The NFL, Injuries, Cutler and Cribbs

The culture of the NFL opens the league to a wide variety of opposite forces.  Players want to be viewed as warriors.  The league uses slow motion highlights to paint them that way.  Companies like Nike and Under Armour do everything they can to paint them that way too.  Ronnie Lott’s legend couldn’t be bigger because he chose amputation of his finger in order to keep playing.  Has it gone too far now?

Yesterday Jay Cutler left a playoff game with an apparent knee injury and the questions started flying about whether he was tough or not.  During the late game yesterday, I got caught up in it and cracked about LaDainian Tomlinson actually playing in the Jets game after standing on the sideline injured as a member of the San Diego Chargers.  

Last week when I wrote about paying Peyton Hillis, some commenters came out of the woodwork to point out that Josh Cribbs got a new deal and then his production fell off this year.  Cribbs battled injuries all season long including the dislocation of four toes at one point.  That warrior mentality kept him on the field trying to produce and kept him from talking about his injuries at all this season.  Josh Cribbs never made a single excuse throughout the season and even seemed apologetic for being a part of the team that cost Mangini his job this year.  The thanks he gets is a bunch of fans lamenting the re-working of his contract that gave him some more money for his extraordinary efforts.

I am not here to chide anyone for this either.  I am a fan just like the rest of you, and sometimes I get caught up looking for punchlines.  I saw a great many punchlines related to Brodney Pool and his propensity for head injuries yesterday on Twitter.  Sometimes I laugh at stuff like that.  Today, I am thinking about it more after seeing Cutler’s injury get questioned yesterday.

It is an inconsistent landscape to say the least.  Nobody was making jokes about Mohamed Massaquoi and Josh Cribbs getting knocked out by James Harrison earlier this year.  For the Browns fans, that was a stark contrast from what our feelings were a few weeks earlier when T.J. Ward met Jordan Shipley in the endzone.

And further yet, after a season has passed and with a new jersey, Brodney Pool’s struggles with concussions are ripe for punchlines?

The world is changing around us.  It isn’t good or bad.  Just different.  I try to raise the discourse around sports talk because I don’t want it to devolve into the horrendous thing that politics have become.  I will now be thinking harder about the NFL and injuries as a part of that, I guess.

  • BillTheHammer

    Cutler pulled a “Lebron”…I don’t really think he did I am hoping the phrase “Pulled A Lebron” catches on for a quitting like performance in the playoffs.

  • Chris

    Some great thoughts.

    My impression on this is that it is all really quite silly. You have to do what you feel is best for your team to win. In many cases, given the general skill drop off between a first and second string quarterback, if something like that the championship is on the line, then you’re best off staying in.

    In some cases, though, if you can’t throw off your plant leg, or you can’t move in the pocket, you need to sit down.

    For fans to be burning the dude’s jersey is just weird, it inescapably draws parallels to the whole LeBron situation. Chicago fans weren’t betrayed, they weren’t strung along and then walked out on. The dude was legitimately hurt. He has an MCL sprain, and reportedly would be questionable for the Superbowl, had the Bears won.

    Here’s his coach:

    “Jay didn’t take himself out of the game. If you’re going to attack somebody, you should be attacking me as the head football coach, and our medical staff. We’re the ones. He wanted to go back in. He was injured and went back in in the second half. I see it the complete opposite of how it’s been portrayed right now.”

    I think the Cribbs talk in your Hillis post was absurdist as well. The guy has been plagued with injuries all year. Don’t judge him till he’s healthy. Also… let’s try to get an OC who can gameplan and utilize the pieces he has before we jump on him. I truly think Cribbs needs to be a RB ala Eric Metcalf.

    Finally, Hillis needs a raise for -if nothing else- to pay him for being 85% of the Browns offense this year. The guy lifted the entire browns team on his back and carried them for a pretty good season, all things considered.

  • archangel

    Great take on Cribbs.

  • Shamrock

    Classes case of finding someone guilty and making them prove themselves innocent. It’s a shame Cutler is getting skewered like he is because I seriously doubt the kid wouldn’t have played if he could. Cutler is being labeled based on past reports of his demeanor.

    Also another reason I hate Tweeter. I’d like to see how the people giving Cutler would react if they were being questioned. Unfortunately both technology and freedom of speech have drawbacks.

  • humboldt

    “The world is changing around us. It isn’t good or bad. Just different.”

    Well, the sport has definitely changed for the better since science (and common-sense) have finally prevailed in forcing the league to revise its stone-age approach to head injuries. The warrior mentality in football players is what it is, and will always be resistant to things like safety measures. It’s really no different than the Wall Street mentality that seeks profit at all costs while having disdain for regulation that protects markets from chaos.

    The Twitter posts about Cutler are just sound and fury signifying nothing. The right procedures were taken, and Lovie Smith made the correct decision in bringing in the second string QB.

  • BillTheHammer

    Twitter = Internet Beer Muscles

  • Vorax

    aaaaaaaaand BillTheHammer for the win.

  • Ike

    Cutler got sacked an NFL-high 56 times, played every game except one (concussion), without so much as a negative word out of him. Questioning the guy’s toughness is weak, especially when it’s coming from former players, players sitting at home watching the game and couch potatoes.

    Cutler sprained his MCL and people are acting like he had a bone bruise.

  • Jay Cutler

    Look guys, I can show you my MRI images showing the tear, but I have had that tear since week 3. The real reason I had to leave the game Sunday was because my blood sugar got too low. Being a diabetic in the NFL is TOUGH CRAP. Half of you boneheads wouldn’t be able to walk to the restroom with low blood sugar, let alone play in a FREAKING NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE GAME.

    I will tell you what, Chad Clifton is going to pay for this one. Apparently he was a little butthurt that a boy from Vandy was getting all this press and banging all these hot broads, so when we were in warmups Sunday, he went into our locker room and filled my insulin pen with Sierra Mist. News flash to you folks who aren’t doctors. SIERRA MIST DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME EFFECT ON TYPE 1 DIABETES AS INSULIN. As a result, I had to leave the game. Chad, you Tennessee hillbilly Vol, you won this round, but you will be paying dearly for this.

  • Believelander

    @9: still not sure whether you like or hate Jay Cutler…