Tears for Tebow

Tim Tebow, the quarterback of the Denver Broncos, was replaced this week as the team quarterback by certain hall-of-famer Peyton Manning. It’s something that happens every year to a number of teams but this is the first time it’s happened to a quarterback who is known more for the symbolism of his evangelical ways than the talent he possessed.

Is Tim Tebow a victim because of his religion?

A Los Angeles Times sportswriter thinks so. Although Bill Plaschke acknowledges that Tebow is the least accurate quarterback in football and acknowledges that a lot of smart NFL executives think he stinks, he insists Tebow is getting a raw deal:

I don’t want to face the truth that a quarterback can engineer four consecutive game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime and still get canned because he wasn’t pretty enough. I don’t want to believe that if this same quarterback makes religious gestures and references afterward, everyone forgets his victories and focuses on his beliefs.

Do you know that in the last five years, Peyton Manning has exactly one more playoff win than Tim Tebow? Just saying.

Plaschke said he wants “to believe that there is room not only for skill born of ability, but skill born of inspiration, and strength born of faith.” It’s a curious skill because there’s little proof that Tebow has NFL-level skill. There was the day he was drafted by the Broncos to be a backup quarterback, and there’s less so now.

It’s true, of course, the Broncos won 3 games in overtime. It’s also true that with the playoffs on the line, the Broncos — I’m sorry, Tim Tebow since football isn’t a team game in analyzing team results — lost four of the last five games they played. They beat the Steelers in the first game of the playoffs, then got smoked by the New England Patriots in a game that showed that some smart NFL executives are actually smart.

But writing on NPR’s “Monkey See” blog today, NPR’s Linda Holmes said the game of football needs someone the fans can love.

If you feel disenchanted with your team as an entity because you’re being treated shabbily in favor of zillionaires who don’t even really care about the game, it helps to at least have individual guys you admire for some reason. And if you have made that kind of investment in a seat — if you’ve practically taken out a second mortgage — the team had better give you something to feel good about, even if it’s not the win-loss record. A Tim Tebow, with his potential appeal to fans who admire his bearing in general and his public displays of his faith in particular — or substitute Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers, or obviously Peyton Manning — may become a better draw than even the team itself. Being a Cowboys fan (for example) is complicated when it feels like being a fan of a large, wealthy company that’s trying to take you for every dollar you have. Being a Tim Tebow fan or a Peyton Manning fan is easy if you believe the worst thing the guy is going to do is play badly.

The writer says “a team might reasonably prefer that you be loved by fans rather than feared by opponents.”

That’s an odd assertion that might get a good test. Tebow was dealt to the New York Jets this afternoon. Nothing — except, perhaps, a halfway-decent defense — could make a Patriots fan happier than the prospect of getting to play against a good guy with lousy talent.

  • BenCh

    Drafted as a 1st round pick, traded for a 4th round pick.


  • Jim Shapiro

    “NPR’s Linda Holmes said the game of football needs someone the fans can love.”

    But Linda, We the Fans of Rebellious True Talent HAVE someone to love.

    Randy Moss is back!

  • Robert Moffitt

    Tebow goes from obscurity to stardom as an NFL quarterback for the Broncos, now he makes headlines as a newly minted Jet, where he will make more money in one season than most Americans will earn in a lifetime.

    Yeah. He’s a victim.

  • John O.

    I’m with Mr. Moffitt 100 percent. The Broncos made a business decision and ran with it. Tebow was a draft pick of their former coach (McDaniels) and was on the payroll before John Elway walked through the door.

    Plaschke also forgets that Manning has a ring. Tebow doesn’t.

    I’m sure the NY tabloid headline writers are already hard at work…

  • kennedy

    “Nice” or “naughty” have very little to do with reward for a professional athlete. Tebow is not unfairly penalized for being good, it’s just that it doesn’t matter. Likewise, the quarterback for the Pittsburg Steelers is a “naughty” (understatement for serial sexual assault) athlete who is valued for his physical ability.

  • Tyler

    Why doesn’t anyone call what Tebow does, “showboating” ?

    How is it fundamentally different than the other obnoxious dances receivers do in the end zone?

    This has very little to do with the game of football, but then again, I’m a Packers fan.

  • http://ofbuckleyandbeatles.wordpress.com/ Drae

    @Jim Shapiro – I always knew we’d someday find common ground. Who could have predicted it would be Randy Moss?

  • Jim Shapiro

    Drae- I’m pleased.

    My take on Randy is that anybody who can consistently beat double coverage, catch a football with one hand, appreciates the medicinal and philosophical qualities of the herb, does what he wants when he wants, and runs over meter maids can’t be all bad.

  • Jim Shapiro

    …And how could I neglect to mention one of his most endearing acts – symbolically moons the Green Bay Packers organization and all of their sycophantic fans.

  • http://ofbuckleyandbeatles.wordpress.com/ Drae

    @Jim Shapiro-

    Indeed. Upon hearing the news he was a 49er, I tweeted to him to “Just beat Green Bay.”

    I really couldn’t agree with you more. Bringing people together – it’s the power of Randy.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Drae – After checking out your website, I realized that we have more in common than either of us might want to admit.

    I just think we probably arrived on some common ground from different sides of the barricades 🙂

  • http://ofbuckleyandbeatles.wordpress.com Drae

    @Jim – you are always more than welcome to stop by and chat with my blog partner and I anytime.