Jay Christopher Cutler (born April 29, 1983) is a quarterback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. He played football at Vanderbilt University. Cutler began his professional football career with the Denver Broncos, who selected him as the 11th overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft. He spent three seasons with the Broncos before he was traded to the Bears in 2009.
Jay Cutler was born in Santa Claus, Indiana. Cutler attended Heritage Hills High School in Lincoln City, Indiana. He started three years at quarterback, amassing a combined 26–1 record in his junior and senior years, including a perfect 15–0 during his senior year. Cutler and his team outscored opponents 746–85, including a 90-0 shutout at Pike Central. During his senior year, Cutler connected on 122-of-202 passes (60.4%) for 2,252 yards with 31 touchdowns, while rushing 65 times for 493 yards with 11 touchdowns. He also started at safety for three years, intercepting nine passes as a senior, 12th overall in the state. His team’s perfect record during his senior year included the school’s first 3A state championship, where Heritage Hills beat Zionsville in overtime, 27-24. The most notable play of the game occurred when Cutler lateraled the ball to the halfback, Cole Seifrig, who then passed it to Cutler in the end zone to end the game. It was Seifrig’s 4th touchdown pass of the season.
Cutler was named a first-team All-State selection by the Associated Press as a senior. In addition to playing football in high school, he was a first-team All-State selection in basketball and garnered honorable mention All-State accolades as a shortstop in baseball.
Jay Cutler grew up as a Chicago Bears fan during his youth in Indiana.
Cutler attended Vanderbilt University, where he started all 45 career games that he played for the Commodores, the most starts by a quarterback in school history. He did not miss a game due to injury. The Commodores were 11-35 during his tenure, including going 5-27 versus the SEC. In 2002, Cutler set the school record for touchdowns and rushing yards by a freshman and rushed for more yards than any other Southeastern Conference quarterback that year. The Associated Press honored him with a first-team freshman All-SEC selection. In 2004, as a junior, Cutler completed 61.0 percent of his passes, setting a school record, while throwing for 1,844 yards with 10 touchdowns and a career-low five interceptions.
The 2005 season, Cutler’s final year of play at Vanderbilt, was his most successful. As an 11-game starter, he completed 273-of-462 passes (59.1%) for 3,073 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions, as he became the first Commodore to win the SEC Offensive Player of the Year (coaches and media) since end Bob Goodridge in 1967. With his senior-season performance, Cutler became the second Commodore to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season, while his 273 completions and 21 touchdowns ranked second on the school’s single-season list. He led the Commodores to victories over Wake Forest, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Richmond and Tennessee. The Commodores also scored the second most points ever (42) laid upon the Florida Gators at their current home field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Vanderbilt nearly upset the 13th-ranked Gators before falling 49–42 in the second overtime after a controversial excessive celebration call prevented the commodores from going for 2 at the end of regulation. Reflecting on Cutler’s college career, former Denver Broncos safety John Lynch said, “If this guy can take a bunch of future doctors and lawyers and have them competing against the Florida Gators, this guy is a stud.”
The Commodores ended their season, and Cutler’s Vanderbilt career, at Tennessee against the Tennessee Volunteers with a 28–24 win. The victory was Vanderbilt’s first over the Volunteers since 1982, the year before Cutler was born. The win also marked Vanderbilt’s first victory over Tennessee on the Volunteers’ home field in Knoxville since 1975. Cutler passed for three touchdowns and 315 yards during the game, becoming the first quarterback in school history to record four consecutive 300-yard passing performances. Cutler’s final play in college was the game-winning (and streak-ending) touchdown pass to teammate Earl Bennett against Tennessee. A finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (nation’s top senior quarterback), Cutler was a first-team All-SEC pick by the league’s coaches and led the conference with a school-record 3,288 yards of total offense.
While at Vanderbilt, Cutler was a three-year captain and four-year starter, setting school career records for total offense (9,953 yds.), touchdown passes (59), passing yards (8,697), pass completions (710), pass attempts (1,242) and combined touchdowns (76).
Awards and honors
- The Sporting News third-team freshman All-American (2002)
- Associated Press first-team freshman All-SEC (2002)
- First-team All-SEC (2005)
- SEC Offensive Player of the Year (2005)
- Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist (2005)
Vanderbilt University school career records:
- Total offense: 9,953
- Touchdown passes: 59
- Passing yards: 8,697
- Pass completions: 710
- Pass attempts: 1,242
- Combined touchdowns: 76