Mocking Jay Part 2: Cutler Banter Offers Temporary Retreat From NFL’s Woes

This is a column about Jay Cutler and thus you are presumably here for jokes. And memes. And cigarettes. And the BARE ass. Let’s head straight to the snark.

From the announcement…

Onto Monday’s introductory press conference where Cutler’s famous “Don’t Caarreeee” body language did not exactly get sunnier in Miami….

There are a billion more where these came from because mocking Jay Cutler has been its own art form for over a decade. It’s deliciously fun. It’s unifying. (Seriously, I’ve probably made 20 Twitter friends solely from likeminded Cutler wit.) Mostly, it’s easy and harmless.

Part of Cutler’s social media mojo stems from the fact that he has been consistently worthy of fan ridicule. Aside from racking up a whopping 4,526 passing yards in 2008, his final season in Denver, Cutler and his strong arm have always dripped with promise yet been a mainstay in that average to slightly above average category. Unlike his short-term broadcast compadre Tony Romo, who despite just a few ill-timed picks, achieved close to his maximum potential, Cutler has always been a “what if” guy. What if he could drop the ticked off angsty act? What if he could learn to really plant his back foot? What if he had an offensive coordinator who stuck around?

Even with Cutler’s deficiencies he was a no-brainer choice to replace injured quarterback Ryan Tannehill given his positive history with Dolphins’ head coach Adam Gase. I am an ardent Colin Kaepernick supporter baffled every day by his unemployment, but Cutler knows Gase’s system and had his highest career passer rating (92.6) and best TD-INT (21-11) when the two worked together in 2015.

As a result of the reunion, social media has been given a gift from the heavens. So has the league because from its vantage point the collective energy put into Cutler 2. has to be preferable to the real issues chipping away at its credibility.

While Cutler is hardly an ambassador for the game, he is safe but flawed enough to compelling He fits into a box. His biggest offense if that he didn’t vaccinate his children (ok, and that time he shoved his left tackle and his general penchant for showcasing his middle finger.) Like most quarterbacks, Cutler has not traditionally had much to say about society or politics, or really anything besides his hatred for Philip Rivers. He doesn’t require us to use many brain cells. He offers the ultimate in escapism.

These past few days of “dissecting” the Jay Cutler Experience, as The Ringer has dubbed it, have certainly been entertaining. But they have also been a reminder of how far league has shifted since the Cutler experience began in 2006. At some point we could light up a cig, make a pouty Cutler face and hit the hay with a uncluttered mind. Some surely still can. But most thinking people cannot.

The league is no longer one of absolute escapism for many fans (and media members, for that matter). This is a ramification of wrapping itself in certain causes while wholly eschewing others and drawing political lines in bold font.

Cutler mockery remains a fun sport, but in many ways it feels like a throwback to a time when everything about the NFL was ultimately insignificant. That we are no longer in those times makes the escapism fleeting and bittersweet, like drifting in and on out of a dream on Sunday morning, only to wake up to the harsh reality of a splitting hangover and a bare ass in your bed that you don’t really know.