I first saw Tim Tebow play football for the University of Florida as a freshman back-up quarterback. He’d come into the game on short yardage situations or when the team penetrated their opponent’s 15-yard line. The results were usually touchdowns and first downs. Sportscasters referred to him as the human sledgehammer. (The Oklahoma Sooners have their version of Tebow called the Bell-dozer; namely, Blake Bell a 6’6” 254-pound bruiser who you’ll see a lot of this fall.) |
It’s hard not to be impressed by what Tebow accomplished during his four years as a Gator. He won the Heisman Trophy sophomore year and was a finalist his last two seasons. In addition, he spent summers serving overseas missions; the kind where structures get built and people get fed not the Bible-thumping, y’all-come-to-Je-SUS sort. On May 20, 2013 millions of television viewers saw Tim give country singer Trace Atkins $200,000 for the Red Cross.
So as one looking on from the sidelines, Tebow seems like a good athlete and quite a decent fellow. What could be wrong with that? Apparently plenty; that is, according to pro football’s big brains and their legions of sycophants. First they do not like his throwing motion. Okay…so why not the same vitriol when Vince Young came out of Texas a few years back? Young has the ugliest delivery this side of last season’s quarterback from Nebraska. In fairness Young did not make the grade, and at 30 is trying to catch on in Buffalo. The point being Vince Young is still being given an opportunity. Where Tebow is involved there seems to be abject hatred that (apparently) extends to the CFL as well.
Enter Vinnie Testaverde former All-American and All-Pro quarterback. He says Tebow can throw the ball anywhere on the field with effortless ease, BUT…has poor footwork, which he, Testaverde, could straighten out. So far no one is taking him up.
According to the NFL Bible written by Packer Coach Vince Lombardi, “Winning is the only thing!” When Tebow received his only chance with a hapless Denver team they went 7 and 4, made the playoffs, and defeated the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. During the last two minutes of all games played league-wide that season, Tebow had the highest rating of all quarterbacks. Still the experts sniff that he cannot read defenses. His success really seemed to piss-off the establishment including Tebow’s boss, John Elway. His jersey was the most purchased in the league, which also angered the NFL gods. He won one more playoff game for Denver than Peyton Manning, one of the best ever at quarterback. Of course in fairness, Manning doesn’t play defense, which absolutely blew the Baltimore game. It was a gosh-awful epic choke. Oddly, the establishment credited the same inept defense with Tebow’s success a season earlier. Hmmm.
I’ll remind you I am neither a football expert nor an authority of philanthropy and religion. But I am one who listens before he speaks, observes the world with a beginner’s mind, and does his own thinking. I am definitely NOT one of those beer-fueled, home-team-jersey-wearing sycophants who sit in front of ESPN and parrot the so-called experts. Most vicariously-living fans never have an original opinion; only those given to them by smarmy sports reporters.
Here’s my bottom line: Why (oh, why) is Tebow being effectively blackballed from professional football if-winning-is-the-only-thing? What is it about him? Is it his “boy scout” image? Is he too Christian? With all the tattooed, self-promoting thugs in professional sports who can’t speak in two-syllable words you’d think he’d be welcomed. Erratic throwing? Can’t read defenses? There’s another left-hander in the NFL who’s received endless chances despite his erratic throwing and inability (so say the “experts”) to read defenses; namely Michael Vick. Vick did time for arranging dog fights. On the other hand, Tebow is a practicing Christian, which used to be a virtue. Nobody speaks up for the guy. Not the Manning brothers, Brees, Rodgers, Brady—nobody. Not even Tebow himself. He simply turns the other cheek, which further irritates the scribes and their lackeys. By the way, where are you, REVEREND Jesse Jackson. Oh, wait...that's right, Tebow may be Christian, but he's white.
Most disturbing to me is the vicious piling-on Tebow by a certain ESPN reporter with a Jurist Doctor (law) degree. He’s a former MVP quarterback with six NFL passing titles who was just like Tebow—even a lefty. I know. I saw him play through college and the pros. He’s the one guy I expected to defend the former Bronco and Jet. The man is a devout Mormon and the great-great-great grandson of Brigham Young. Hell, he was the original Tim Tebow!
Let’s look at the resume of Steve Young. He was an option QB in high school racking up 1,928 rushing yards on 267 carries his last two years. He backed-up wild man Jim McMahon at BYU who made two statements upon his departure to the Chicago Bears: 1) My favorite sight was watching Provo, Utah disappear in the rearview mirror, and 2) I don’t know what the team will do now; Young’s a runner and a ball-thrower, not a passer. At one point the BYU coaching staff considered making Young a defensive back. He began his 14-year pro career with the L.A. Express of the defunct USFL where he played QB and tailback. One Express game he rushed for 100-yards and passed for 300 more. Later as a 49er versus New Orleans he rushed for 102 yards on eight carries. Top that Russell, Griffith, et.al.! The guy was a horse—like Tebow. When the USFL folded, Young played for Tampa Bay where he went 3 – 16 as a starter with 11 TD passes and 21 interceptions. The Bucs considered Young a bust, drafted the aforementioned Vinny Testaverde, and sent Young to San Francisco where he and Steve Bono backed-up Joe Montana for three years. When Montana retired, Young was in-and-out of the lineup with Bono, and had not Bono sustained a knee injury…well, who knows.
Tebow’s great season with Denver was in his second year, which to my way of thinking puts him far ahead of Steve Young’s timetable. Both are articulate, southpaws, halfbacks-playing-quarterback, and religious—virtual clones. Of all people on this rocky orb who should identify and empathize with Tim Tebow it’s Steve Young!
So why (oh, why) doesn’t he? I have a theory based on observation and logic. I’ve noticed news and sports reporters today aren’t “real” reporters at all; that is, there is little intellectual honesty in what used to be a profession based on getting to the truth no matter what. Now they follow polls and see how “influential people” trend. Old hard-line reporters didn’t give a damn. The new breed thinks of themselves as “celebrities” and sell-out to rub elbows—not become ostracized—with mainstream opinion movers-and-groovers. If the comparison of Tebow and Young is obvious to a dumb schlep like me why haven’t the talking heads noticed it? C’mon, it’s not that hard! (I can hear it now: “Myers, when we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you.”)
Look, I could be wrong, and if so tell me why (oh, why) a guy like Steve Young isn’t Tebow’s biggest supporter? I don’t get it. I purely don’t.
Copyright by Gene Myers, author of AFTER HOURS: ADVENTURES OF AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESSMAN (2009), Strategic Publishing Group, New York, NY – a hilarious account of the author’s overseas travels; and SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE (2010), PublishAmerica, Fredericksburg, MD - a mildly sinister, but amusing work of fiction. Both are available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and available in Amazon Kindle and Nook formats. Watch for SALT HIS TAIL, a catch-me-if-you can crime thriller.
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