All a writer need do to get people to read his or her work is mention Tebow. If an enterprising writer comments that Tebow will get the Patriots back to the Super Bowl, people will read it. If such pundits rant and rave and say Tebow stinks, people will read that too. Heck, I could write that he enjoys a good peanut-butter sandwich and it wouldn’t matter.
As long as Tebow is featured, readers will find it.
Need proof? You’re reading this right now, aren’t you?
When Tebow signed with the Patriots on June 11, I knew the web would be inundated with articles, columns and blogs, all trying to put their own unique spin on the breaking news. After all, when you work in the blogosphere, that’s the nature of the beast.
To be fair, I can’t fault anyone for striking while the iron is hot. His legion of devout followers can’t get enough of the guy, and a Tebow-Belichick union is journalistic gold—even for the so-called haters. Condemning people for trying to maximize exposure would be like condemning LeBron James for busting out a windmill dunk on an uncontested fast break.
The mob must have its show, and we’re here to give the people what they want.
But the iron has long since gone cold and at a certain point the obsession gets out of hand. We risk losing ourselves in the frenzy, becoming less like LeBron and more like JaVale McGee on “Shaqtin’ a Fool.”
By even writing this I’m now guilty as well.
Still, it’s hard to blame the media. If people didn’t read the stories we wouldn’t write them. So we keep flooding your Team Stream ™ and you keep drinking it in.
Which begs the question: Why?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for every reader, and if people want Tebow content then I’ll serve it to them piping hot with a garnish of bad jokes and mixed metaphors. But I still don’t get it.
Sure, other athletes get tons of publicity. Last season, Major League Baseball was consumed by the Year of Mike Trout. The reaction to LeBron’s “decision” was so fierce I feared getting whiplash every time I opened my Internet browser. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have been the toast of the NFL since the early 2000s and the debate over which is better will likely rage on long after they both retire.
But Trout had one of the best rookie seasons in baseball history, and the other three are all champions of their respective leagues as well as established superstars. Tebow is not.
Brady may dominate on the field, but Tebow inexplicably dominates the headlines.
Since Tebow signed with the Patriots last month, my Bleacher Report colleagues and I have cranked out over 40 reports, articles and updates devoted to the team’s new third-string quarterback. That means we’ve generated enough Tebow content for you to read a brand-new piece every single day and still have more left in your queue.
That’s just here on Bleacher Report alone. I can only imagine how many hundreds of similar pieces have surfaced on other major sites, message boards and privately run blogs.
While the sheer volume is a testament to our persistence, and it’s hard not to marvel at the imagination needed for our stellar crew of writers to cover one man from so many different angles, I must admit I’ve been overloaded to the point where I now just tune out most of it.
It’s not that I don’t like Tebow. I think he’s a better player than his critics give him credit for. Say what you want about his miserable completion percentage and inability to throw a football with any sort of consistency. He can work on those things while he rides the pine.
The bottom line is he won more playoff games for the Denver Broncos in 2011 than the exalted Peyton Manning did last season. He’s a proven winner, and I’m thrilled to have him on the Patriots.
But he’s still a backup.
In fact, he’s likely the backup’s backup. Unless Brady is injured or Bill Belichick finally teeters over the edge of brilliance and goes full-on insane, Tebow won’t see the field in any meaningful situations. Sure, he might come in for a few knuckleballs if the Patriots are up by 30 late in the game, but that’s about it.
When he was stringing together miraculous victories in Denver, he deserved any publicity he could get. He earned it. When he was featured as a sideshow act in Rex Ryan’s New York Circus last season he warranted at least some press. He didn’t earn it like he did in Denver, but there was a valid argument to be made that he deserved to start at quarterback over the comically inept Mark Sanchez.
The Jets did Tebow dirty. He deserved a chance to prove his worth and they never gave it to him. When they released him, he deserved a chance to redeem himself with a new team and nobody gave it to him until the Patriots swooped in. Now that he’s in New England he deserves the opportunity to work in earnest to improve without having to sift through a mountain of his own press clippings, and we can’t even give him that.
He shouldn’t warrant any more attention than Leon Washington, Ras-I Dowling or any other backup but fans and media alike continue to obsess over him like gossip rags hounding the Kardashians.
Even a certain television personality got in on the act, while he was on site covering the Spurs vs. Heat last month. That's right, while shooting on location in the middle of the NBA Finals, a major network devoted an entire segment to Tim Tebow's impact on the Patriots.
How many other backup quarterbacks command that type of around-the-clock coverage? Kevin Kolb? Nice try. Shaun Hill? Not even close. For that matter, how many starting quarterbacks receive as much attention as Tebow? There are sure-fire Hall of Fame quarterbacks, currently in the prime of their careers, who don’t garner half the attention he does.
He won’t attempt a meaningful pass. He might line up at tight end once in a blue moon, but he’s never played the position in his life and even after releasing Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots still have six tight ends on the roster. I’d be willing to make a healthy wager that we’ve already published more Tebow articles here on this site alone than the number of times he will actually see the field this season.
If that’s not overrated I don’t know what is.