If you turned on ESPN today, there was good chance you heard a few of the station's many, many talking heads blathering on about Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. We're only in the second week of training camp, and already the media is desperate for a quarterback controversy to erupt between the two Jets quarterbacks.
So far, Rex Ryan has said nothing to indicate that he's wavered from his selection of Sanchez as the starter, and Tebow as the backup. Additionally, neither of the two players has said anything to indicate there is any tension or animosity between the them. As of now, there is no story here. Naturally, ESPN decided to make one up, letting us know that there's totally a rivalry between the two, and it's only a matter of time before the powder keg explodes.
Their evidence for this? Sanchez and Tebow don't follow each other on Twitter. No, seriously.
This a blatant example of a network reaching to create intrigue out of nothing. It's not that there couldn't be a quarterback controversy in New York this season, but as of now, there isn't one. Unfortunately, ESPN doesn't have the patience to wait for it to happen, so they've decided to simply pretend that it already did.
ESPN could spend its time talking about teams that actually do have a quarterback battle, like the duel between Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck in Tennessee, or the three-way battle between Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson, and Russell Wilson in Seattle. Those would both be better stories to cover simply because they are, in fact, actual stories. Unfortunately, ESPN doesn't seem to think there's any intrigue, so they stick to the "sexy" story of a Sanchez/Tebow battle despite the fact that as of now, there isn't one.
This is what happens when networks care more about grabbing ratings than they do about actual journalism. They know that Tebow is an extremely popular player, and any story about him will attract attention. As a result, they find ways to make everything about him even when they have nothing to report. As appealing as Tebow is, most fans would rather hear stories about things that are actually happening right now, rather than hear a popular player's name bandied about for no apparent reason. If ESPN realizes that, their football coverage will get a lot better.