Cutler and My Column

So yesterday I got an unexpected gift: a lengthy comment on my post about the Media Mythologies Surrounding the Jay Cutler Saga. I’m quite certain the commenter, Dale, did not intend for me to be smiling as much as I was when I reached the end of what he wrote — but I couldn’t help it.  By the end I’d learned I have a column, I’m a hack, and I still don’t know what I’m talking about.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s go through it bit by bit, shall we? And keep in mind, as we do so, that I’ve not changed or deleted or in any way edited the commenter’s words (or, e.g., deleted apostrophes). That just wouldn’t be fair.

Livingston as usual you dont know what your talking about.

Good opening, Dale. Strong and to the point. A bit bewildering, though, with the “as usual” line: I don’t know you, and this is your first comment on the site.  Are you really a regular reader who has been somehow grinding your teeth at my inane stupidity for months and months and only now chose to break your angry silence?

It’s clear, as we’ll see, that Dale thinks I hate Cutler and adore McDaniels, which is not the case. I would’ve done pretty much whatever I had to do to keep Cutler around, frankly, since he has astounding skills and would’ve put up Madden numbers in McDaniels’ inarguably potent offensive system.  All I’m just trying to keep facts divorced from misleading legend here.

Cutler didnt ask for a trade until the Sunday before the ota’s.

Well, Dale, I never said otherwise. What I said was that Cutler was already giving very strong signals of his disenchantment on the day Shanahan was fired, long before McDaniels was in the picture. There’s no question about that fact, and it’s a very important but oft-forgotten point, about which more in a moment.

He was upset when Mike got fired and when tthey didnt keep Bates. When they hired McDaniels Bates was gone at that moment because if you recall right then and there he said he was calling the plays. There was no way Bates would have stayed if they even would have asked. cutler still didnt ask for a trade. He was working with McDaniels on learning the offense and they both were on Jim Rome and said how much they were looking forward to working with each other. As usual Cutler was the only one tell the truth.

I know you’re trying to fight me on this, Dale, but I think you didn’t read what I wrote very closely: nothing here is contrary to the known timeline that I presented.

At any rate, let’s look more closely at what might have been going on behind the scenes, since that’s where the action always is. According to Bus Cook, his agent, Cutler’s “relationship with the Denver Broncos disintegrated after the firing of coach Mike Shanahan and a broken promise that Shanahan’s offensive staff would largely remain intact.” The key member of the staff, from Jay’s point of view, was his friend Bates, who was, as you point out, Dale, was a goner from the moment McDaniels was hired. Bowlen denies ever “promising” Cutler that Bates wouldn’t get the axe, by the way. I’ve no idea who is lying/misremembering/wishing on that subject, but I know it doesn’t have squat to do with supporting the myth that McDaniels forced Cutler out of town, which is all I’m presently concerned with.

Again, I’m not an apologist for the guy, but let’s look at the stages of all this from McDaniels’ perspective:

  1. Pat Bowlen offers him the job of coaching the Denver Broncos. Can’t blame McDaniels.
  2. McDaniels takes the job, which I’d do, too (for half what McDaniels is getting paid, Mr. Bowlen!). Can’t blame McDaniels.
  3. McDaniels fires Bates, whose offense wasn’t nearly as effect as it appears on paper, and whose fate was sealed with the arrival of the new system. Can’t blame McDaniels.
  4. Cutler, who was already known to be pouty and immature, is pouty and immature about how his buddy Bates is gone. Can’t blame McDaniels.
  5. Sometime later, someone calls McDaniels to discuss a trade for the quarterback who hasn’t been all that thrilled about all the changes. As we’ve already seen, Cutler was giving strong hints of wanting to leave in the immediate aftermath of Shanahan’s firing, and then, according to his agent, things “disintegrated” with the firing of Bates. McDaniels surely knew all this when the phone rang and he listened to someone propose a trade for Cutler. Leaving everything else aside, I happen to think it’s his job to listen to offers for anyone on the team, but obviously Cutler’s behavior and statements might have made him even more receptive to listening. We don’t really know. What we do know, however, is this: McDaniels listened, but he didn’t instigate; he considered, but he didn’t do it. That should, of course, have been the end of it. Can’t blame McDaniels.

If Cutler asked for the trade when you claim he did why was he so upset when the story broke and even more upset when McDaniels told him we dont plan on trading you but we could if we can get the right deal.

Probably because he’s been told, from a young age, that he’s a semi-divine athlete before whom we should all grovel. He wouldn’t be the first to have been told that, and the honest truth is that we, as a society, enable the resulting behavior.

As for McDaniels’ refusal to give him some sort of “never trade” promise … I applaud the principle of his stance for a couple of reasons. First, I happen to hate the athletic boot-licking in our society (at all levels); it results in too many prima donnas acting as “role models” for our children. Second, everyone should be theoretically tradeable.

Now that I’ve said that, though, this is the one place where I think we might be able to blame McDaniels a bit. Because although I wholeheartedly agree with the theory of having every player “on the block,” I just don’t think you continue to harp on that fact to your pouting hot-head of a quarterback. Dance around it if you must, but it doesn’t help to keep flashing that sign, you know? Besides, while I would have considered Cutler trade fodder on principle, the acceptable trade would’ve involved, I dunno, Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson coming to the Broncos for Jay Cutler and a bag of Doritos.

Why did McDaniels lie when the story was broke not once but twice trying to cover up the fact.

As far as I know, he never denied taking a call.  He denied actively trying to trade Cutler, which is all the difference in the world.

why didnt he just come out from the beginning and say Cutler asked to be traded. He didnt do it because it did not happen.

Again, I never said he did ask for one in the beginning. Don’t you hate it when people put words in your mouth?

Rick Reilley from Sports Illustrated (who has more credibility than you do. who are you anyways?) says he has sources inside the club that says Cutler tried calling Bowlen a couple of times.

Okay, I admit I was really smiling at this point in my reading, since the football stuff is becoming a sidenote to the real fun of this comment, which is that I can’t help feeling like Dale thinks I’m somebody else. Somebody he’s very angry at. Except then there’s that “who are you anyways?” line, which sounds like he knows I’m a nobody he doesn’t even know. Except that he opened this whole comment blast with that “as usual you don’t know what you’re talking about” bit. So I’m both confused and bemused.

Anyway, Dale’s trying to attack the fact that Pat Bowlen has claimed that Cutler (his millionaire employee) repeatedly refused to return his calls. The Rick Reilly piece (note spelling) he refers to, which appears on ESPN’s website (Reilly no longer works for Sports Illustrated), is nigh worthless. Seriously. I liked Reilly quite a bit when he wrote for SI, but he loses some steam here by claiming he has three conveniently unnamed sources (interestingly, and contra Dale, he does not term them as “with the club”) that claim Cutler did in fact call the boss back. Oh, and then he makes some dark insinuation that because one of Bowlen’s underlings is a cousin of George W. Bush, you know, well, we can’t trust anything McDaniels says. (Not sure where that logic train derailed, but it’s sure in the ditch, Rick.)

What Rick let’s go unmentioned is that Cutler’s initial response to the “no call back” business was to deny having ever been called. When he and his agent continued to make this claim — Bowlen never called, they said, so of course they can’t be blamed for never calling back — Bowlen offered to publicly release the phone records. Cutler and his agent promptly piped down.

Yet now Rick Reilly’s anonymous sources — for all we know his coffee mug, a german poodle, and his aunt’s roommate’s sister’s cousin (twice removed) — say Cutler tried to call back like, um, a bunch of times, dude. Which, if true, would make things worse for the quarterback, since it would make him both a liar and an idiot: a liar since he earlier denied ever getting a call, an idiot because all he ever needed to do to clear his name is hand over a photocopy of his phone records.

Whats sad is people believe you because you have a column. They just cant use their own brains instead they listen to a hack like you

I almost broke out laughing to hear that I “have a column.” I do? Where?  And why am I not getting paid, damnit?  Because surely you can’t be talking about this backwater tidal lagoon of a personal blog, Dale.

And since when has anyone believed me about anything?

Seriously, I’d like to know.  Because although I’m enjoying the ego-stroke of thinking myself a columnist, I’d like to mix it up a bit with the power-trip of thinking myself in possession of brainless, habitually hack-following hordes of minions I can unleash upon the world.

I have 14.3 unnamed sources who agree that it’d be a lot of fun.


  1. Frankly I think you should have a column–about what and with whom is the question!!!

    A fun read.


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