Friday, October 28, 2011
Tim Tebow Hype : How To Avoid It As The Descent Into The NFL Playoffs Begin Now
Tim Tebow has owned a great deal of attention from the media, football fans, and religious zealots long before the Denver Broncos drafted him last year. A former Heisman Trophy winner, Tebow became a legend at the University of Florida by leading the Gators to a pair of national championships.
While setting several Southeastern Conference records, Tebow also became the first collegiate player to ever score at least 20 touchdowns in both throwing and rushing in a single season. He was a consensus All-America choice once and has been called one of the NCAA's best players in the 2000s decade.
Undeserved or not, the hype of his collegiate achievements have followed him to the NFL. huge part of this reason has nothing to do with the gridiron. It has to do with his personal life, which some follow at every turn.
Tebow's mother was told to abort her son during her pregnancy, as doctors expected a stillborn delivery due to an infection. His mother, a devout follower of the Christianity religion, refused and both mother and son beat the odds. After spending his life being home, he became the Florida Player of the Year twice in high school after being allowed to join a team at a school he did not attend.
The religious beliefs of his family has drawn a legion of fans, several who are unconcerned about his gridiron exploits and more concerned about his following of the same gospel they believe in. This was seen when he joined the NFL in 2010.
There have been many more Heisman winners to have played poorly in the professional ranks than there have been players who have been excellent. Since the award started in 1935, just seven players eventually were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
This fact has followed Tebow, as has the fact many think of him to be more of a fullback than quarterback. While he has an immense desire to win, the mechanics he possesses is quirky and not considered good enough to succeed in the NFL by many.
While he hasn't completed even 50 percent of the passes he has tossed in his career, Tebow is 2-2 in his career starts. Whatever circumstanced led to those victories, most pundits agree is has been accomplished with a Broncos franchise that has more questions than talent on their squads the past few years.
When Denver came back to defeat a horrid Miami Dolphins team last week, the Tebow hype has been full blown. Even as the game was being played, the NFL's own website didn't even keep track of the match up like they typically do with all contests. Unless you were a Broncos and Dolphins fan actually watching the game, or you bought an NFL package that allowed you to view, the game remained largely shrouded in mystery.
With Brett Favre now retired, the media has been craving a replacement to dote over constantly. Tebow has come along to take this mantle, whether it is viewed as a good thing or not. Unless an injury ends his career, expect the camera to follow every move he makes for at least a decade.
Not every fan wants to follow this hype train, as many have never boarded it or had gotten off long ago. Those fans can concentrate on much more interesting and important stories that are going on during the 2011 season. Stories that could carry on to Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.
The Green Bay Packers are looking like a team that could be the first to repeat as Super Bowl champions for just the eighth time since the game was first played in 1967. They won last year despite having a plethora of key players injured, and now they are pretty much at full strength and the leagues only undefeated team this year.
Not only is quarterback Aaron Rodgers considered one of the very best at his position today, the Packers are one of the leagues top teams in scoring, passing, rushing defense, and yards allowed per game. Rodgers already has tossed the ball to 13 different players, seven players have caught at least 11 balls and scored a touchdown.
While they are a long way away from having a chance to repeat, the road traveled so far has been impressive. Even with all of this, Green Bay isn't even the only story in their division.
The Detroit Lions, one of the NFL's worst teams for the last decade, shot out of the gates at 5-0. While they have lost their last two games by 14 total points, this young team has shown an exceptional balance that belies their experience. They rank 13Th in scoring and 10Th in points allowed, a stat that could help the franchise reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
The tight end position is seeing a boom in production as well. Since most of the defenses in the NFL play a zone, the success of the tight end splitting the seam has become even more important. This has allowed quite a few become stars this year.
Only eight tight ends are inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, though there should be more. Men like Jerry Smith and Fred Arbanus belong, but most feel the first tight end ever selected, John Mackey, is still the best ever at the position.
While youngsters like Jimmy Graham, of the New Orleans Saints, and Fred Davis, of the Washington Redskins, have stood out this year, there are a ton of excellent players at this position at the game today. Many are good blockers, but they have enough speed to get downfield at break a zone scheme with their deep threat abilities.
Men like Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates, Brandon Pettigrew, Jason Witten, Ron Gronkowski, Kellen Winslow Jr., Tony Gonzales, Aaron Hernandez, Owen Daniels, Jermaine Gresham, Jermichael Finley, Dustin Keller, Heath Miller, Greg Olsen, Jeremy Shockey, and Ed Dickson are just a few who are important players on their teams as well. Pettigrew, Gresham, Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Dickson are youngsters learning their positions as they accumulate impressive statistics.
Established veterans like Dallas Clark, Kevin Boss, Mercedes Lewis, and others, have yet to truly break out in 2011 due to injuries and quarterback struggles their teams are having. Wide receiver may get a lot of attention, mainly due to the diva-like behavior of a few head cases at the position, but the tight end in the NFL today has quietly become the consistent star a team needs to win often.
All eyes will be on Carson Palmer for a few weeks, monitoring his progress as he learns the Oakland Raiders playbook after having joined the team barely a week ago. He had sat out all year, refusing to play for the Cincinnati Bengals, who also spent that time refusing to trade him.
After gridiron giant, and Raiders owner, Al Davis died, the team made the type of risky move Davis spent his career making by dealing away possibly two first round draft picks for the quarterback.
Palmer was thrust into action last Sunday, the first time he had ever come off the bench, and completed just eight of 21 passes. Three attempts were picked off, as the Raiders were dismantled 28-0 by the lowly Kansas City Chiefs.
The race for the services of Andrew Luck, a quarterback at Stanford University, has started to thin out some. Luck, who many think the 2011 Heisman is his to lose, is considered to be the best quarterback prospect in a very long time.
Two horrid teams this year, the Saint Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings, are probably not interested in Luck. The Rams used the first pick of the 2010 draft on quarterback Sam Bradford, and the Vikings used their 2011 first round pick on Christian Ponder.
The main two teams in the "Battle for Luck" are the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts. The Dolphins would love to draft him, especially now that it seems the injured Chad Henne's days are done in South Florida. Not only has Miami failed to win a game yet this year, it almost appears they are laying down in each contest in order to procure defeat.
Peyton Manning's neck is still not healing, even despite a radical stem cell surgery that had hoped to help. While heading to Canton as a first-year inductee, the Colts did not foresee this when they gave Manning a five-year contract worth $50 million before the 2011 season started.
Manning has led the franchise to two Super Bowls, winning once in a game was named MVP in. He has been to 11 Pro Bowls and has broken many Colts passing records that were once held by Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas, considered by most experts the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
Yet he will be 36 years old if he even is able to play next year. Luck would benefit sitting and learning from Manning in 2011, and there are similarities between the two. Both have fathers who played quarterback in the NFL, and both are students of the game who are known for being detail oriented.
While Miami would want to see Luck follow in the footsteps of Bob Griese and Dan Marino, the Colts would love to see Luck give them at least the same greatness as Unitas, Manning, Earl Morrall, and Bert Jones once did for the team.
Miami is battling the Colts for misery in 2011, since the Colts have failed to win a game as well so far. This epic battle of futility and Luck could see Indianapolis get an edge in two games, as the Dolphins host the struggling Chiefs. The rest of Miami's schedule appears difficult for them to win much.
The Colts, who have already lost to Kansas City, might have a harder time getting Luck. They have been trying to win and have been competitive in a few contests. Indianapolis will also face mediocre teams like the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars twice, as well as an encounter with the struggling Carolina Panthers in a month.
No matter who is the winner of this battle, the prize of being the worst of 2011 is a banner not to really be proud of nor promote in their quest to get a franchise quarterback of an unknown future. If Luck plays as many expect, maybe a ton of losses will look a little less uglier in a decade from now.
So there really is no reason to follow the evolving Tebow story faithfully, even if you are a fan of the game or a Bible thumping fanatic. With a lousy team that just traded their best receiver, it is doubtful many victories will follow. Especially if he plays like he did most of the game last week.
But he must win because he does not want Denver to be in a position to get Luck. If that happens, these could be your final weeks to get Tebow souvenirs and bask in the bizarre hype unless another franchise wants to take a shot at seeing how far they can go with the kid that has cameras following him everywhere.