The first statement I remember regarding Jay Cutler whenever I see or write his name is one that was repeated frequently during the months before he was drafted: Cutler is the next Brett Favre. He has all the skill--the strong arm, the escapability, the gunslinging mentality--leading to the comparison to the infamous and legendary quarterback. Until now, I didn't entirely buy into the comparison. I mean, these days, there are plenty of quarterbacks with strong arms who managed to escape pressure and make tough throws (including the Packers current quarterback, Aaron Rodgers). There had to be something more to make him deserve this distinction (assuming it is the honor people make it out to be). Now, after the controversy surrounding Jay Cutler and the recent, public divorce, it finally makes sense.
But not in the sense that would be considered praise-worthy.
Be prepared for me to spout some anti-Favre rant. You know, because I'm a hater. And note that, with those statements, my tongue was planted firmly in my cheek.
I mean, how often do two quarterbacks force a painful divorce over the span of one year?
I know your problem thinking they are not the same situations. Ted Thompson forced Brett Favre into retirement and then traded him when he was too stubborn to take him back. Jay Cutler became upset when the new coach became interested in trading for a quarterback he coached with the Patriots (Matt Cassel), which made him feel unwanted. The two situations are different, so how do they compare? It is not how it happened that matters, but how they acted during the event. It is the characteristics that I find strikingly similar. Consider the following:
- Both players acted as though they are bigger then the team. Both Brett Favre and Jay Cutler presented attitude that management should bow to their every command and should raise them on a pedestal. For Favre, it meant he should be the one to make decisions; he should be released and play for the Vikings (yes, all evidence points to this, especially since he did communicate with the Vikings and also demaned he be released, though Favre-fans want to believe he intened to play for the Packers); he should be in control. For Cutler, his actions suggest that no other player should even be considered and that the mere suggestion of a trade is demeaning; he felt he was above management and that any talk of trade should be followed by him leaving management. Both players have no regard for management and how business works.
- They both believed they were not wanted by the team. Okay, so maybe they were right in feeling dejected, but neither of them, apparently, had the strength and will power to overcome these feelings . For Favre, when he felt that he was needed (i.e. no one grovelled at his feet), he retired; when Cutler felt he was needed (he was hurt by the trade talk), he refused to make amends. Why didn't either one man up and say "I'll show them; I'll play despite this insecurity." Well, this is my theory:
- They both have fragile egos. They want to feel that they are regarded highly. They need to see this in their managements actions
- They both want attention . I mean, why else make a point of stretching out the situation as long as possible?
- They both put themselves before the team . This is slightly different then the acting bigger then the team. In this case, they don't care about how it effects the teammates. I mean, did Favre care that Aaron Rodgers was already integrated into the offense and trying to develop leadership? Did he care that this created a distraction for the young team? Does Cutler care that his offense is now without his leadership and will have to rebuild? That is selfish.
- T hey are both stubborn. Blame management, but Favre didn't have to retire in the first place. As for Cutler, he could have just ended it and forgiven the coach. But, no, their fragile egos, need for attention, and belief the team didn't want them pushed them to the brink, and they didn't move.
- Finally, they acted like children! That's what it all comes down to: maturity. All these previous comparisons reflect childish behavior. This can be better excused for the younger Jay Cutler, but Favre has acted this way for a while. They either get what they want, receive the attention they need, or they will act up. Like a child.
Obviously, these are all very negative characteristics and a lot of it is speculative and based on what I've read, but I get the impression that they both responded in a similar way. So, with that in mind, I should mention that I am not a Favre hater and I'm not a Cutler hater; I just don't like athletes that act this way. More importantly, I don't like it when fans continually defend these actions. Was Favre a great quarterback? Sure. Is Cutler a young talent? No doubt, but I can't excuse this behavior. Which brings me to the most obvious connection: they both have the same agent--Bus Cook. I would not be surprised if all the above "characteristics" were fueled by their agents. I mean, who would want his players to receive more attention? The Agent. Who would want to stretch out the drama and create controversy? Agent. Who would want the player to continue to push until he got the demand (act stubborn)? Bus Cook; the agent. Therefore, I will not quickly blame either quarterback entirely for displaying these characteristics. It might have been amplified by an agent who wants attention. And, since we are still discussing it, it should work.
The next Brett Favre? Maybe, possibly on the field and off the field. Or maybe he is just another tool Cook uses for his own gain.
Either way, we will sure be seeing a lot more of him now; and now it is Chicago that gets to deal with it.
For better or worse.