This is a slow time of the year for a sportswriter on the NFL beat. Free agency movement has dried up to a trickle. The draft is over. Training camps don’t open for months. What is there to write about?
If you’re Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports you dream up with a conspiracy theory. It’s not that Tim Tebow can’t find a job in the NFL because of his notable deficiencies as a quarterback. It’s because the 32 teams in the NFL got together and blackballed Tebow.
Silver has no quotes from anyone on the record. He hasn’t stumbled across a secret memorandum or e-mails. Tebow didn’t sit down and bare his soul wondering what had he done to provoke such unfair treatment. All Silver has is vague speculations and few facts.
As a journalist who has consistently experienced the wrath of Tebow Nation — mostly for passing along the slings and arrows voiced by various NFL players, coaches and talent-evaluators — I’m well aware that many devotees of the world’s most celebrated unemployed quarterback carry a heavy persecution complex.
Yet as Tim Tebow‘s career wheezes to an underwhelming halt, with less apparent interest in his services than Massachusetts funeral parlors have in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s remains, something strange is happening. Against all odds, I’m starting to wonder whether the man who helped the Denver Broncos become one of the league’s most stunning success stories in 2011 is getting unjustly blackballed.
This is some straight-up b.s. from yet another acolyte of the Church of Tebow. How can you decry the “cult-like following and media frenzy” that goes along with Tebow and then suggest Tebow is being blackballed?
Tebow is not being “blackballed.” His situation is the same as Charles Woodson, Vince Young, Michael Turner, Dwight Freeney, John Abraham and Brian Urlacher. He’s like hundreds of other homeless NFL veterans looking for a team to latch onto. In the time after the Super Bowl ends in winter and before training camps open in summer, teams cut loose players due to salary concerns, injury, age and for the reason Tebow was told to hit the bricks: lack of production. Tebow was let go because he didn’t get the job done.
It’s as if Tebow is the unwanted love child of Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell.
So, even though I sort of understand why Tebow is toxic, the fact that he’s not even being given a chance to compete for a third-string job is troublesome. And just as I feel compelled to call out the league when it comes to injustices like the dearth of minorities in offensive play-calling roles, the apparent blacklisting of a quarterback who went 7-4 as a starter in 2011 and won a memorable playoff game over the Pittsburgh Steelers doesn’t seem kosher to me.
Let me see if I can explain this to you, Mike.
Silver babbles about Tebow’s 7-4 record and playoff win over the Steelers when he was with the Broncos. Well, whoopie-damn-doo and So what? The NFL is not a “what have you done?” league. It is a “what have you done lately?” and Tebow was presented with a situation with the Jets to take the starting job away from incumbent Mark Sanchez and he couldn’t take the job. Tebow was so bad, loudmouth braggart and foot fetish freak Rex Ryan looked down his bench, saw Tebow collecting splinters and tapped third-stringer Greg McElroy to start against the Chargers.
“I liked what I saw from Greg against Arizona. And I like what I see on the practice field. I truly believe it’s best for our team right now. That’s how I feel about it,” Foot Freak Ryan said at the time.
That tells you everything you need to know about Tebow as a quarterback. He won, but he isn’t a winner. He wears a quarterback’s number, but he isn’t a pro quarterback. Not in the National Football League, not in the Canadian Football League and not even in the Lingerie League.
I’m not trying to hear this line about Tebow not getting a fair chance. What’s fair? He practiced with the team, the coaches had a chance to evaluate how well he did. Even a team as desperate for productive play at the most critical position looked at what The Chosen One and chose another option. It wasn’t a better option, but McElroy doesn’t come with baggage store that accompanies the Tebow Circus.
When its time to ride or die, Ryan had to decide between the second-string scrub with the drama or the third-string scrub with no drama. For the Tebowmaniacs that was the ultimate insult, but being bad at his job doesn’t deter the Tebow groupies like Silver. They desperately want to see their hero back in the league and desperation makes you do desperate things. Like trotting out bogus “expert” opinions to support your own.
Isn’t there a coach out there who can help Tebow get the most out of his abilities? Logic would suggest that someone with his level of commitment would be a strong candidate for improvement.
It may have already happened: After Tebow was released by the Jets, one of the franchise’s former quarterbacks, Vinny Testaverde, expressed his disappointment to ESPNNewYork.com’s Rich Cimini. Testaverde, who had just spent a week working with Tebow in Florida, said he and another ex-NFL quarterback, Chris Weinke, made a key footwork adjustment that produced noticeable results.
“Chris and I looked at Tim careful and we were both amazed,” Testaverde told Cimini.
“Everybody has been focusing on his throwing motion, trying to fix that, but nobody had picked up his footwork. His footwork was all screwed up …
“We got his footwork fixed. His throwing motion is now a non-issue. He throws with what we call ‘effortless power.’ He doesn’t have that elongated motion anymore and his head isn’t moving two-and-a-half feet when he throws it.”
According to Pro Football Reference.com, Vinny Testaverde played for seven teams in his 20 year NFL career. He played in two Pro Bowls and no Super Bowls and his career record is 90 wins, 123 losses and a tie. In 2001, Chris Weinke was the starter for the Carolina Panthers. He won his first pro game 24-13 over the Minnesota Vikings. The Panthers would drop their next 15 consecutive games. In five seasons in the NFL, Weike would win only one more game and no, that is not a misprint.
These are the holy men who are going to resurrect Tebow’s career from the dead?
Another former Jet quarterback Boomer Esiason had an opinion about Tebow. “You can say whatever you want about Tim Tebow,” Esiason said. “He played some of the worst football that any quarterback has ever played in the history of the game last year at times.”
“… All you have to do is watch him throw the ball. Just watch him.”
I have and Michael Silver has too. I don’t know what he’s seeing that I’m not.
Is Tim Tebow a nice guy? Never heard a bad word about the guy as a person. Is his Chrisitan faith being held against him? No more so than it was against Reggie White, another religious player who made no secret or apology for his beliefs. As long as he was getting the job done on the field, if Tebow were to drop to one knee, throw up devil horns and give praise to Satan, most NFL coaches and owners could care less.
Pro football is not played in May. When the doors open to training camp, it’s not only possible Tebow is invited by some team, it’s likely. It’s a long season, quarterbacks get hurt and when one does, Tebow will get a shot to latch on somewhere. It will be up to him to earn a job. Nobody owes him one.
Can you hear the Tebowphiles, chanting in the background? All we are saying … is give Tim a chance.
And is it possible — scarily — that I’m singing along?
Yes you are Brother Silver and please turn to the Book of Tebowing. Or in this case, Teblowing.
- Tim Tebow blackballed? Sensational headlines in story of unwanted QB (aol.sportingnews.com)
- Tim Tebow Rumors: ‘Blackballed’ QB Must Ignore Media to Save NFL Career (bleacherreport.com)
- Tim Tebow blackballed by NFL teams because of cult-like following, media frenzy (1weddingdresses1.wordpress.com)
- Report: Belichick “hates” Tebow as a player (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)