Archive for December, 2012

Posted: December 24, 2012 in Bunker

According Rich Cimini, Tim Tebow requested he not be used in any Wildcat packages in today’s game against the San Diego Chargers. Tebow was unhappy about being passed over as the starting QB sport. The irony is of course, in Denver, Tebow was the 3rd string QB when John Fox, handed the starting QB spot to Tebow over Brady Quinn.

 

When the Jets acquired Tebow for 3rd and 4th round pick. It was widely assumed that it was only a matter of time before Tebow took over the Jets offense. It was a combination of Tebow’s immense popularity coming off of his 7-4 record (including a playoff win in Pittsburgh) and Mark Sanchez’s wildly inconsistently play in his first four years as the Jets QB.

 

True to form, Sanchez was excellent (Week 1 vs. Buffalo), horrendous (Week 15 at Tennessee) and an embarrassment to the position of Quarterback (Thanksgiving vs. Patriots). But each week Coach Rex Ryan would announce that Sanchez would start the following week. Other than a handful of gimmick Wildcat packages, Tebow didn’t play. He never started for the Jets. When Sanchez was benched, he was benched for Greg McElroy, not Tim Tebow. Jets fans clinging onto any desperate glimmer of hope and Tebow enduring fans claimed the Tebow deserved to be the starting Quarterback.

The Tebow deserves it crowd bases their argument on the assumption that because Sanchez was such a horrific Quarterback, that Tebow, who was told he would have the opportunity to compete for the starting job, should take over. There are several aspects that I find problematic with this assumption. This assumes that the fan, who has no access to practices or Tebow’s, knows better about Tebow’s abilities than his coach. Second, every player is given the opportunity to compete for a starting spot during training camp and during practices. It was clear from the Jets preseason, Tebow was mediocre at best. It was made even clearer by his teammates that they did not trust his ability to lead the team offensively. In the few opportunities Tebow received the Jets saw no real discernible difference in offensive production. But yet we’re supposed to make an exception for Tebow.

 

There seems to be very little possibility in the minds of Tebow supporters that there is a possibility Tebow could be significantly worse than Sanchez. There seems to be no possibility that much like Tebow the year before, Greg McElroy outplayed Tebow in practice and thus was bumped from Third String to starter. There couldn’t be any possibility that the man whose career completion percentage is a porous 47%. Tebow is a that caricature 47%-er Mitt Romney described.

 

Tebow (and his fans) felt the sense of a entitlement that he deserved the spot, because he wanted it and was told he had the opportunity to get it. Tebow may be the hardest worker in the business, but at some point hard work, talent competency have to meet. Tebow’s not the only diva professional athlete we’ve ever seen, except for some reason his fans seem to make an excuse for his behavior. At every point, Tebow’s been coddled and defended with sports platitudes that haven’t translated into very much of anything this year. I wonder if this were Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, RGIII or Russell Wilson would we use these same excuses? What if this was Terrell Owens?

 

In the end, the Tebow story has to die. It has to fade. More Meril Hoge rants are necessary, we can’t have continue to let these double standards exist. He’s the gutsy underdog but then a prima-donna. He’s just a winner, but can’t start over Mark Sanchez. He brings teams together, but the teams he’s on seem to be divided about his presence. We’ll see what’s next for Tebow in Jacksonville, hopefully he earns what he deserves. 

 

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Bob Costas recited the end of Jason Whitlock’s December 1st article urging the NFL to cancel the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium. Costas received quite the backlash from the public, who didn’t think it was the appropriate time to “debate” gun-control. I quibble with this characterization for two reasons. Bob Costas did not debate the gun-control issue, he opined about gun-control, which whether we like it or not played a role in deaths of both Kassandra Perkins and Jovan Belcher. Whether or not it was the primary issue is irrelevant, Costas’ essay is a platform for him to give his opinion about a subject concerning the sport of football. He did not ask to repeal the 2nd Amendment, he spit a cold hard truth about the platitudes we use when tragedy strikes sports.

 

The irony of it all is that the point both Costas and Whitlock were attempting to make in their respective essays were reinforced by the responses by many in the public. “There’s no place for political commentary in Sunday Night Football.” Sunday night football and Monday Night Football and national televised sporting events have always been political. From the 5000 sq. yard American flags draped on the field to the passionate singing of the National Anthem at every game. When players showboat or don’t look the way we think they should at a particular position, we comment and boy do those comments always toe the line of racial and cultural politics. But when the issues aren’t easily dismissed by saying something along the lines of “this isn’t a racial issue,” “he doesn’t play the game the right way,” or “player safety” the public tends to cower away from the issue and decide that sport is not the place to play out those so-called political agendas.

 

Unless it’s tied up in feel good story, an answer or a human interest documentary we have very little room in the sports world to address the deeper political issues that play out on a regular basis. Whitlock wasn’t too far off when he compared NFL on Sundays to church, there are some things we aren’t allowed to bring into the Church. Guns are one of them and this past Sunday, Costas brought guns into our sacred grounds and the senseless unproductive mudslinging commenced.