Tim Tebow is not impressed
Right off the bat, you're probably going to assume that I hate Tim Tebow. That I'm a "hater." That's really just not the case though. Timmy Terrific seems like a genuinely lovely young man and people that are brimming with Tebow related rage make me a little nervous. It makes me wonder if they kick kittens too.
That being said, there's no denying that the national media obsession with the Jets backup quarterback is becoming grating. It's hard to believe that Tebow has been center stage for just over a year at this point, because it seems like nothing short of an eternity.
Unfortunately, America is deep in the grips of Tebowmania and there is no end in sight. Whether or not I like this kid is irrelevant—he's the worst thing ever to happen to sports. And here are 15 reasons why...
This isn't a Tim Tebow-specific problem in the NFL. Coaches, players, and owners all strive to master the art of talking and talking while saying absolutely nothing. So it's not the fact that Tebow-talk is all goobery smiles and no substance that is problematic.
The real problem is that the Jets backup quarterback doesn't need a press conference to begin with. First of all, he's a backup quarterback. Second, everyone knows that Tebow is really excited to do anything and everything—he's Spongebob Squarepants. And finally, he's a backup quarterback.
I wish the Raiders would have scheduled a press conference for Matt Leinart when they signed him in the offseason. It would have been Matt Leinart in an empty room and you would have heard crickets as he stood at the podium awkwardly.
I vividly remember the first time I saw this abomination on ESPN's morning glass-cracking, ear piercing screamfest known as FirstTake. I sat in stunned silence as I witnessed all of the nonsensical, repetitive talking points Skip Bayless had been shrieking for months being set to music and delivered in the form of an auto-tuned rap.
This national horror is terrible on so many levels. First of all, anyone who has watched FirstTake more than a few times knows that Bayless has a long history of race-baiting. So I'm not sure if a rap song was the best vehicle to express the undying Tebow love of the man who insists Robert Griffin III will never be liked by white fans in Washington.
Everything about this is just wrong, and it's when I decided that the Bayless obsession with Tim Tebow was reaching restraining order territory; I've never seen a member of the media so endlessly devoted to and enamored with an athlete.
A suggestion for Timmy: Check the closet and under the bed before going to sleep.
Listen, I don't care if Tim Tebow is a virgin. I don't care if he's not a virgin. I just don't understand why this is something that needs to be discussed by anyone. In fairness to Tebow, I don't think he's the one bringing this issue up on the regular, but he certainly hasn't ever shied away from answering it.
His willingness to answer the question and the endless attention he's received as a result is likely what drove Olympic 4th place hurdler Lolo Jones to her virgin confession on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in March 2012. The unnecessary revelation scored Jones a veritable goldmine in free publicity.
But is all publicity good publicity? Maybe if you're a Kardashian, but does an NFL franchise owner answering questions about the v-card status of his backup quarterback on CNBC at 8:00 a.m. really do anything to forward the club? No, it's just weird.
And seriously, what happened to journalistic integrity—pervmeisters.
I'm not sure that ridiculous Tim Tebow tattoos have "ruined sports," but there's no denying that the world was a better place before I saw this mythical fantasy tattooed on some weirdo's back. Seriously, what possesses a grown man to do something like this?
It's one thing to get a centaur-Tebow tattoo to satisfy the conditions of a lost bet; welshing on a sports bet is a big no-no. But to go out willingly and pay money for a monstrosity like this because you want to? Yeesh. That's just not right.
Let's face it, Stephen A. Smith is no match for Skip Bayless, his adversarial and ghoulish FirstTake counterpart. In the debate department, Bayless routinely wipes the floor with the malleable Smith, particularly when they are talking about the NFL rather than the NBA.
Smith often falls prey to Bayless' verbal traps, which makes him feel like he's backed into a corner. And when Smith feels like he's backed into a corner, the only thing he knows how to do is try to scream his way out of it. He doesn't like Tebow, but he has no idea how to make a reasonable case against him when Bayless is defending him like a protective mama Grizzly bear defends her cubs.
So instead, he just yells. And then Bayless yells. And then they both yell. Wash, rinse and repeat daily throughout the entire NFL season…and most of the offseason too.
In case you haven't heard, FirstTake co-host Skip Bayless likes Tim Tebow. LIke really likes him. Like really really likes him. Like passing him notes in study hall and staying in on Saturday nights in the hope that he'll call, only to spend the night writing in his diary and pining away for him while listening to Adele on continuous loop likes him.
My point is just that Skip Bayless likes Tim Tebow. He likes him so much that going just one single episode of FirstTake without uttering his name is such an exercise in endurance that everyone else employed by the show feels the need to shout about it from the rooftops, rendering #TebowFreeTV null and void by talking incessantly about him themselves.
Seriously ESPN—it's not Tebow Free TV if everyone else in the room is still talking about Tebow.
Not that there's anything wrong with Skip liking Tim. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a couple of super heterosexual dudes exchanging glances and compliments in a display of strictly platonic bro-love.
And the fact that Skip would take Tim Tebow over Aaron Rodgers if given the choice? Obviously just the reasonable manifestation of his professional respect for the job that Tebow does on the football field. Certainly not related to any other unspoken desires.
Tim Tebow has had three different head coaches in his three years in the NFL. He's not to blame for anything that happens to his head coach, but his presence has put them all in very bad positions at one time or another. Josh McDaniels was on the hot seat instantly for burning a first round draft pick on Tebow after driving Jay Cutler out of town the year before. McDaniels was kicked to the curb in December 2010, Tebow's rookie season.
Veteran head coach John Fox inherited McDaniels' mess in 2011. He was obviously lukewarm (at best) on Tebow's talents, but a slow start and ridiculously ineffective Kyle Orton forced Fox's hand in starting the fan favorite. He worked valiantly to adjust the offense to Tebow's talents, leading to the Broncos making a surprise splash in the playoffs. But week-to-week the strain on his face, and the face of team VP John Elway, was evident when answering the unending barrage of Tebow related questions.
When the Broncos landed Peyton Manning in the offseason, they began shopping Tebow and, like a moth to a flame, the Jets were first in line to add a headlining act to their circus. Currently the Jets are in a four-way tie for first place in their division, but it's hard to imagine them pulling away from the pack. And if they don't make the playoffs for a second straight year, Rex Ryan's job will likely be in jeopardy and the decision to bring in Tebow will be endlessly questioned.
The irrational rage and devotion that Tim Tebow inspires is like a giant, ravenous two-headed monster that feeds strictly on the hostility of the other side. Sure the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy on the team when things aren't going well, but financing billboards is more than a bit extreme.
Honestly, I could go on and on, although I'd rather not. Tebowmania is completely out of control, but it's only half the problem. Which brings us to...
Irrational rage. The other side of the two-headed monster. As much as I can't stand the unwavering devotion to this kid, I find the unwavering commitment to bagging on him just as irritating.
After all, one wouldn't exist without the other.
This may be a personal thing, but I was entertained by Tebowing for about a day. Much like planking, owling, Gronking, Teapotting or any other ridiculous frat boy fad that may come along in the future, Tebowing got (and continues to get) more attention than it should.
I realize that in this information age and since the advent of the 24 hour news cycle, news outlets and various other media need to think outside the box in order to create new content around the clock. But you have to draw the line somewhere, right?
Annoying as it was, Tebowing was a story for awhile in 2011 because everyone in the country seemed to be doing it—even NHL mascots. But there's no reason people should still be engaging in this nonsense. I'm looking at you, Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel, who was Tebowing in the midst of Hurricane Isaac in August 2012.
Because Tim Tebow, like most NFL players, never says anything particularly interesting or noteworthy, the media is forced to make mountains out of mole hills in order to meet their quotas for Tebow talk.
The most ridiculous piece that has been recurring nationally for all of 2012 is the "Tebow for President?" story that was first published by ABC's Matthew Dowd in December 2011. This (supposed) journalist laid out his case for electing Tebow the Quarterback of the United States. Comedian Bill Maher sarcastically suggested it a full month earlier, but Dowd was the first to seriously embrace the idea.
Maybe it's just because we're in an election year, but this idiocy caught fire and has resulted in weekly stories speculating about Tebow's potential political future, since God knows he sure sucks at playing football.
Since then the "Tebow for President?" story has been written and re-written on a weekly basis by countless publications, including: IB Times, NFL.com, U.S. News & World Report, Denver Post, Washington Post and Yahoo! Sports—to name just a few. This story has been so prevalent that Tebow already has polling numbers to consider and campaign merchandise being produced.
For the love of God, someone just make this all end. Please.
It's impossible to avoid the question of religion entirely when discussing Tim Tebow, which is just what he wants. It's not that I have any serious issues with people practicing their faith in a public forum. Football players all over the league do the same things that Tebow does on the field every single week, but the difference is that nobody in the media seems to care.
I'm not sure why a post-game prayer circle with players from two teams is not news, but Tebow kneeling down on the sideline in between drives grabs national headlines. Personally, I think that religion and sports are two very different worlds that I don't care to combine. They get people worked up in entirely different ways.
It's like when celebrities decide they're political experts—just make movies that entertain us and keep your trap shut about who I should vote for. Am I right?
Tim Tebow relishes the underdog role in the same way the New England Patriots have for the last decade. But, much like the Patriots, Tebow has never been an underdog. The mysterious doubters known simply as "they," do not exist in reality, but are actually just ghostly manifestations manufactured to motivate this morally (and sexually) chaste young man.
Take the claims made by Tebow in this commercial for FRS Healthy Energy drink, for example. Let's examine the statements and separate fact from fiction:
They said I couldn't be a high school quarterback. Maybe someone said this to him at some point, but that's only because he was home schooled. A1996 law in Florida allowed home schooled kids to play sports at schools, and Tebow played at a Christian academy before going on to lead a public high school to a state championship.
They said I couldn't get a D1 scholarship. Tebow was a high school superstar who attracted national attention. He was one of the top prospects in the entire country and was sought after by a number of the country's top programs, including: USC, Michigan, LSU, Alabama and, of course, Florida.
You can't make it. You're not good enough. You're not skilled enough. Nobody said this to him, ever. Seriously. Certainly not before college.
They said I couldn't win a Heisman. Nobody said this. Tebow won the Heisman his first season as a starter for the Gators and was the first sophomore in history to win the award. Basically he won every award in college football in 2007, including a national championship.
They said I couldn't win a national championship. Really? They said that? Who said that? Nobody. That's who. Maybe someone said he couldn't win three national championships, but there were plenty of people who figured he could—and he nearly did.
They said I wouldn't be a first round draft pick. People were mixed on this. The general consensus was that he wasn't a first round talent at the position, but people speculated he could go anywhere in rounds 1-4.
They said I couldn't play in the league. They said he probably can't play quarterback in the league and guess what! His stats back up those assertions. But eventually he'll move to another position and we'll see if he's got staying power.
ESPN's undying obsession has been the subject of much debate (and mockery) online for well over a year. But it wasn't until former network analyst Doug Gottleib sat down with Dan Patrick in October 2012 that all suspicions were confirmed. He revealed marching orders handed down from the top: "You can't talk enough about Tebow."
When Patrick asked him if ESPN creates news or reports it, Gottleib replied "both." My mind immediately shot back to the full crew the Worldwide Leader in Stupid Tim Tebow Stories sent to cover Jets training camp in 2012. Usually that kind of stuff is farmed out to the local writers, but ESPN sent in big guns like Ron Jaworski and Hannah Storm to cover the first five days and kept poor Sal Paolantonio on the scene for the duration of camp.
Cork Gaines at Business Insider pointed out (something I actually noticed at the time) that ESPN gave Tebow's 25th birthday the national holiday treatment in August. According to Gaines, Tebow was mentioned 29 times in a single hour of SportsCenter. Which actually sounds about right, but he posts visual evidence to support his claims for all you skeptics. Gaines gives a rundown of a few of the topics discussed:
*Tebow's latest appearance in GQ
*Random SportsCenter personalities wishing Tebow a happy birthday and reading tweets about his birthday
*Sal Paolantonio relaying a story in which the Mayor of Cortland, NY said he was going to give his sister's phone number to Tebow for his birthday
*Herm Edwards saying he was going to give Tebow a conductor's hat for his birthday
Click over to Business Insider for the full post.
While researching a few different points for this slideshow, I came across an opinion piece on a Christian website that outlined the "Three kinds of people in this world who hate Tim Tebow." I won't leave you hanging on that one, here they are:
1. Genuine Florida Gator haters, i.e. Florida State or Miami Hurricane fans
2. Genuine Denver Bronco loathers, i.e. Raiders, Chargers or Chief fans
3. People who cannot stand to see a Christian living out his faith, living wholesomely, morally, doing well and giving the glory to God
Obviously it was written before he was traded to the Jets, but her overarching point is that if you hate Tim Tebow you either hate the team that he plays for or you hate God. Period. I'm not sure how widespread this belief is, but I was pretty stunned by the assertion.
What about the people who don't like Tebow because he's not good at his job? Whether or not he led the Broncos to the playoffs in 2011 is irrelevant because if he was any good, he would be starting somewhere. People have grown to hate Tebow because of the excessive media coverage that he actively courts.
Seriously, you have to at the very least appreciate his enthusiasm. He may not be destined for the Hall of Fame as a quarterback, but I'd like to see a shirtless Drew Brees try to flip over giant tires in the rain. No contest.
If you want to commend me for my insight or direct your irrational anger at me, feel free too hit me up on Twitter: Follow @blamberr