- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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The full Jay Cutler Body Language Experience was on display Thursday night in Green Bay. Moping, anger, pointing, disappointment, cockiness, slumped shoulders, disinterest. All there for the nation to see in plain sight.
Perhaps it’s time for Cutler and other football players to be informed about what their body language says to the media and those of us watching at home. If they can just keep a few things in mind, everyone will leave them alone.
Arms should never be crossed. This shows anger, frustration and an unwillingness to participate.
Same with putting one’s hands on the hips. Don’t do this. It suggests disappointment, frustration and reaching a point of quitting.
Do not throw your hands up into the air. Throwing your hands up into the air shows you are exasperated. You could also throw your hands up in the air to celebrate a good play, but that gives the impression of cockiness.
Do not do elaborate handshakes with teammates. It broadcasts that you are immature, arrogant and not taking the game seriously.
Do not point. Ever. Pointing at a fellow player or coach makes it appear as though you are blaming him for something. Football is a team sport. Everyone shares blame.
Do not point at yourself to take blame as if to say: “My fault there.” At least don’t do it more than a few times. If you continue to take blame, maybe you should consider playing better instead of always doing things that you can be blamed for. Also, sometimes your teammates make mistakes and need to be called out for them. Don’t take all the blame yourself. Be a leader.
Don’t just let your arms hang there limp at your sides. Be engaged. If you’re not engaged in the game, in the moment, people will think you don’t care about your job. Do things with your arms to give a positive impression to TV viewers and the media! Just none of the things above.
Your eyes must always be clear and determined.
Never look away from a teammate or a coach or the field. Especially not when a TV camera is focusing on you. Have TV camera awareness!
If you are caught looking away from the field or teammates or coaches, even if it’s because some weird bug or something flew by, you will appear to be disengaged and annoyed.
Be aware that looking directly at an opponent shows you are cocky. Also, refusing to meet an opponent’s gaze reveals a lack of self-confidence.
Don’t blink too much. You look nervous and unsettled.
Don’t blink too little. You look nervous and scared with your giant saucer eyes.
Never roll your eyes, even at an official. Show some respect.
Never look up at the sky. It can look like an exasperated eye roll. If you are looking up at the sky because God or a loved one is in heaven, make sure you add in a point or something to make it clear you’re not rolling your eyes. But then also realize your actions make it appear you are so self-important that you believe God plays a role in the outcome of your stupid football games.
Never look down at the ground. It’s the surest way to show that your spirit is crushed.
Don’t squint. Squinting makes you look like you are angry at the person you are looking at or blaming him for something. If you are squinting because you can’t see something, get contact lenses or Lasik already! Why did you wait until the season to realize you need glasses? You obviously don’t take your job very seriously.
Your eyes are the window to your soul, and are the best way for people thousands of miles away watching on television to know exactly what you are thinking and feeling.
And again, remember: Your eyes must always be clear and determined and engaged. It shows a will to win and passion for the game.
Just don’t ever be so passionate about the game that your eyes well up with tears. You will never live that down.
Don’t slump your shoulders. Slumped shoulders let everyone know you have given up and that you have no spine.
Don’t have your chest puffed out. What exactly have you done to walk around like a king? Everyone can always improve. You look very arrogant.
Be careful with the following: laughing, smiling, grimacing, frowning; or exhibiting anger, disappointment, surprise, confusion, concentration, empathy or pain. All of those can be very revealing, interpreted in any number of ways and fit into negative existing narratives about you.
Also, don’t appear robotic. Have emotion, or no one will ever respond to you.
If injured in any way, be sure to limp around to show that you are injured. But be mindful that excessive limping displays weakness and an inability to deal with pain. Don’t limp when playing because it raises the question that you are risking your long-term health for one game or for personal glory. But not limping during the game also gives the impression you were faking it before when you were limping on the sideline.
Never ride an exercise bike on the sideline unless you know 100 percent that you will re-enter a game. But if you know that, there’s no need to ride an exercise bike. You’re not special.
Stand close enough to your teammates at all times so a camera angle cannot make it appear you are purposely staying away from them because you dislike them or are angered by their play.
Don’t follow your teammates around everywhere on the sideline lest you seem desperate and unpopular and not the team leader, or that your teammates are trying to get away from you.
News Conference Body Language
Dress well. You are a professional and should dress professionally.
Don’t dress too well. Do you spend your time in the gym, watching film and practicing football, or shopping in Milan?
Have a positive attitude. Stand up straight. Don’t smirk or grimace.
Make sure your body language gives the impression that there is major room for improvement and that you are not overly positive.
Answer all questions respectfully, even stupid or clichéd ones.
Don’t let yourself get badgered by the media’s stupid or clichéd questions. Stand up for yourself.
Show emotion and that you care about your team and your performance. This is a big-time business with a lot on the line.
Don’t show too much emotion, or you will appear unhinged. It’s just a game.
Follow all of these body language tips 100 percent and you will be fine.
Or just win a Super Bowl, and you can do whatever you want.