Monday, January 24, 2011

Mondays with Matty: An unbiased perspective on Cutler

No, I'm not going to chime in on the Jets loss to Pittsburgh. Gang Green blew molten lava on the Patriots last week and had nothing but smoke and ash left in Pittsburgh for a team that the Pats handily defeated earlier this season. (Imagine if BenJarvus Green-Ellis had gotten 25-30 carries last week when it is now obvious that's how to beat the Jets?)

I have watched the "Jay Cutler bashing" parade go on since about 5PM yesterday. It is absolutely atrocious. Maurice Jones-Drew, Darnell Dockett, even Deion Sanders called out Cutler for leaving the game against the Packers. Fans and journalists everywhere piled on. Many of them forgot one simple thing:

Jay Cutler has Type I Diabetes.

A doctor friend of mine, who is keeping anonymity because, well, duh, had this to share with me once the diagnosis of a Type II MCL Sprain was announced as Cutler's injury.

"I almost expected this... if I gave the MRI films to 10 different radiologists, probably 50% would agree. Here is the thing that few people know about MRI/CT/XRAYs....they are subjective. They are open to interpretation of the person reading them. There is a great book called - How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman. Great read - physicians always get a full history. If I get handed films and told the person is an athlete, high collision, high speed....I tend to look for trauma. If you instead tell me the guy is a telephone operator (do they even have those anymore?) then that sprain is grade I.

Point being - knee was injured and type 1 diabetes complicates each and every injury. A small cut can lead to a deadly infection. One of my mentors, an MD, had a poster in his office similar to the Uncle Sam - I want you deal.....guy was pointing half a finger with the quote "Don't F*ck With Diabetes". This is more than Wilford Brimley can help."

Things that are nothing to many of us can be made much more serious to others. A cut to the arm of a hemophiliac can be disastrous, for example, when for many of us we just need a band-aid.

To the folks who automatically cite the Philip Rivers knee injury in 2007, when he played with no ACL and an MCL that was surgically repaired during the week, think about this: Rivers left the game the week before against the Colts with that knee injury, which was also a playoff game. He didn't return to that game, and it was Billy Volek who led the Chargers to victory down the stretch against Indy. Although Rivers played every snap the next week, he went 19 for 37 with 2 interceptions. How effective was he? When is the line between being tough and being stupid crossed? Could the Chargers have won that game with Volek starting in lieu of Rivers (based on the Patriots defense two weeks later against Eli Manning, it's not a stretch). It's a moronic comparison. In the 1993 NFC Title game, Troy Aikman left with a concussion, and Bernie Kosar had to rescue the Cowboys. This was before the severity of concussions in the NFL was truly known. Was Aikman, for a word many fans used yesterday, "a pussy" for leaving the game, a game which to this day he still says he can't remember? No, because at the time his resume had been built as a Super Bowl winning QB. Bring Twitter back to that day in 1993 and perhaps people sing a different tune.

Cutler wasn't lighting the world on fire anyways, the Bears were actually more effective moving the ball with Hanie at quarterback. Does anyone who watched that game yesterday think Cutler was going to lead Chicago to a single point?

Cutler's teammates have stood up for him. His previous history, when he has only missed one game in his career (due to concussion), doesn't portray him as a wuss-bag. He plays behind a porous offensive line and for an offensive coordinator who probably took 5-10 years off of Marc Bulger and Kurt Warner's lives when they played for St. Louis. (By the way, both QB's have a massive history of concussions and injuries. Coincidence?)

Cutler's biggest crime is not being a fan or peer favorite. He, justifiably or not, has a reputation as being "soft" around the league, and people waited for the first opportunity to call him on it when it counts.

Maybe this ruins his career. Maybe he rebounds from this to be a wonderful story someday. This much is certain: There are many more doctors in the world than we all thought, and many of them masquerade as current and former NFL Players, who all had time on their hands to watch the Championship Games on television.


Unknown said...

Great read and awesome point I don't think I've heard anyone bring up. Thanks for sharing.

MattyMSM said...

Thanks for the comment, Mike.


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