No, Jay Cutler is not a wimp. He has taken many beatings as an NFL quarterback without begging out of a game. He has proved quite durable. He has not complained about getting hit. He hasn't even complained publicly about losing games.
He is less than ideal as a public figure. He does not know how to manage perceptions. But let's forget about perceptions and deal with facts - always a useful place to start:
1. He injured his knee.
2. The Bears' medical team told him he probably shouldn't play.
3. He tried to play.
4. He could not play.
If his name were Peyton Manning, and he had left the field gripping his leg and fallen down on the sideline and pounded the turf with his fists, we'd feel sorry for him. Because he has behaved like a spoiled brat during his career, and because he is not aware enough to know how to manage public perception of him, we assumed the worst when we saw him standing on the sideline with that glum look on his face.
I've known many athletes who have damaged their knees. Having a torn MCL doesn't necessarily keep you from walking or standing. It keeps you from performing explosive athletic movements, like throwing a pass or running away from a pass rush.
I hate to defend Cutler, but he's not a wimp, and there is nothing in his professional history to make us believe he would pull himself out of the biggest game of his life unless he simply couldn't perform.
-Which brings us to Twitter, a day after many NFL players used Twitter to criticize Cutler without having any idea of what his injury was.
I have come to the realization recently that I hate Twitter.
At least I'm evenhanded about my hate.
I hate when I use Twitter.
I hate when athletes use Twitter.
I hate when the general public uses Twitter.
I hate even when some of my best friends and most esteemed peers in the media use Twitter.
I think I've un-followed (to use a term that I hope I"ll never use again) more people than I have followed.
I find Twitter useful for getting newsy updates about the teams I follow. But, as you've noticed, Twitter usually ends up being filled with garbage, including barely-formed thoughts...drunken ramblings...half-baked opinions...aimless bickering and backbiting...and all manner of self-serving bleatings.
I find that when I've used Twitter for anything other than blatant self-promotion, I've regretted it.
Call me old-school, but I've always thought that one of the most important aspects of writing was the thinking you put into your writing. Twitter allows most of its users to skip that step - the thinking step.
-My early Super Bowl pick: Packers 27, Steelers 23. I think Aaron Rodgers will beat the Steelers' blitzes with quick passes to his many fine receivers, and the Packers will intercept Ben Roethlisberger enough to keep the Steelers at bay.
I think the Packers were able to survive a pretty lousy performance against a good defense on a terrible field. I believe on the fast turf in Dallas, with two weeks to prepare, Mike McCarthy and Rodgers will find a way to move the ball against a very good defense that specializes in stopping the run.
Also, I can't help but root for Rodgers, by all accounts a wonderful guy, over Roethlisberger, one of the NFL's foremost cads.
-Don't worry, Gophers fans. Sure, you're missing Al Nolen, but this is where DeVoe Joseph will step in and handle the point guard duties.
-Had this thought while during my daily appearance on 1500espn: Why don't NFL head coaches employ bench coaches? They have coaches handling everything else, including "quality control'' and ""assistant offensive line''...why wouldn't you employ a guy to stand next to you who can concentrate solely on game situations?
Like when to call timeouts. When to punt. When to go for the first down. When to run or pass inside two minutes.
It's amazing how many good football coaches make mistakes in game management. It's understandable. They're trying to be aware of everything happening with their team - offensive decisions, defensive decisions, play calling, injuries, game situations, opposing personnel packages. So why not hire someone who can help you think clearly when the game is on the line?
-Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 tomorrow, as on all weekdays. We'll do Sunday Morning Sports Talk this week from TwinsFest, with a great guest lineup, including Rod Carew and a bunch of current players.