodgers threw the ball causing his shoulder to drop as part of his throwing motion meaning Peppers ended up hitting his helmet instead of his shoulder. Should there be a common sense element to these flags? Peppers tried to hit the QB in the shoulder and it moved out of the way.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:51pm

I had the exact opposite impression. Peppers lowered his head and struck Rogers in the ear-hole using the crown of his helmet. This could be a training-film of what not to do.

Was it malicious? No. Was it a penalty? Yes. Will it result in a fine? I'd be surprised if it's not.

If Peppers keeps his head up, maybe things turn out differently.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:10pm

I don't think it was malicious, but it wasn't unluckly either. I don't have access to a replay reight now but the Bear (not sure who it was) who hit Rodgers in the face with his hand on the same play might have been.

That play looked like the Bears trying to take Rodgers out to me. Peppers with a clear helmet to helmet that was avoidable with better form (actually it looked a lot like the call that Zombo got back in Week 3, they both tackled too high to begin with and didn't keep their heads up, they both lowered their heads) and another player raising his arm so it made first contact with Rodgers head and not his chest, which no one else is talking about so I'm starting to wonder if I imagined it.

It helped fire up the defense though, that's for sure. But it was not even close to a questionable call or unlucky penalty.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:36pm

It was nothing like the Zombo hit. Zombo approached Cutler from in front of him and drove the top of his helmet up into Cutler's chin. Peppers was coming from Rodgers' backside and seemed to be aiming to hit his shoulder before the Rodgers' throwing motion caused his shoulder to dip exposing his helmet. I can understand why the flag was thrown, he did clearly hit him in the head. I don't think it was intended at all though and if Rodgers hadn't dipped his shoulder to throw I don't think the hit would have ended up on his head. It is a bit like when a receiver lowers his head and the defender ends up hitting him high; sometimes there isn't a lot you can do to avoid the helmet to helmet hit as humans have limited reaction times.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:43pm

The angles were a bit different (Peppers was still a bit in front of Rodgers though), but Zombo didn't raise his head, he was raising his whole body as he he was wrapping Cutler. He he hit him lower (like he should have) it would have been a driving hit, like you are taught. Wrap up, with your shoulder in the chest / gut, drive with the legs, lifting the opponent off the ground, and then you fall to the ground, with you on top. It's how you try and break the forward momentum.

It wasn't just his helmet that was rising, his entire body was moving upward. Zombo hit too high and wasn't wrapped up tightly enough because he started the leg drive before he was fully wrapped. It was not a solid tackle, it could have been avoided with better technique. Peppers also hit too high. They were both rising on the hits. They really weren't that different. Peppers would not have hit helmet to helmet with better technique. Admittedly proper technique in the heat of a game with the angles that you end up at because that is what you had to have to beat the pass protection is easier said than done.

Zombo was only fined $7,500, which is pretty damn small for a helmet to helmet this year, which indicates the NFL didn't think it was that egregious (Collins got $50,000 in the same game). I expect Peppers to be fined in the $5,000 to $10,000 range as well.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:42pm

Peppers' head does have to remain attached to his shoulders, even when he hits folk.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:59pm

I think that lowering your helmet while tackling doesn't result in enough penalties. If a guy's eyes are pointed at the ground when he is making contact, the flag needs to be thrown, and if the frequency of head injuries are going to be lowered, guys need to start using different tackling techniques.

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 6:56pm

Running backs are the worst offenders on the lowering the helmet front. Tacklers usually do it only after the ball-carrier ducks his head. Spearing is neither an offensive nor defensive penalty, and it's high-time some offense players start getting called for it, too.

by RickD :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:10pm

It was a classic helmet-to-helmet hit. If Peppers was aiming for the torso, he didn't aim very well. You've got to throw that flag.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:39pm

Unlucky? Only that for once the refs actually did call a penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit to Rodgers.

by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:53pm

That was a textbook example, but Rodgers has taken multiple hits like that the past 3 seasons with few flags.

Given the nature of the game I was surprised.

Even with the various pass defense flags thrown both sides were still mauling receivers. The Bears clearly decided to throw caution to the wind in the fourth quarter daring the refs to throw a flag on every down knowing that the alternative was seeing the Packer receivers romp through the secondary. Once the Packers noticed it was Katy bar the door on beating the bejeezus out of a receiver.

by tuluse :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:18pm

Unlucky that he hit Rodger's head, not unlucky that he drew a flag.

by Bill N (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:09pm

Perhaps a statistical fluke, but I cannot recall seeing two interceptions of less consequence than those two by Roethlisberger. The first left the Steelers no worse than an incomplete pass, maybe a couple yards better. The second was equivalent to a middling punt. Although I usually look it up (or calculate it), maybe passer rating isn't as useful for individual games.

by djanyreason :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:31pm

The punterception came on 2nd down, so it did have a negative effect.

by 'nonymous (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:02pm

Yes. Additionally, I thought it could have been a TD or first and goal, if the ball had been better placed. (But then, Simms said it would have been intercepted no matter where it was thrown, so what do I know.)

by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:47pm

Cullen Jenkins was outstanding for what seemed like 3 quarters and seemed to disappear late. Tired? His injury acting up? Because for a while he was just trashing the Bears linemen in front of him.

Bears were fortunate on no flag when they were backed up near their goal line. Rajii was clearly being held in the end zone on the one pass attempt. He had bull rushed Kruentz (I believe) back toward Cutler and Olin had no choice but to wrap him up. BJ was playing on fire all day but that has been pretty typical for him this season.

I completely agree that Rodgers must have had a head injury given that on a critical third down late he chose to throw a pass to Andrew Quarles. If that isn't a sign of a damaged brain then I don't know what is.

by DEW (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:48pm

On Cutler, does anyone else think we're still hearing last year's narrative and unable to get it out of our heads? Because until the flare-up with McDaniels, we never heard anything bad about Cutler out of the media at all. Then the self-appointed genius runs him out of town, and all of a sudden he's a "whiner" and "immature" and so on and so on. Despite the fact that McDaniels' personnel judgment has now been repeatedly proven to be near-worthless, everything we were told last offseason about Cutler is still assumed to be true by the media and the fans.

Bad leader? Maybe. Lousy at PR? Definitely. Elite QB? Nope. But the idea that he somehow lacks "toughness" to the point that he can tear an MCL and everybody blames him for not going back out and playing is ludicrous.

Best bit from the stay-at-homes Twittering had to be Raheem Brock, though. 'Cause if Cutler has a shameless lack of man parts, then what does that make the guy whose defense was stomped on by said shameless man-part-lacking offense last week? Honorable mention to MJD, the guy who decided his team's chance to get to the playoffs wasn't important enough for HIM to "tough it up."

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 1:52pm

This is really true. I think he got unfairly lumped in with Phil Rivers and then his reaction to McDaniels' trying to bring in Cassel (which in retrospect was quite idiotic) finished it for him.

When he and Rivers had their little spat back in 2007 (2008?) it was Rivers that took the blunt of the blame and backlash (he was hte one on the field jawing at Cutler, on the sideline). He got lumped in with Rivers. It wasn't until the McDaniels drama and his interception party in 2009 that his reputation really turned.

by Illmatic74 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:02pm

Here is an excerpt from a press confrence with Jay Cutler lifted from the Rick Reily article.
Reporter (after a game): What happened on that first interception, Jay?
Cutler: I threw the ball.
Reporter: Right, but what did you see developing there? Take us through it.
Cutler (archly): It seemed like a good place to throw the ball.
Then there was this
Reporter: When you were a kid, which quarterback did you look up to?
Cutler: Nobody.
Reporter: Nobody? You didn't look up to anybody?
Cutler: No.
This is why the media hates him he gives them nothing. He doesn't play the game they want him to play so they can write their stories.

by perly :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 2:39pm

I'm not a huge Cutler fan, but that first part of the interview makes me like him so much more.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:07pm

Cutler's interviews are normally pretty funny. He really doesn't seem to care at al what people write about him (I know every player says this - unless they play for Rex Ryan - but Cutler seems to be the epitome of this). Sometimes he actually tries to answer the questions but in a manner that the interviewer isn't expecting. There was a fantastic bit on the NFL Network a couple of months ago which I shall paraphrase (probably badly):

Interviewer: What are the Bears doing differently since the bye week to be more successful?
Cutler: We changed up our protections, some of our hot reads, the depth of our drops, mixed up our runs and play passes.
Interviewer: What have you changed on offense over this period?
Cutler: The things I just told you.

At which point the interviewer looked completely lost as Cutler had just answered most of the rest of his pre-prepared questions in his first go and didn't seem to want to start repeating himself. He is a terrible interview because you never know whether he is not going to play at all or if he is going to answer the questions too concisely and leave three minutes left in a scheduled five minute interview with nothing to fill it.

by Purds :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:14pm

In the case you describe, I would love a player to say that. The only bad part of an interview like you describe is having an interviewer not prepared for actual discussion. In that case, he's very forthcoming, and the interviewer should be prepared with an actual follow up by listening, not expecting to ask some scripted second question.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:22pm

I don't listen to player interviews because they are largely pointless, but it is stuff like this, and other stuff I've heard about him from credible sources, that makes me conclude that Cutler is, in some important respects that would not show up on a standard I.Q. test, kind of stupid. Look, being in the NFL is being in the business of selling irrational warm and fuzzy feelings; there ain't any rational reason why anyone should care about which team wins a game, even if one finds the contests intellectually fascinationg to observe. If you are in such a business, then you do what promotes the business, if you have any brains about interacting with human beings.

This stuff makes daily business life for one's teammates a pain in the ass as well, in that they end up having to answer a bunch of tiresome questions about you. It really is oftentimes much smarter, when working in a high-profile business where public relations plays a huge role, to just swallow hard, and play the public relations game in an efficient manner. Yeah, you can be a great player and be an A-hole, but it doesn't mean you have to be a dumb A-hole.

by Illmatic74 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:32pm

I don't think it is an intelligence thing I just don't think he cares about promoting the business.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:37pm

Not caring about something that you spend most of your time involved with is a form of stupidity, I'd argue, but perhaps we are entering a battle over semantics. Presumably, however, Cutler cares enough to have his agent negotiate hard over things like endorsement compensation; if he cares enough to do that, it doesn't take any more energy, just a little discipline, to play the game that lies at the heart of your business.

by Independent George :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 4:00pm

He wouldn't be the first person who put most of his effort into his primary area of responsibility, then ignored the secondary stuff to his detriment. You see it all the time in IT, where you have brilliant coders who slack off on all the stupid HR stuff, then watch as dingbats with better people skills get promoted ahead of them. It's not completely fair from a strict meritocratic standpoint, but neither is it truly unfair (as those people skills actually are important).

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 4:07pm

Yeah, when you get a guy who really does have a clear view of the big picture of the business he is operating within, and thus maximizes his effectiveness in that business, in all phases, THAT guy is extraordinarily valuable. For all I know, Peyton Manning is the biggest prick in the history of the universe, when he is loafing around the house on a Saturday afternoon in March. However, Archie's son has likely known what business the NFL is in since he was 10, and handles it accordingly.

by Dales :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 6:23am

It's not completely fair from a strict meritocratic standpoint, but neither is it truly unfair

True, and yet another example of why HR departments are part of the problem rather than part of the solution for most companies.

by Sophandros :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 4:30pm

I've read comments from football fans on other sites who happen to have backgrounds in mental health, and they think that Cutler exhibits some Asperger's Syndrome traits.

Might explain his social awkwardness...

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by tuluse :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 4:45pm

Anything is possible, however it looks to me like he just doesn't care what the media writes about him. I think it's a conscious decision. Personally, I respect that, but people can think whatever they want.

None of his Bears teammates have ever made a bad remark about him, and I've heard a lot of good things from his Vanderbilt days too.

I have heard some bad stuff about his Denver time, but maybe he just really didn't like it there, and McDaniels coming was his ticket out.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 4:21am

Generally, (to my recollection) the bad stories about Cutler as a teammate in Denver started once the trade rumors started swirling. The storyline on him here in Denver seemed pretty similar to what you could have read on ESPN last week about the perception of him in Chicago. He's kind of aloof, his body language doesn't always seem to portray him as engaged (what used to be called slouching, before every football analyst became some sort of visual tele-psychologist) he was kind of a dick to the media, a little too frat-boy for his own good, but really, his teammates liked him and he had tons of potential.
There was a weekend story in the Denver Post, (which I am inclined to dismiss as nonsense, since it's been two years since the purported events, and I don't think anyone in the Broncos' organization is capable of keeping their mouths shut this long) that Cutler demanded a trade the day it was announced that McDaniels was taking over, and that it was this demand that led to the proposed trade for Cassel. Local sports talk has been afire with "well, was McDaniels right about Cutler ALL ALONG?!?!?" When clearly the lesson to take from this story, in the unlikely event that there's any truth to it, is that Cutler was the only one in the organization who was right about McDaniels.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 11:18am

I think it likely that the entire Cutler/McDaniels relationship was good example of two guys both doing things which were very counter-productive, if what has been alleged is true. I have no problem believing Cutler's allegation that McDaniels lied to Cutler, and lying to a guy who you are paying millions to is extremely dumb. I also tend to believe that the allegation that Cutler would not extend to Bowlen the courtesy of returing his phone call is true, and not extending that courtesy to someone who is paying you large sums of money is really dumb.

The most troubling rumor I've heard about Cutler's time in Denver, which I don't have any feel for the truth of, is that Cutler was boozing a lot, despite his knowledge of his diabetes. If the Broncos investigated that, and found it to be true, it was pretty reasonable that they would be reluctant to commmit another large sum of money to him. I really don't have any idea whether there is any truth to that, however.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 11:38am

There's no debate that he was going out drinking after the diagnosis. Reports are that he was drinking pretty heavily many of the times he was seen out. Of course, the pictures of him don't really tell the tale, as he looks a bit drunk all the time. It would make a lot of sense for the Broncos to look at his behavior as a red flag, and something which was at least as likely to get worse as to improve. I'm not at all trying to say that Cutler was blameless in the situation, as I said elsewhere, I think he's a bit of a dick. However, I've never believed the "Cutler won't return Bowlen's calls" story. As irrationally as he can behave sometimes, that just seems beyond the pale, and the only people I've ever heard say it had a vested interest in Cutler coming off as the bad guy in the situation.

by Aaron Brook's Good Twin (not verified) :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 2:59am

Pat Bowlen has gone senile, and has admitted as much. Cutler called him three times; Bowlen's office had records of such, and Pat simply forgot.

by DaveRichters :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 11:02pm

and lying to a guy who you are paying millions to is extremely dumb.

Surely you don't mean this as a general rule. Everyone lies, to anybody, when the alternative is intolerable.

the courtesy of returing his phone call is true, and not extending that courtesy to someone who is paying you large sums of money is really dumb.

Maybe he doesn't value money as highly as you do. I hate money and if Cutler doesn't kowtow to his employer it makes me like him more. You keep calling him dumb, but I think judging someone's intellect with only superficial information is dumb.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 3:36am

Do you have any idea how immature it is to call simple civility "kowtowing"? Here's a clue; every person you have business dealings with, be they an employer, employee, customer, or vendor, should be treated with a great deal of respect and civility, for the simple reason that it increases the odds that you will get from that person that which you desire.

Yes, as a general rule, lying to someone you value enough to pay millions of dollars to is really dumb, in that the you can't ever be sure whether your lie will go undiscovered, and the discovery of your dishonesty will only harm the very thing you were willing to pay millions for. Are there exceptions to the general rule? Sure, like when you are concealing equally unethical behavior, compared to lying. Assuming you haven't done anything unethical, the knowledge of which would ruin the relationship anyways, lying is stupid. The fact that a lot of people have been stupid in this regard doesn't change anything.

I don't have superficial information about Cutler. I know he is rude to people towards whom it would take no more time or energy to be polite to, and who he is contractually bound to spend time with. That's stupid.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 4:24am

I have to disagree with you here Will.

Every person you have business dealings with should be treated with respect for the simple reason that they are human beings. Period.

I seem to notice that you seem to put making money at the very least very near the top of the priorities someone must have (in this case Cutler). And I think that while that's a valid way to look at life it is by no means the only (and certainly not the best) one either.

In another post you say that it's easy to not want money for money's sake when you already have millions, and while this is very true, I can also assure you that there are many other ways that you can have many priorities above maximizing your earnings potential. In Cutler's case I thnk these are things like not pretending to bes omeone he isn't.

In my case, it was being true to my ideals when, at a time when I was in bad financial shape, I was offered the opportunity to make some money on a weekend by participating in a testimonial promoting a psychic. I was deinitely not in a position where I didn't need the money. And still I didn't even hestitate to turn it down because I value not schilling for something that I know to be a scam (psychics), and let the person offering this to me know exactly why and what I thought of him doing it.

So yeah, for some of us, there are far more important things than moeny, even if they may seem trivial to others.

- Alvaro

by Will Allen :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 11:35am

You seemed to notice something I did not write. In fact, I've specifically acknowledged a couple of times that Cutler may not value additional income at this point, and that was fine. That valuation does not mean his behavior is not dumb, however.

by Eddo :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 11:41am

Implying his behavior is dumb is implying that Cutler should value money more than he does now. Alvaro's simply saying that that's your opinion, not necessarily the right one.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 12:38pm

No, as I've clearly stated a couple of times, his behavior is dumb even if he does not value money more than he now does.

I really do find it puzzling that so many people cannot acknowledge the inherent lack of wisdom in alienating people for no other reason than it being your pleasure to do so.

by tuluse :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 2:15pm

it being your pleasure to do so.

Well that's the key isn't it. If he derives more pleasure from the press conferences he gives than he would from playing along, isn't it his prerogative to act in the manor he does?

by Will Allen :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 2:34pm

Not really, given he signed a contract that obligates him to fufill outlined duties in a manner which serves the interests of the people he contracted with, as defined by those people. Furthermore, a person who thinks he can predict the future so well that he can be confident that alienating people today, simply for the pleasure of it, will be a worthwhile trade-off down the line, truly is a fool.

by tuluse :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 2:36pm

He's required to talk to them. He isn't required to be nice.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 3:11pm

I don't have the explicit language of his contract or the CBA, but inherent in the nature of any employment contract is that the employee has a responsibility execute his contractually defined obligations in a manner that serves the employer's interests, as defined by the employer. Thus, if Cutler were to get even more dumb, and start saying to reporters "Whattaya' want, f***face?", he would promptly be suspended, and he would not be able to say as a defense, "Hey, I'm only contractually obligated to spend time with them!" He isn't quite that dumb, however, and with only somewhat dumb employees, with very hard to find skills, it often is unwise for the employer to push an only somewhat dumb employee, with very hard to find skills, to change every way in which the employee is falling short of meeting his obligations. It's just smarter sometimes to acccept that you are paying a lot of money to an idiot, because his positive attributes outweigh his idiocy. That's how Randy Moss, to cite a more flagrant example, has had a long career.

by DaveRichters :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 7:51pm

Do you have any idea how immature it is to call simple civility "kowtowing"? Here's a clue; every person you have business dealings with, be they an employer, employee, customer, or vendor, should be treated with a great deal of respect and civility, for the simple reason that it increases the odds that you will get from that person that which you desire.

Will, you have metaphorical wax in your metaphorical ears. Behaving in a perverse way at the request of someone who gives you lots of money is not "simple civility". If it is civility at all, it's complex. Thanks for the clue, though! Here's one for you: the vagaries of human behavior are not as you think. Your naive folk theories of behavior should be discarded.

I don't have superficial information about Cutler. I know he is rude to people towards whom it would take no more time or energy to be polite to, and who he is contractually bound to spend time with. That's stupid.

That has nothing to do with "stupid". Rudeness and intelligence are orthogonal.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 9:17am

Yes, how perverse it is to adjust one's words to better accomplish the goals of the person you have voluntarily entered into a contract with, a contract in which you have agreed to talk to certain people. Yes, you are probably right; Cutler has also decided that being like a child is an unmitigated good, and thus he has no responsibility to decline to sign contracts which contain provisions, which require him to perform tasks, which he is unwilling to perform in a manner which serves the interests of the person that Cutler, of his own free will, decided to contract with.

One of the problems of childishness is that it frequently entails a failure to fully honor the commitments one voluntarily entered into. Happy to illuminate these things with you.

by DaveRichters :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 11:12am

One of the problems of childishness is that it frequently entails a failure to fully honor the commitments one voluntarily entered into. Happy to illuminate these things with you.

I guess Cutler thinks he's not obligated to pretend to be something he isn't to make people like him more. The bastard! Why can't he be a good role model and lie to children so they will like him more??

One of the problems of "adultness" is a desire to keep talking about contracts and business dealings and money.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 12:59pm

Here's another clue; people who don't want to talk about the meaning of contracts should not sign them. And yet another clue; when you sign a contract, you are making a statement about what your behavior will be in the future. When the behavior subsequently is different than that statement, you, when you signed the contract, were pretending to be something that you were not.

It really is quite remarkable that this needs to be explained.

by DaveRichters :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 1:56pm

Here's another clue; people who don't want to talk about the meaning of contracts should not sign them.

Thanks for all your clues! But unfortunately the world doesn't work exactly as I would prefer, so we have to do some things we don't like. Contracts are a modern contrivance that robs man of his dignity, but they are a part of our world and can't be avoided.

And yet another clue; when you sign a contract, you are making a statement about what your behavior will be in the future. When the behavior subsequently is different than that statement, you, when you signed the contract, were pretending to be something that you were not.
It really is quite remarkable that this needs to be explained.

I don't think Cutler has violated the terms of his contract, and I think that your claim of "rude athletes are not genuine" is laughable. Sorry to be so dense as to require you to explain things to me! I can't help it, being so childish I need lots of guidance from you, thanks for taking time out of your day to explain something that is so self-evident that it is remarkable I don't get it!

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:20pm

When you sign a contract in which you agree to engage in specific tasks for an employer, inherent in that contract is the agreement that those tasks will be performed in a manner which serves the interests of the employer, as the employer defines those interests. The fact that the employer may not seek to rectify every instance, in which the employee fails to do so, does not mean that the employee failed to be genuine when he signed a contract, and then failed to perform all of the contractually defined duties in the manner that best serves the interests of the employer, that the employee voluntarily contracted with.

Look, it is unfortunate that someone as highly educated as you has to be instructed that signing a contract to be an employee means subsuming one's interests to one's employer's, when it comes to contractually defined duties, and that failure to do so means one was not being genuine when the contract was signed. There is no reason to get snippy about it, however.

Yeah, it sometimes sucks to be an employeee, and thus have to, if one wants to be genuine, behave in a way that one would otherwise prefer not to. People who find it really just too much should refrain from becoming employees. Again, I am ever willing to educate you in these matters.

by DaveRichters :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:35pm

When you sign a contract in which you agree to engage in specific tasks for an employer, inherent in that contract is the agreement that those tasks will be performed in a manner which serves the interests of the employer, as the employer defines those interests.

No, when you sign a contract you are only agreeing to the specific terms and language in the contract.

There is no reason to get snippy about it, however.

Yes, sorry, but you can be rather infuriating.

Again, I am ever willing to educate you in these matters.

Oh please just stop, you're killing me!

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:56pm

I am going to change my mind about ending our conversation, in case there is someone who reads this thread, and then comes to adopt your plainly erroneous position that by signing an employment contract, one has not entered into implied provisions which are not specifically stated. Having said that, I'd be surprised if there is no language in the standard NFL player's contract or the CBA which indicates that the player, when performing his outlined duties, is not expected to perform those duties in the manner that the employer would prefer.

by DaveRichters :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:08pm

I am going to change my mind about ending our conversation, in case there is someone who reads this thread, and then comes to adopt your plainly erroneous position that by signing an employment contract, one has not entered into implied provisions which are not specifically stated.

Well I'm no lawyer, but I seriously doubt that when you sign a contract you are agreeing to anything whatever that is not specifically in the contract. It's possible I'm wrong, but this view is certainly not "plainly erroneous".

the player, when performing his outlined duties, is not expected to perform those duties in the manner that the employer would prefer.

I assume you mean the opposite of what you say here? No matter what you mean, I highly doubt that a measure of civility has been operationally defined in the CBA or a player's contract. If it has been, and if the contract also requires players maintain a minimum level of civility when talking with reporters, then it is a uniquely stupid contract.

by SFC B (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:09pm

He's Jeff Kent. Cutler is a very gifted athelete who has the skill and drive to play a challenging sport at its highest level, but he views it for what it is: a job.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:19pm

Playing the game is not the only part of the job. Now, he is gifted enough to make it wothwhile for his employer to overlook the fact that there are parts of the job he ignores, but make no mistake, he decision to ignore those parts of the job has consequences for the people around him.

by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 9:07pm

Will, how exactly is Cutler's lack of desire affecting his earning potential? Franchises are in the business of warm fuzzy feelings. Players aren't. Playing well earns them more money than talking sweet.

Cutler is making $15M a year right now.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 9:42pm

Go ask Peyton Manning and his agent if they are in the business of selling warm and fuzzy feelings. If your point is that Cutler doesn't want to be in that business, and he can't be bothered to simply alter the words that come out of his mouth, in the time allotted for him to interact with the media, despite the fact that it is in the interests of the entity which is making him wealthy, I suppose that may be true.

by Eddo :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 9:52pm

1. Manning clearly has plans to be a celebrity; by all accounts, Cutler is a private person, visiting hospitals for charitable events without informing the media. It's perfectly reasonable that he is much happier not sharing with the media.

2. How many people do you know that go above and beyond in their own job - with no direct compensation for it - just for the good of their employer? Most people do the job they're required to do, nothing more. Cutler, to my knowledge, has not skipped out on the interviews he's required to give, but doesn't put in any extra effort.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:30pm

I'm not being crtical of him not spending any time beyond what is required in public relations work, I'm saying it is stupid do use the time, that you are required to spend, ineffectively.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 3:31am

That is actually not true. Specially during his first year in Chicago, Cutler would call into ESPN1000's Waddle & Silvy show, and from what we could gather, these were mostly Cutler's advances, not the other way around. In fact, it wasn't until Tom Waddle promised him he would show up at Cutler's charity event and then not being able to show up due to being out of town (but still buying a ticket), that the relationship seemed to cool off.

If one takes the signs of his social awkwardness as something akin to Aspergers, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that for some reason he felt a bond for those guys and then felt it betrayed in a personal way.

This, along with the reports of his going to childrens' hospitals and not wanting the media to even know about this before or after the fact, his never throwing his teammates or coaches under the bus, but rather taking responsability for his mistakes, and some other tidbits that I have seen or heard )like the fact that the quote from earlier in the thread of him not looking up to anyone is misleading. He said he looked up to his parents. He just didn't look up to celebrities) lead me to the following hypothesis:

As much as this seems to be completely abohrrent and incomprehensible to a lot of people, Cutler doesn't care about the money for money's sake, and he doesn't care abotu the fame. He cares about competing and winning, and he cares about giving back to society. He values the example of his parents more than that of athletes and stars. He doesn't like to pretend to be something he is not, and since he doesn't care about the fame or money, he has no reason to do it.

All in all, if this hypothesis is true, I would say Cutler is a very decent and even admirable human being, who just sucks at social relations. And you know what? I like him a lot more now than I did before sunday.

- Alvaro

by Will Allen :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 4:01am

I have no opinion of Jay Cutler's moral standing, relative to other human beings. I merely was commenting on the intelligence, or lack thereof, he displayed in an aspect of the professional responsibilities that he is contractually bound to fufill. There were some others in this thread who posited that his behavior was not indicative of the intelligence by which he fufilled those contractual obligations, but rather was indicative of his attitude towards other human beings, like the employer who is paying him a lot of money, his coworkers, and the media people who make it possible for him to become wealthy (by the way, it's a lot easier to say that you don't care about money for money's sake after banking many millions). I don't think they intended it as such, but those other people in this thread were far more critical of Cutler's character than was I.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 4:14am

I know, Will.

While my reply shows up directly below yours (which I hadn't read yet), it's actually nested to the post I was responding to: 235, which states that "Cutler, to my knowledge, has not skipped out on the interviews he's required to give, but doesn't put in any extra effort."

- Alvaro

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 7:01pm

It's not the player's job to promote the business. Goodell has made it abundantly clear that's his job.

As to the other points, Cutler doesn't seem particularly concerned about endorsements, either.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 9:49pm

If the players had no responsibility in this area, then there would be no rules requiring players to interact with the media. There are.

by Aaron Brook's Good Twin (not verified) :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 3:00am

I never said Goodell wasn't lazy.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 4:15pm

I think it is more different priorities as opposed to being dumb. If I had to guess (which I am going to) I would say he thinks the best thing for the both Bears and himself is that he becomes the best QB he can be and he tries to ignore anything else - like talking to the media or palling around with opposing players. As a Bears fan I want him to do whatever it is he thinks will help him get better and I can't think of a decent reason why not making nice with reporters is going to affect his performance on the field.

I do agree that is probably would actually be easier (and for that reason smarter) for him to just play the game a bit.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 4:47pm

The league requires players to spend time with the media, for extremely good business reasons. It takes no more time or energy to spend that time with some degree of effectiveness, and thus make the business run better, if, for no other reason, that it makes your teammates' time with the media less tiresome. One of the reasons his teammates are going to have to put up with a lot of tireseome questions for several months now is because other NFL players have been excoriating Cutler since yesterday, and one of the reasons that excoriation has taken place is because Cutler is widely disliked. Making the workplace a lot less fun for your co-workers, because you don't have enough sense to do otherwise, is dumb.

It is dumb for the same reason it is dumb for Randy Moss to have a hissy fit over the food that is brought in by the caterers. How employees interact with other human beings always matters in a business sense, and even more so in a high profile business. Yes, if the employee's skills are rare enough, it will make sense for the employer to tolerate all manner of stupidity, but that soesn't make the stupidity less stupid.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 8:13pm

I don't see how replacing one set of inane questions with another set is harming them. I am not sure I ever will. Reporters often treat athletes like they are sound-bite dukeboxes and which is bad, lazy journalism and then blame the player when they haven't done the scribe's job for them.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 9:06pm

Hey, go ask the athletes I've heard say, multiple times, that one of the worst things about a prominent teammate who decides to be ineffective in the public relations work is that it makes their public relations work more tiresome. When somebody who was immersed in a situation tells me it was a pain in the ass, I tend to believe them.

by DaveRichters :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 11:07pm

It takes no more time or energy to spend that time with some degree of effectiveness

Perhaps he is just being genuine?

by Will Allen :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 12:30pm

If being genuine entails alienating people for no other reason than it being your preference, then it is time stop being genuine, or fundamentally change, so as to entail making being genuine a different thing. It's pretty childish to look upon being genuine as an inherently good thing. The prisons, civil courtrooms, and psychiatrists' offices are to a large degree filled with people who were being genuine.

by DaveRichters :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 7:57pm

It's pretty childish to look upon being genuine as an inherently good thing.

I'm happy to be childish. In addition to me thinking genuineness is inherently good, I also think being childish is good. :P

The prisons, civil courtrooms, and psychiatrists' offices are to a large degree filled with people who were being genuine.

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean or if your claim is correct. Obviously you have no idea if it is correct either, so it's not such a compelling argument.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 9:05am

I had a feeling you would think being childish was good. I don't think you know what being genuine means. It is perfectly possible to be a horrible human being while being entirely genuine. Being genuine doesn't mean much in and of itself.

by DaveRichters :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 11:05am

I had a feeling you would think being childish was good.


It is perfectly possible to be a horrible human being while being entirely genuine.

But that person is less horrible than if he was horrible PLUS not genuine. But to the point, it is possible to be a horrible person and also very intelligent. Cutler might be rude, but that has nothing to do with his intelligence.

Being genuine doesn't mean much in and of itself.

It means a lot to me!

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 1:02pm

Only because you a have an extremely narrow definition of intelligence.

by DaveRichters :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 1:49pm

Only because you a have an extremely narrow definition of intelligence.

I'm a scientist and I study the brain. I don't have a narrow view of intelligence and your comment makes no sense at all. Your claim is that rude people are dumb, which places a constraint on the definition of intelligence. My claim is that these are orthogonal dimensions, hence not constraining the definition. The whole essence of the debate is that you have a narrower definition than I do, though I don't like to put it in those terms.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:03pm

Yes, scientists typically view concepts through their area of study, which sometimes results in a particular type of narrow-mindedness. No, I did not claim that all rudeness, thus all rude people, were dumb. Have you ever employed the science of reading comprehension? You have either asserted or implied falsehoods regarding what I have written more than once in this thread. This implies that you either have a problem with language, or a problem with being truthful with what you have observed, or perhaps both. Quite a quality in a scientist, huh?

by DaveRichters :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:12pm

Yes, scientists typically view concepts through their area of study, which sometimes results in a particular type of narrow-mindedness.

Hey we found some common ground! I agree!

Have you ever employed the science of reading comprehension?

Your use of "employed" here is dubious. But yes, I have studied language comprehension and psycholinguistics.

You have either asserted or implied falsehoods regarding what I have written more than once in this thread. This implies that you either have a problem with language, or a problem with being truthful with what you have observed, or perhaps both. Quite a quality in a scientist, huh?

Well I didn't mean to misrepresent your claim that Cutler is dumb, evidenced by his rudeness to reporters. Sorry if I did that. Perhaps you could clarify? But honestly, if I misunderstood something you said, the fault MIGHT be mine because of a language or truthfulness issue, or it MIGHT be that you are making silly meaningless statements. I don't want to make any judgments about you, but I will say that I am a very truthful person and I have an excellent grasp of language.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:31pm

Apparently, your grasp of language is such that that you believe that....

"Cutler is dumb, as evidenced by his rudeness to reporters"

....is the equivalent of....

"rude people are dumb".

Let us end the dialogue, for your advanced study has caused you to employ a language with which I am not familiar, thus further effort is likely pointless. Have a nice day.

by DaveRichters :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:39pm

Let us end the dialogue, for your advanced study has caused you to employ a language with which I am not familiar, thus further effort is likely pointless.

It's pretty clear you aren't familiar with normal language. If Cutler's rudeness is evidence that he is dumb, then "rude people are dumb"... oh, what? End the dialogue? Ok.

Have a nice day.

How fitting for you to be respectful and civil here, because you value that. I value being genuine and truthful, so I will say that I don't care what kind of day you have.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:02pm

Oh my goodness, you really do fail to grasp how the subset of "rude people in Jay Cutler's circumstances" is far different than the set known as "people being rude".
I will instead wish you a day in which in you gain some small amount of enlightenment.

by DaveRichters :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:26pm

Oh my goodness, you really do fail to grasp how the subset of "rude people in Jay Cutler's circumstances" is far different than the set known as "people being rude".

It doesn't really matter whether I fail to grasp it or not, since Cutler being rude is not evidence that he is stupid. Also, YOU being rude isn't evidence that YOU are stupid. I think your argument has devolved to a point where we should just stop. I concede that it is possible for someone in Cutler's position to act rude because he's too stupid to realize the negative impact to his wallet, but it is pretty clear that there can be other reasons to act that way.

"Oh my goodness" hahaha that's so great!

I will instead wish you a day in which in you gain some small amount of enlightenment.


Thanks! Working on it!

by William Lloyd Garrision III (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:31pm

There are lots of rational reasons why people should (and do) care about which teams wins a game.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:48pm

Yes, and I never said that there were no people for whom it was rational to care. Obviously, those who have a economic stake in the outcome have a very rational reason to care. In two weeks, however, there will be many of dozens of millions of people who will have a very emotional reaction to an event whose outcome will have no effect on their lives, other than their internal attitude towards that outcome.

by Purds :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:12pm

He doesn't play the game they want him to play so they can write their stories.

And yet, Cutler expects the media and fans to play the little game Cutler wants, as in paying outrageous ticket/parking prices and watching his little performances so that he can get paid outrageous sums of money from high tv ad revenue.
I don't get the whole "it's okay if the player/coach is a jerk" defense. If the guy's a jerk, the guy's a jerk. Sure, you can find reasons to defend the jerk if he's on your team, but in the end, he's just being boorish. It's like when coaches don't want to talk to the press, and fans defend him for not giving away information. Really? You think the films don't give a much better explanation to opposing teams? We as fans can't see the coaches films, so we'd like a tidbit of insight. Is it really so much to ask, especially when the season is over and you're going to change everything next year anyway?
Trust me, any regularly losing coach/player doesn't get defended by his fans. Why is our reaction to his attitude any different if he regularly wins? It's a sad reflection on us if we alter our perception of behavior based on wins or losses.

by tuluse :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:25pm

I don't know about you, but I watch football to see players play, not answer questions to a bunch of idiots.

Why is our reaction to his attitude any different if he regularly wins?

Because that's what they're paid to do.

As for being a jerk, maybe he is. I mean he does charity work all the time, and doesn't want it to get reported, so maybe he just doesn't like the media.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:32pm

I'd argue that the overwhelming success of the NFL is largely due to an emotional attachment to outcomes that have no rational basis. As such, it really kind of dumb for a high profile player in that business to do things that irrationl people will find alienating. In contrast, I have doubts that Roethlisberger has become any better a human being than the dirtbag he revealed himself to be last summer. I'll give him some credit, however, for having enough brains to fake it.

by tuluse :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:40pm

Your right. I don't know why, but Cutler just doesn't bother me the way he seems to bother a lot of other people.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:47pm

Oh, he doesn't bother me. I have always found stupidity that doesn't cost me money, or get anyone killed or injured, pretty entertaining. It's been hilarious to me to hear of these current players, on their Twitter accounts, express how much they hate Cutler for the last 21 hours.

by Purds :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 5:43pm

I don't like or dislike Cutler, but I do dislike it when observers excuse the boorish behavior that Cutler and others sometimes exhibit just because they win.

Sorry, for me, winning isn't every thing. Just personal choice. Perhaps being a teacher/coach/former athlete influences me. (And, yes, I do have a winning record as a coach. We're .750 over the last decade, so I don't say this because I can't win. Oh, and that's not coaching football -- I wouldn't pretend to have the knowledge of football that football coaches have; when I write about football on this site, I am just an observer.)

by tuluse :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 7:25pm

I'm not trying to tell you what to think, and I've never excused Cutler's behavior because he wins (or even because he's a good at QB). I have excused it because I don't think anything he's done is that bad, and there are extenuating circumstances, and I think 90% of sports writers are idiots and if I was pro athlete I would be very temped to treat them exactly as Cutler does.

I do agree that winning isn't everything. I'm glad I don't root for a team employing Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, or Jeremey Stevens. I just think that how Cutler treats the media isn't a big deal.

by chisox24 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 7:44pm

Your references to him not playing nice with the media as stupidity really don't make any sense. Your arguments:

1. Costing the NFL/himself money.
Uh, well, I assume you have taken an economics class at some point, so you probably are versed with the term utility. Maximizing profits for the individual does not necessarily equal maximizing utility, because marginal utility from earning money becomes smaller and smaller. Considering he might be costing the NFL money (through some very twisted logic, and probably isn't even doing that) and not even his own money, there really is just far too much speculation to make this point work.

2. Not caring about something he spends most of his time with
Based on your definition of caring about the NFL, he doesn't care about it. His differing priorities, such as working hard at becoming a better quarterback, imply that he does care about what he does. He is not stupid for not feeling that answering insanely repetitive interviews from people who for the most part feel there should be no retribution if they throw a player under the bus when they are playing badly. Also, not that it is especially important, but I am fairly certain that Cutler doesn't actually have endorsements, nor does he care to.

3. Consequences for those around him
I think this is somewhat spurious logic also. Other players are inundated with large amounts of stupid questions all of the time, I don't think if the subject matter was about something equally dumb, it would be something they are particularly upset about. I think it only becomes tiresome when reporters continually ask the same questions over and over again, but obviously they are not at fault for this. But then again, I am making a guess, just as you are.

Sorry if this came off as harsh, but I think attacking someones intelligence because they don't have the same value set as you is pretty stupid in its own right.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 8:12pm

I'll take them in reverse order. I've heard a non-tivial number of professional athletes say that one of the bad things about a prominent teammate, who does not deal with the media well, is that it increases their tiresome interactions with the media. I could believe them, or I could give your opinion more weight.

You seem to think that players have a significant degree of control regarding their priorities, if we define that term in quantity of time spent with the media. They certaintly have some, but a bare minimum is required. There is no difference in energy expended, based upon which words are used. One can either use words which increase the odds of revenue maximazation, or use words which do not. If your point is that Jay Cutler doesn't care about revenue maximization beyond his Bears' income, fine, I suppose that could be true. However, you are in error in thinking that his next contract, if he has one, or even the possibility of playing out this contract, can in no way be affected by his interaction with the media. If the NFL didn't think that the nature of players' interactions with the media had a non-trivial effect on revenue, then the NFL would not have so many guidelines on the topic. Again, I could give more weight to your opinion, or I could give more weight to the opinion of people deeply immersed in the industry, who are risking significant capital.

If your point is that Cutler is not stupid, but simply so unprofessional that he won't even use the time he is required to spend on public relations in a manner that helps the people who are paying him huge sums of money, and that he doesn't care about maximizing his own revenue, and that he doesn't care about what his teammates have to put up with, fine.

by chisox24 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 8:47pm

I don't think you understood the gist of my post.

Your first paragraph is hearsay. It is just as much speculation as my paragraph regarding the same topic. I acknowledged this.

You definitely are not using the word priority in the right context. When I said it, it refers to what is important to a person. The reason I brought up utility (which you might not be familiar with), is that money is not the ultimate goal, happiness is. Jay might be perfectly content with the amount of money he has at the moment, and that the effort of being nice to people who by and large annoy and attack athletes and any possible money he might derive from this (my guess is almost none) does not outweigh the happiness he gets from acting the way he does. The last sentence of your second paragraph has no bearing, because the concept of utility is not an opinion, and I hardly think the people who you are referring to understand the psychology of Jay Cutler any better than I do.

Again, your final paragraph is based around money, which I addressed earlier. I guess you can view Jay Cutler as being unprofessional. I personally view the way he talks to reporters on occasion as funny. If, for the most part, reporters are unwilling to do the work to get more than passingly acquainted with the subject matter they are covering, then I have no problem with him acting the way he does. Of course, I also am a big fan of sarcasm, so I might find him funny either way.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 9:32pm

I don't think you understand what hearsay means. As to other matters, I don't think you bothered to read what I wrote. I specifically conceded that it is possible that Cutler doesn't care about any other income other than what his contract currently calls for. You also are in error in asserting that saying x number of words, which are effective in regards to public relations, takes greater effort than saying x number of words which are ineffective. It does not.

Now, if your point is that Cutler derives pleasure from being ineffective in public relations, despite the fact that it harms the interests of people who are paying him huge sums of money, and makes things more difficult for his teammates, I suppose that is likely true. Being stupid and engaging in activities which provide pleasure are not mutually exclusive. Now, if your point is that jay Cutler is so self involved that he has consciously decided that the only thing on earth which he has an interest in are those activities which provide pleasure, without regard to his teammates or his employer, I suppose that could be true also.

As far as my personal preference, I don't care, since I don't listen to player interviews closely.

by chisox24 :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 11:02pm

Um, you know saying something over and over again doesn't make it true, right? I clearly bothered to read what you wrote, and clearly responded to all of it. You clearly did not respond to what I wrote.

Hearsay. Obviously the main point of it is that your do not have direct knowledge of it. You made a vast generalizations multiple times with no actual references about athletes saying something. And even if there was an actual quote, it is still a vast generalization about something based on one person's opinion.

As to how much effort it takes for saying different words, I will give you that it literally takes the same amount of efforts to say different words if the sentences are the exact same length. Obviously you are willfully missing the point.

And then in your next paragraph you literally ignore every argument I made, and literally just repeat what you said before. I don't think you understood the whole utility/happiness thing.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 2:32am

Um, you know when someone writes this...

"If your point is that Jay Cutler doesn't care about revenue maximization beyond his Bears' income, fine, I suppose that could be true."

They are explicitly saying that Jay Cutler may not place much utlity on gaining more income. Thus, when, in response, you write....

"The reason I brought up utility (which you might not be familiar with), is that money is not the ultimate goal, happiness is."

...it indicates that you did not bother to read what the person wrote, given, it failed to register with you that the person has already written that Cutler may not value, or have much UTILITY for, more income. Are thse words registering with you?

No, I'm afraid you really don't understand the concept of hearsay. If I hear an NFL player say that he heard a Bears player say that Cutler's behavior made life more difficult for the other Bears players, and I then make a blanket statement that Cutler's behavior has done so, that's hearsay. Which, by the way, is still better evidence than you, who presumably has never been on a professional sports team, offering your opinion on the matter.

In any case, what I said was that I have heard multiple professional athletes say that it was their experience that having a prominent teammate be bad with the media made their media duties more tiresome. I thus, drawing from what other athletes have said about their experience, implied that Cutler's behavior might be having a similar effect. That is not hearsay, even if you are of a mindset to doubt whether what I am saying, regarding what I heard other athletes say, is true. Look, if you are going to assert or imply that other people are ignorant of concepts or terms, you may first wish to examine your own writing first, to ensure that you are employing terms and concepts accurately. Otherwise, a substantial amount of irony, which you really did not intend, may ensue.

by chisox24 :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 3:39am

I think you are misinterpreting the post that you quoted or I just did not make it clear enough in my original post. When I said,
"Considering he might be costing the NFL money (through some very twisted logic, and probably isn't even doing that) and not even his own money[...]"
I was talking about the money you hypothesized that the NFL was losing. While there is the possibility that he might be costing himself future revenues, that also goes along him being content with the money he has, so future money may not be as important to him. Thusly, I brought it up again when you responded with me,
"However, you are in error in thinking that his next contract, if he has one, or even the possibility of playing out this contract, can in no way be affected by his interaction with the media." Because it had no bearing on what I had intended with my post.

I'll concede that hearsay was probably the wrong word choice. I meant more something like lacking concrete evidence or some such. I meant to get across the point that you are presenting unsubstantiated talk (essentially, that some athletes you met some time said something) with their opinions being a general fact, or as more compelling than my opinion, which I rightly state as an opinion. The reason you cannot use your point as evidence is directly because there is no way to argue with it because I cannot refute phantom people. And even if athletes had said that, it again would be a broad generalization.

And this is all getting away from the fact that I took exception to you calling him stupid because he has a different value set than you. I just didn't feel that there was any need to attack his intelligence. I may have fallen into that a little in my posts, and for that, I apologize. But to be fair, I really didn't know if you knew what utility theory was because you didn't once respond to it until now (although I guess acknowledging that he may not care about future earnings is a nod to it), and I wasn't just trying to act superior.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 9:31am

I've already stated that use of the word "stupid" may result in a dispute over semantics. If you would prefer "behavior which does not increase the availability of time devoted to other purposes, while being against the stated interests of people who are paying you millions of dollars, while harming your own ability to generate revenues fron other sources, and possibly encouraging your current employer to not maintain his relationship with you to the longest extent possible, while also increasing the odds that your co-workers will have more tiresome duties with the media", fine. I'll just use "stupid" as shorthand.

by DaveRichters :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 11:15pm

Worshipping money is stupid.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 11:41am

Yes, it is. Which is why I've never suggested that Cutler should do so.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 4:13pm

Please do not insult my proud monetarian heritage.

by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 9:10pm

"One can either use words which increase the odds of revenue maximazation, or use words which do not. If your point is that Jay Cutler doesn't care about revenue maximization beyond his Bears' income, fine, I suppose that could be true."

I think it could be easily argued that Jay Cutler being a pain in the ass directly increases the NFL's revenue.

People love to hate.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 9:35pm

Go ask the people in charge of jersey sales whether it helps or harms revenues if a player has a positive public image.

by Eddo :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 9:49pm

Michael Vick, #6-selling-jersey.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 1:51am

I never said you couldn't recover; but the money that is lost is never regained. Same with Kobe Bryant; yes, he made it back to number one, but that doesn't mean a lot of cash was not lost. There's a reason why Bryant is pretty good with the press, and it ain't because he's a nice guy. He's got a clue. It really is puzzling why so many people have a difficult time understanding that if you are required to spend x amount of time with the media, it's pretty dumb not use that time effectively, meaning that it builds good will for you, and makes life for your teammates easier. Anybody who says that good will has no value to them is really quite stupid.

by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 9:23am

Jersey sales aren't the whole Pie Will, and unless you've got some numbers that show Kobey's rape case dropped jersey sales for the whole league, they're irrelevant.

People thrive on strife. Cutler gives the mediots something to talk about, and thats worth money.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 10:59am

Yes, Rich, it is not impossible that having your number one jersey seller get sued for rape, and subsequently having his jersey sales go over a cliff for a couple of years, has no effect on total demand for jerseys.

No, I haven't done an in-depth study. For some reason, however, if I were to poll the people who have invested hundred of millions in a football league, and asked them if they would prefer to have their most prominent player take Peyton Manning's approach to media relations, or Jay Cutler's, I'd wager a substantial sum that they would prefer Manning's. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the people who have invested hundred of millions into running a football business have inferior insight as to what best serves their interests. Yes, anything is possible.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 4:36am

I disagree completely on there being no difference in energy expenditure, based upon which words are used. Now, if you have no personal convictions or simply place the possibiity of maximizing your earnings above such petty things (ie. most politicians, Bernie Maddof, etc), then yes, the expenditure of energy is only meassured by the actual kallories burned by the physical act of speech.

However, if you are being asked to say things or behave in a way that runs contrary to what you believe in or are, then, unless you are once again able to justify that by a much higher alliegance to the all-mighty dollar, then yes, there are significant (mental) energy expenditure deifferences depending on the words.

Oh, and the league also has guidelines on how to wear your socks on game day which would lead oen to beleive they believe it has a non-trivial effect on revenue. So yeah, I wouldn't exactly rush to offer up NFL guidelines as proof of what does and does not cause revenue-loss.

- Alvaro

by Will Allen :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 12:21pm

You present a false dichotomy between being asked to behave in a way that runs contrary to what you believe in, or being professionally civil to other human beings, unless you are speaking of a person who is such a fool as to be in a state where being rude is who he is.

Yes, I understand you have greater insight as to what is the best way to run a business, compared to the people who have risked huge sums of capital, and thousands upon thousands of hours of labor examining the situation. That seems a bit overconfident to me.

Look, this isn't all that complicated. Jay Cutler, of his own free will, has entered into a contract which obligates him to engage with the media. Inherent in that contract is the expectation that he will attempt to perform all required tasks to the best of his ability, in a fashion that serves the interests of the people Jay Cutler chose to contract with, as those people define their interests. As long as those people don't ask Cutler to do something unethical, and it is never unethical to be professionally civil, then Cutler should fufill his contractual obligations to the best of his abilities. It really is quite dumb to gain a reputation as someone who doesn't fufill his obligations, over something as trivial as being polite to people. If that is a task that is obnoxious to Cutler, he shouldn't have contracted otherwise.

by William Lloyd Garrision III (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 11:38am

A starting NFL quarterback with no heart is an oxymoron. Plus, doesn't he have a celebrity girlfriend, and isn't he somewhat annoyed by the paparazzi stalking them? Maybe he's had his fill of the typical press, who makes those guys asking Herm Edwards questions on the Coors Light commercials look like geniuses.

Maybe his dad mean to him when he was growing up. Maybe he's like that runner in Chariots of Fire who got his energy from thinking the outside world hates him. Who knows? He's prickly. So am I. Doesn't mean he has no heart.

Derrick Brooks looks like a clown for his twitter comments and his awkward follow up trying to justify them. Trying to stay in the spotlight after his playing days, so he will say anything. And Micheal Wilbon, who doesn't even have the internal fortitude to push himself away from a buffet table is even sillier for his disingenuous, unfounded comments and attack.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 4:11am

That is as gross a mischaracterization as I have come across on this site. Saying that Cutler expects fans to play his "little game" of fans paying for and/or watching the games, is akin to saying that a manager at the Coke factory expects people to play his little game of buying soft drinks.

- Alvaro

by V. Barbarino (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 7:54pm

I live in Denver, and often heard a lot of complaints about Cutler when he played here, well before McDaniels pawned him off on the Bears. I will grant that some of that was from the media, who didn't cotton to his dullard-like responses to questions about zone defense and the weather, but there were always stories out about his drunkenness, general lack of curiosity about the game of football, and so on. The reason that Bowlen signed off on dumping him was because he considered Cutler a loser, and an immature jerk. Nothing much has changed anyone's mind about that diagnosis.
However, I don't think there was ever any question about his 'toughness.' I did not get to see the game yesterday, but heard from a friend who was listening on-line to the Chicago radio broadcast that they were absolutely roasting the guy during the game after he was taken out. This surprised me. Players get hurt, it doesn't always have to be some case of him rolling around on the field holding his knee and crying.
I think the general reaction to a lot of this is that most people just don't like Cutler. Despite my Denver affinity, I'm fairly indifferent, although I most assuredly wanted Green Bay to win, but that's more out of an appreciation for Rodgers, and the way he handled himself during the Favre fiasco, then it is for any general disdain for Cutler.
What's funny about the aftermath of the 'blockbuster' trade of a couple of years ago, and all the people in the soap opera is the fallout; McD is fired, and now OC for the Rams. Jeremy Bates, who was Cutler's pal in Denver, leaves in a huff and eventually gets fired after a year in Seattle. Cutler is, at least for a couple of days, a punching bag for media and fans who see him as a loser. Even Orton, who just keeps his yap shut, is probably getting traded out of Denver so they can start Tebow. I believe they call this a 'lose-lose' ( although if Cutler wins a title in Chicago, that changes everything. Fortunately, I feel quite safe in predicting that he never will. ). Much like the draft, this all just proves that, beyond the need for narratives by pundits and the like, nothing can be judged efficiently until a certain amount of time has passed. Which is why I avoid as much of this stuff as I can.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 4:42am

In the discussion of the lose-lose, be sure not to leave out the astounding pissing away of the draft picks that came to Denver with Orton. Robert Ayers, half of Richard Quinn and some complex thing involving the (shockingly!!!) constantly injured Demariyus Thomas.
As a Denver fan, I still like Cutler, in a way. He's unpleasant, but charitable. He's explosive, but inconsistent. He's a near-mute when there's a microphone in front of him, but apparently runs his mouth on and off the field.
Ultimately, even though I don't like him in the sense that I wouldn't want to spend time with him, I sure as hell would have preferred to keep him and stay away from McDaniels. Jay Cutler wasn't actively destroying the Broncos, so he had that going for him.

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 7:07pm

The drunkenness stories are interesting, in retrospect. Blood sugar spikes, symptomatically, look a lot like drunkenness.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 4:43am

You feel quite safe in predicting that a team who was 30 yards away from tying the championship with their 3rd-stringer, after having lost two posessions to their dismal second-stringer, and playing behind an improving O-Line that has nowhere to go but up, led by a clearly improving Cutler will never win a title?

Must be nice to have such irrational confidence.

- Alvaro