He's watched as closely as any Bears player, on and off the field, but QB Jay Cutler is not a media darling. It has been well known for a while that he's not interested in becoming one, either, although he said Sunday that he's trying to be more friendly during the question and answer sessions.
Cutler looks disinterested at times, will offer a few, short words in response to a question that he finds particularly bothersome or trivial, doesn't smile much and rarely seems to be enjoying his interactions with reporters every Wednesday at Halas Hall.
That approach doesn't sit well with some people.
In the days leading up to the Bears' playoff battle against Seattle, his personality, or at least the one he shows in public — his friends on the team suggest that there is a different side of Cutler — was skewered by a national writer.
He has not won any popularity contests since getting traded to Chicago before the 2009 season, even with a fan base that was ready to embrace him from the start. The obsession with analyzing his demeanor is probably not going away, but with his play on the field, Cutler is making all that talk a side story in the background of a more meaningful tale.
In his first career playoff game Sunday, he threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more, and the Bears won, setting up one of the most anticipated games in franchise history against the Packers at Solider Field in the NFC championship.
There was an errant throw or two, including one that was nearly picked off by Seahawks S Jordan Babineaux at the Bears' goal line. Cutler's game wasn't flawless, but TE Greg Olsen, who caught the first of his TD passes, was impressed.
"I don't know if you're going to get any better performance out of a quarterback in the playoffs," Olsen said of Cutler's showing against the Seahawks. "I don't know what he threw for in yards. Who cares? Two runs (for touchdowns), two throwing touchdowns, no turnovers. He was making those decisions and moving us up and down the field. I don't know what more he could of done from that position in any game, but let alone a huge playoff game. You can't give enough credit to what he did."
But what if Cutler does do something even better against Green Bay? What will people say if Cutler does not make costly errors, outduels Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and leads the Bears to a win in one of the biggest games they have ever played in, sending Chicago to its second Super Bowl in four years?
He'll go from being the maligned quarterback that didn't play up to his potential to one on the verge of breaking through to join some elite company in the Super Bowl, and critics of his persona will seem much less relevant.