06 October 2015 - 11:32, by Medialore LLC
What do Jay Cutler and Derrick Rose both have in common outside being paid to be the face of their respective franchises? Well plenty more than people think, or at least actually mention.
You’ve heard it a thousand times. Jay Cutler, football’s greatest tease. Much maligned for leading coaches and franchises on with an arm that would have you trade away all 52 other starters. Great athleticism, size, speed for the position and a football IQ that does not make you forget he’s is a Vanderbilt alum.
Derrick Rose, arguably the most dynamic and athletic point guard to ever hit the hardwood. Can cross up kobe and dunk on Shaq in one possession all at 6 feet two inches. A new era point guard that has many general managers look past any pg today resembling the great John Stockton.
Both Cutler and Rose make the most money on their respective teams. Rose has a max contract that has him paid as an elite player. Cutler was rewarded a contract that made him the highest paid offensive player last year. Both players now have the local and national fan base criticizing their earnings due to insufficient play – granted for slightly different reasons.
Cutler’s individual numbers as well as wins and playoff appearances positions him as a mid-level QB and Derrick Rose’s injuries has caused him to miss over 65% of his games within the last three years. When relatively healthy last year, Rose did not produce numbers that reflected a top 5 point guards, or even a top 25 player overall in the NBA.
Moral of the story, both are overpaid as hell.
Alas, the real differences between the two. Rose has always received fan support because of the love he’s displayed for his hometown along with the unquenched thirst to bring home a championship. Rose’s brand narrative stems around a rags to riches story that supplied hope to many kids with similar upbringings. He has publicly worn this brand on his sleeve while gaining points addressing Eric Gardner death with dawning the black “I Cant Breath T-shirt.” Rose was also able to brand himself as a tough hard nose “Chicago style” baller through his rigorous and tough style of play, which lead to early individual and team success. This was not done through clever word play or eye catching off the court-charisma, rather by saying less to the media, while having his game and clever Adidas commercials speak to this branding created through Rose playing to the narrative. This lead to a cultish following, mainly by Chicago fans and some media that granted Rose more leeway than most players in his position. Rose’s PR didn’t really take a true hit until recently when he informed the press he was eyeing earning more money two years before becoming a free agent. This along, with him often publicly sharing how he needs to make decisions for himself and family before the bulls is what has truly damaged his brand to date.
For all intents and purposes, it appears that Jay Cutler never aimed for endorsements because he never created a favorable narrative for himself outside of claiming he had an arm stronger than John Elway early in his career. Cutler verbally bet on himself to the media early on, which lead to inconsistent years and an inevitable trade to Chicago from Denver. When Cutler came to the football friendly town of Chicago, he, like Rose did not speak much to the media or social media. His style of play was also very gritty and tough, taking a league leading 52 sacks in 2011 while still putting up impressive numbers and leading the Bears to a 7-3 record before his season ending thumb injury. However, Cutler’s brand never connected with the city’s character or fan base. He rarely expressed emotions after wins or losses, and never took sincere ownership in putting the Bears on his back like Rose did with the Bulls. It seemed as if Cutler never took enough blame when they loss, even when he wasn’t to blame.
Loosing never irked him enough, and it was always the worse kept secret that teammates weren’t very fond of him, which was not the case with the Bulls and Rose. To put the cherry on top, Cutler guest hosted a radio show with Waddle and Silvy on ESPN Chicago in an attempt to build his brand and reshape his image. However, Cutler ended the agreement after the team’s loss to the Dolphins at home in week 7, a move that many fans thought was a cop out. That’s when his opportunity to show Chicago he was one of them vanished.
These are two polarizing five star athletes with two elite contracts between them and two disappointing outcomes. One star has his fanbase divided with much hope lingering, while the other has no fans and even less hope remaining. You can argue that Rose’s situation is better than Cutler’s but is it really? The power of good PR can make you believe almost anything.