Can we please call a timeout on all of the Tim Tebow coverage? Seriously, has there ever been a more over-publicized figure in all of sports? Many people love him, many people hate him; but the one thing we know is that the media really loves to cover him.
Controversy sells, and Tebow certainly brings that to the table. What makes him different from almost every other athlete who is covered ad nauseam on ESPN and every other medium, though, is that he really did nothing wrong to warrant this amount of good or bad coverage. He didn’t drink and drive; he didn’t get in a bar fight; he didn’t get arrested for drugs; and he hasn’t been involved in any domestic disputes.
No, what Tebow did was wear his religious beliefs on his sleeve. He made it very clear during his college career at Florida and during his time with the Denver Broncos that he was doing God’s work. He praised Him before games, during games and most certainly after games. His position for praying on the field has been deemed “Tebowing,” and it has been mimicked by fans and even celebrities across the country on TV, Facebook and Twitter.
His religious beliefs have unfortunately skewed how football fans perceive his play on the field, especially after he led the Broncos to the playoffs and a big upset win over the Steelers. Many tried to anoint him as the next Joe Montana; many others bashed him for being overhyped by the media.
Debates over a player’s ability are not uncommon in any sport, but the big difference with the Tebow saga is how his religious beliefs have played in a majority of those opinions. Many embraced him solely because he was very outspoken about religion, while millions of others abhorred his frequent comments as preachy and over-the-top. Those who defended him were accused of being zealots; those who criticized him were guilty of blasphemy.
I’m in the camp that believes that Tim Tebow will never be more than an average NFL quarterback at best. I don’t say this because I dislike the guy, because I actually think his personality and humility are good for a game that normally rewards oversized egos. I just don’t believe he has the tools to lead a team to a Super Bowl title.
Of course, this script (scripture?) took a gigantic turn when the Broncos signed future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning this week. Team President John Elway — a HOFer himself — was essentially telling the world he was a non-believer in Tebow’s abilities despite his success in the playoffs last season.
And as expected, this started off another firestorm of media coverage that once again went way overboard. Let me say that I do understand as a writer the need to cover why Elway went in the direction he did; and I certainly get the reasoning to report on where Tebow would play this upcoming season; but once again the flurry of subplots has become ridiculous.
Tebow ended up getting traded yesterday to the New York Jets, so my hope that all of the media frenzy will eventually die down is moot. In fact, with Tebow now being in the No. 1 media market in the country — one known for chewing and spitting out its local athletes — I now find myself feeling bad for the guy.
Nobody can convince me now that Tim Tebow will be a great quarterback, but he does deserve to be judged by his play on the field. If I want to hear nonstop stories about his personality or religious beliefs, I will turn over to E! or EWTN.