During the second quarter of the Bears big win over the Cowboys, ESPN cameras caught an uncomfortable exchange between Jay Cutler and offensive coordinator Mike Tice. After the Bears failed to get a first down, Tice sat down next to Cutler on the bench. As soon as Tice sat down, Cutler said something and then got up and walked away, with Tice still talking. The exchange didn't do much to make Cutler look like a team player.
After the game, Cutler said it was nothing:
“It wasn’t about anything," Cutler said. "I don’t have to sit by him the whole game do I?
"No (I wasn’t upset). What are we looking for here? I know we’ve got to sell papers, but ... I mean, we can’t read into everything. You guys have got to sell papers and it’s hard out there. But we can’t blow up every headline. Things happen in football games. Just because I walk off and go get water, that doesn’t mean much."
Without knowing what either man was saying, it looked bad. It looked like the move of a petulant teenager, not two grown adults discussing work. Even if we did know what both men were saying, it would still look bad. Getting up and walking away from someone who is trying to talk to you is not usually a sign of respect.
But later in the game, Tice and Cutler were laughing and gabbing on the sidelines. Cutler smiled and high-fived his teammates and coaches. He looked like a leader who was pleased with how his team played.
The point? What we see on the sidelines is a small sliver of the interaction between Cutler and his coaches and teammates. They spend meetings, practices, travel days and games together. While Cutler's blowing off of Tice didn't look good, it hardly gave us a complete picture of their relationship.