Thursday, August 14, 2014

Happy 27th Birthday, Tim Tebow + Birth Day of SEC Network

Republished from my other site, DanShanoff.com. I am launching a new email newsletter this month. It won't be about Tebow, specifically, and won't even necessarily be about sports, but please feel welcome to sign up for it here.

It seems fitting that today is both the birth day of the new SEC Network and the birthday of Tim Tebow, the biggest star on the SEC Network.

It was just more than five summers ago that I launched TimTeblog.com, offering obsessive coverage of the Tim Tebow phenomenon (years before "obsessions" became a beat for new news companies).

The site was fascinating to produce -- there was obviously plenty of material around Tebow during his insane senior season at Florida, his insane NFL Draft process, his insane rookie year with the Broncos, the truly insane apex 2nd year in Denver, the modestly insane debacle in New York and the not-really-insane denouement in New England last August.

I can't help but think that the moment the lights officially go on for the SEC Network, with Tebow on-air live from Gainesville, the NFL chapter of Tebow's career will really be over.

I remain biased and mystified -- that no team will give him a shot, that QBs like Brady Quinn and Rex Grossman can land on rosters, that this really might be it.

I know he continues to train -- I actually believe him when he says that his skills have never been better. I am left with one lingering question:

Why doesn't he switch positions?

Yes, I understand that the day he lines up at anything but QB is the day that his dream of being an NFL QB is over, but -- from the looks of things -- his dream of being an NFL quarterback *IS ALREADY* over.

The implication: Wait: He would rather remain a QB and never play in the NFL again than switch to anything-but-QB (fullback? tight end?) and get a shot to contribute on an NFL roster?

It's not like he wasn't willing to do whatever it took to help his teams previously: His rookie year with the Broncos, before he took over as starting QB, he lined up as a receiver. On the Jets, he eagerly accepted a role on special teams. Anything to help the team.

The irony is that if he was on a roster as a fullback, coaches might actually be willing to deploy him more innovatively, in short-yardage situations or otherwise:

Four or five plays per game, what if you weren't sure if the fullback was going to plow you over, pitch to a running back or flip a toss over your head to a wide-open receiver?

The next phase of Tim Tebow's fascinating career begins today. He will be wildly successful and popular, because he has always been wildly successful and popular.

Look: I subscribe to the First Rule of Tim Tebow ("Just when you think it can't get any crazier, it does") and hold out that at least one more NFL opportunity will present itself (say, when Urban Meyer takes over for Bill Belichick in New England).

Even with that faith, I can't help lamenting whether the previous phase -- Tebow's NFL career -- ends today, too.

-- D.S.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Patriots Sign Tim Tebow

Folks, it's been a while, but this is a big enough deal to get going again:

The Patriots have signed Tim Tebow.

We have been talking about this since 2008. Here's why the Pats are the ideal fit for Tebow.

This should be fun.

A few thoughts:

*I'll set the over-under on Tebow TDs at 9, with 5 coming against the Jets.

*If Ryan Mallett is No. 15, does Tebow go back to his old No. 5?

*First rule of Tebowmania: Just when you think things can't get crazier, they do.

*I'm sure Patriots fans will be just thrilled to have us.

-- Dan

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tebow Tells His Side of Story

This makes a heck of a lot more sense than the notion that Tebow refused to play:
“You work your whole life to build a reputation. Then people try to bring you down when they don’t understand even what happened. It’s disappointing. You just want to express your side of the story... “I  never said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to do anything. I won’t do anything.' That wasn’t the talk at all. He knows that. And everybody on this team knows that I would never not do something if I was asked. That’s what’s disappointing… People saying, ‘Oh, you quit.‘ That was not it at all. It was just me asking to get an opportunity to play the position I love, which is quarterback. It wasn’t me asking out of anything.”
Frankly, I feel foolish for buying into the sensationalized anony-mongering before hearing from Tebow himself. I sure as heck hope that Tebow pushed the case to get the start -- or more than one-yard-plunge Wildcatting -- that is totally fair. 

See the full NY Daily News report here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

On Tim Tebow and (Football) Faith

Reprinted from my other site, DanShanoff.com. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Simply put, Tim Tebow is as team-first as any player you will meet. He is single-minded in his interest in helping his team win. He clearly thinks (and has proven) that the best chance for that is with the ball in his hands, but he has also clearly demonstrated that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help.

There are plenty of people who are tired of (or annoyed with) the "Tebowmania" thing, but that is much more of a function of being annoyed with the media's treatment of Tebow than being annoyed with Tebow himself. If anything, even the haters begrudgingly respect Tebow's complete commitment to winning and to his team. Throughout this season, Tebow has taken any number of relative humiliations -- being assigned as punt protector the most glaring, but simply not being allowed to play the most persistent -- in stride and with a "whatever it takes to help the team win" mentality.

What does it say, then, that Tebow was willing to challenge that very core of his appeal -- that very core of his personality -- by telling the Jets he didn't want to be part of their Wildcat (or faux-Wildcat) inanity this week. He must know he is more popular than the team, and he had to know the Jets would leak his request (or, framed less charitably, refusal) around playing time.

He had to know there would be blowback (with the most common response something akin to how Peter King put it: He totally agrees with Tebow that the Jets have miserably screwed him around, but you can't say you won't play.) He had to know it would instantly become part of the Tebow canon -- the December nadir to bookend the glorious moment in January during the playoffs that would define both his NFL career and Tebowmania in general.

That is how miserable he was. The Jets managed not only to implode their own season, but they made Tebow...flinch. They had him so unhappy that he went against everything he is -- and a sizeable piece of why people believe in him: both off and on the field, his subordination to the greater good... to service.

That is how screwed up the Jets are. So screwed up they could screw up Tim Tebow.

The good news is that the relationship is almost over -- it is a sign of how much the Jets fear Tebow's popularity not just that they didn't play him before, but that when he wouldn't play for them now, they honored it without fuss for days (until it inevitably fussed). Tebow will land with another team -- probably the Jaguars -- one that will hopefully give him a chance.

It cannot possibly go worse in Jacksonville -- or anywhere else -- than it did in New York with the Jets. The Jets had absolutely no belief -- no faith -- in Tebow.

And, it seemed, Tebow eventually lost enough faith in something he believed in -- "team" -- that he would turn away from that concept for seemingly the first time in his life.

Aside from believing in the essential rightness of his own decision in this particular case, I cannot imagine that was anything but difficult for Tebow in the grand scheme of his unyielding belief in always wanting to do what is right for the team.

Faith -- in oneself, in your team (or the larger concept of "team"), in the human condition, in people we admire (yes, like Tebow)... in anything really -- is essential, not just on Christmas but every day.

To see that faith tested in such a stark way -- by someone who epitomizes faith in football (and I'm not even talking about religious faith) -- is a pretty good reminder of the core position of faith in our lives, however it manifests itself. And it is a pretty good reminder how tenuous that faith can be.

If anything, this is a good moment to remind yourself -- to reaffirm, really -- that no matter what it might be, you've always got to maintain a little faith. Especially for those moments when it is tested.

-- Dan

UPDATE: Sounds like Tebow never asked out of playing -- the latest report is that he reiterated to Rex Ryan that he was there, if needed. Would be typical if this entire storyline was conflated from nothing but anonymous sourcing, then turned into insanity. The point stands that this has been a less-than-ideal experience for Tebow this season with the Jets, and you couldn't blame him for being epically disappointed. (The point also stands that, presuming the latest report is true, you're not misplacing your faith by focusing on the larger lessons of Tebow's essential character.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jets Bench Sanchez for... Not Tebow

Capping a lost season for Tebow fans (not to mention Tebow himself), the Jets have benched Mark Sanchez for Tim Tebow Greg McElroy.

The only upside: This almost assures (if not outright assures) that the Jets will deal Tebow in the offseason, hopefully to a team that will actually give him a chance to compete and contribute, rather than turn him into the owner's mantlepiece curio.

Over the weekend, I saw someone (apologies, I forget who) note that both the 49ers and Panthers run  offenses that would mesh with Tebow's strengths if he was the back-up QB and the first-stringer went down. Carolina feels like a good fit -- close to home, playing with a former college teammate. The Jaguars have already indicated their interest in bringing Tebow "home," and the tenuous status of Blaine Gabbert (and new ownership) makes that destination more likely than anything else.

The bottom line is that we re-engage with an exercise we went through in 2010 and 2012 -- one that seems to attract a lot of attention: Where will Tebow end up?

And the Tebow Jets jersey heads into the trunk of Tebow memorabilia....

-- Dan

(How sad is it that I still hold out that Rex Ryan will deploy Tebow in the next two hopeless weeks?)


Monday, December 17, 2012

Today In Tebow: Monday Night + Great Read

There hasn't been a lot of activity on this blog all season, but the biggest reason is that -- as it relates to on-field participation -- there hasn't been a lot of activity from the Jets with Tim Tebow himself.

The season can be summed up as a bill of goods sold -- from preseason promise that Rex Ryan had the moxie to deploy Tebow as creatively as we all think he could (or should) to... what, exactly?

It is a testament to Tebow's team-first mentality that the frustration has only peeked out if you read into some of his quotes over the past few weeks.

And so we tune into tonight's Jets game -- "playoff contention" as a pipe dream -- and hope that this will (finally) be the week that the Jets open things up with Tebow and let him do what he does best.

Rex Ryan doesn't believe. The folks who have leapt off the bandwagon don't believe. But I find it easy to continue to believe that there is productive, winning football there to be had if only the Jets would have the belief to try with Tebow.

Your Tebow read of the weekend was from the New York Times Magazine, "Let My Tebow Go," by Esquire columnist Stephen Marche, who was late to the Tebow bandwagon (like many, he climbed aboard during the Broncos' run this time last year) but remains steadfast.

I know what he's trying to say when he labels the Tebow phenomenon "absurd" -- he doesn't mean silly or stupid; he means reality-defying, and I appreciate the precision of language, up to a point. (Using the word "absurd" -- given the likely misinterpretation -- feels a bit like self-loathing/self-trolling in order to appeal to folks who don't like Tebow or the Tebow phenomenon.)

But much of the essay resonated with me. A lot of the appeal of Tebow -- certainly for the folks who picked up the fandom last year -- is the faith, the belief without evidence: He just gets it done, although I tend to downplay the mystical and emphasize the relentlessness of Tebow's approach.

Anyway, definitely worth a read. Happy holidays!

-- Dan


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy 25th Birthday, Tim Tebow

Happy 25th birthday to Tim Tebow, who enters his new year as he entered his 24th -- as the most popular, talked-about and relevant athlete in the country.

Here's a present: This month's GQ features Tebow on the cover and a cover story by Devin Gordon, a GQ editor and Jets fan, expressing more than a little skepticism about the Tebow phenomenon.

Gordon is a friend of the Teblog, and I chuckled when I read it: We've seen plenty of critics start this way -- with skepticism. They all come around, especially the ones rooting for Tebow's team.

Looking forward to Gordon's inevitable conversion to Tebow fandom. (The accompanying pictures will get some pub, but they are actually from the first Tebow photo shoot for GQ, back in '09.)

For a trip in the wayback machine, check out GQ's Tebow cover story from September 2009 -- just a few months after this blog launched -- and this essential piece from the Tebow canon by Jason Fagone.

(Wow, I just went back to August 14, 2009 on this blog, and there were no less than a half-dozen posts. Those were the days...)

-- Dan

Jets Practice Tebow Offense -- Off The Record

"I didn't know there would be this much interest. I don't know if it's secretive. We're running our offense and our plays and our reads. It's part of the offense for us."

-- Tim Tebow, after the Jets' "secret" practice working on the Tebow-specific offense. After three years of waiting for an NFL coach to work on this, nice to finally see it happening (even if we don't get any details yet). Love this quote from Rex Ryan:

"If you're not prepared for it, why wouldn't we run it? If you're not defending it well, why wouldn't we keep running it? You're going to run something until you stop it. That's the old saying with the Packers sweep, they kept running it."

Exactly. Just because something isn't part of NFL orthodoxy doesn't mean it isn't a good idea. If anything, taking advantage of inefficiencies -- even tiny ones -- is both an important part of NFL history... not to mention an important part of successful teams.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tim Tebow's Jets (Preseason) Debut

I don't care if it's the preseason: It will never be not fun to watch Tim Tebow take snaps in a football game, even one as mildly (or non-) competitive as an NFL preseason game.

And he'll get plenty of snaps, too, both because there's no harm in getting the reps in and because -- for now -- Mark Sanchez gets the starter's reps, then the second-half seat.

It will be interesting to see how much the Jets let Tebow do -- how much of the hand they want to show. Probably not much. Run the basic offense, get a good look at second-stringers and fringe roster guys -- Tebow won't make or break his status tonight (or any game this preseason).

It's fun to watch Tebow take game snaps, but the real fun doesn't start until the real games.

-- Dan

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tebow Foundation "W15H Wednesday"

A great cause: "W15H Wednesday," helping the Tebow Foundation bring terminally ill kids the joy of meeting Tim Tebow. USA TODAY coverage here and background from The TT Foundation here.

Go directly to the donation page here. All donations are earmarked specifically for the "W15H" program. It's a wonderful initiative.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tebow in Short-Yardage: Jets Unveil

At Jets practice this morning, Rex Ryan gave the first public reveal of Tebow in red-zone and goal-line situations. Per NJ Star-Ledger's Jenny Vrentas:
Tebow's group had four chances to score on the goal line, and they converted on three. Tebow scored on a bootleg run, then on the second play threw to tight end Josh Baker. Terrance Ganaway fumbled on the third try, and then the Jets showed a glimpse of the potential Tebow package on the fourth play.
More interestingly, Mark Sanchez sounded fine with all of it:
"We've got to get it in the end zone. I don't care. Whatever we have to do, and Coach Sparano is going to be the judge there on what exactly he wants. But if that's what he wants, and that's what puts it in the end zone, fine. We'll drive it 99 yard and we'll run it in, it doesn't matter."
We'll see how Sanchez feels when he is removed in scoring opportunities for Tebow.


Tebow, of course, was Tebow: ""I've done that once or twice, so it comes pretty natural.... Whatever they want me to do, you know I'm going to to it."


-- Dan

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tebow: Starting Q... in the Red Zone

It has been a long-held position on this blog that the real revelation of Tebow in the NFL would come from a coach willing to deploy him in unprecedented ways.

For example, a coach using one QB between the 20s, but Tebow inserted as the starting QB in the red zone. (The nominal "starting" QB might have his feelings hurt, but if they have a problem putting themselves ahead of the team, that's a bigger issue.)

Anyway, per Rich Cimini today on ESPNNY.com, the Jets are just that bold -- they are considering inserting Tebow at QB once the ball gets in the red zone.

The benefits are obvious: An extra runner (or blocker) -- above all, a mismatch with the defense. This is the "Moneyball" idea of football.

That it seems crazy or that it has never been done before doesn't mean that it's wrong or that it won't work.

And, frankly, let's be honest: It's going to work. And then when it does, every team with a mediocre "starting" QB will be scrambling to find their own version of a Tebow to add to the mix.

(As an aside, I'll be curious what this does to Tebow's fantasy value -- it should skyrocket. If the ball is down near the goal line and he's in the game, he is the No. 1 option to carry the ball.)

-- Dan

And We're Back!

So much of the Tebow news over the past month was inane, I needed a break. But we're back to football news, so we're back here, too.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Revisiting Tim Tebow's NFL Draft Day

Can you believe it has been (only) two years since Tim Tebow was drafted?

The pre-draft hysteria about Tebow was unmatched -- then or since -- but, most interestingly, heading into draft day, it was entirely unclear who would draft him.

Would it be the hometown Jaguars? Would it be a team with glaring QB needs like the Vikings or Bills? Would Bill Belichick swoop in and snag him? Was a mystery team in the mix?

At first, the Broncos didn't seem like the team to do it -- they used their first first-round pick on WR Demaryius Thomas. But then Belichick protege Josh McDaniels traded up and picked Tebow.

Flying in the face of critics like Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, Tebow indeed became an NFL first-round pick.

At first it seemed like an ideal match: McDaniels was seemingly innovative enough to deploy Tebow in ways that took advantage of his unique skills.

The transition for any NFL rookie is tough -- let alone for a QB (any QB, not just Tebow). But the team seemed committed.

Ultimately, the wheels fell off the McDaniels regime, having nothing to do with Tebow. In his sophomore season, Tebow would thrive despite undermine-laced "support" from his new coach, John Fox. Then the Peyton-Jets drama.

But draft day will always be a great memory for Tebow and Tebow fans -- the moment when his maniacal pro preparation was validated and he earned the lifetime designation:

"First-Round NFL Draft Pick."

-- Dan

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Jets-Themed Tebow Gear Released

More on the news that the Jets will use Tebow on punt-protection duty later today. For now, Nike has new Tebow T-shirts out, with a Jets theme:



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tim Tebow Named to "Time 100"

Tim Tebow was named to the 2012 "Time 100" list of the most influential people in the world. Jeremy Lin wrote the blurb about Tebow on Time.com: "As athletes, we pour our hearts into winning games. Tim is a reminder that life is about much more than that." (Lin was also named to the list of 100.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tebow News Round-Up: April 16

*Tebow was at the Yankees game last night. He wore a Yankees hat. There was a mix of cheers and boos, which is par for the course for New York sports fans. He made the Daily News back page.

*Tebow's new Nike Jets jersey went on sale yesterday, and it is already sold out. I'm quite sure many, many more will be available by the time we get to the fall.

*At Tebow's charity golf event this weekend, someone bid $100,000 to spend the day with Tim. It was a generous (and eye-popping) offer, and I'm sure Tebow will make it a memorable day.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tebow's Message for Jets Fans

"I've already said it 44 times so here goes number 45: I'm really excited to be a Jet! Haha! All joking aside it's truly an honor to be a Jet and I'm anxiously looking forward to going to work with all of my new teammates and coaches. Fireman Ed and the rest of Jets nation, I'm gonna play my heart out for you. J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS!"

-- Tim Tebow, on Twitter last night

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Nike vs. Reebok Over Tebow

And suddenly, those Reebok Jets Tebow T-shirts and jerseys -- which had a shelf life of about two weeks to begin with -- are collector's items, because Nike's lawsuit against Reebok turned into a judge's injunction, with the merchandise to be pulled from stores.

Let's remember the mantra: Just when you think things can't get more [anything] when it comes to Tebowmania, it does.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nuanced Take on Tebow's Public Religious Expression

I think I have been waiting six years for a mainstream media outlet to cover Tebow's public expressions of and about his religious faith with any sort of nuance.

Mostly, I've been looking for something that dispels the erroneous characterizations/caricatures of Tebow from some corners of the media as some kind of raging public proselytizer (which he is most definitely not).

This piece in Wednesday's New York Times -- pegged off of Tebow's answer to the "religion" question in Monday's press conference -- is well worth your time.

-- Dan

Tuesday Tebow Link Round-Up

*The reviews from Tim Tebow's performance at his Jets opening press conference yesterday are in -- and almost entirely rave.

(Longtime Tebow fans would not have been surprised at all about how deftly Tebow handled the New York media, which seemed totally unprepared for Tebow's open, earnest speaking style. Note that Tebow didn't bring up religion at all, until a media person broached the topic, obviously trying to stir up something. Nothing doing: All football. The best part was the way Tebow dug in to the strategic advantages of using a dual-threat QB.)

*Of all of yesterday's columns, pay attention most to this take from NFL.com's Jeff Darlington, who is as perceptive about the Tebow dynamic as anyone in mainstream media: "It's one thing to manage a monster. It's another to feed it. And if the Jets continue to cultivate an environment that fuels even more life into their newly acquired phenomenon -- which is exactly what they did Monday -- they might as well go ahead and name Tebow as the team's starter right now."

*ESPN.com's Jeff MacGregor on Tebow's arrival in New York.

*ESPNNY.com's Johnette Howard has a fantastic survey of all things Tebow. Great stuff, even for die-hard fans who know most of it already (the shout-out to this blog doesn't hurt!)

*Absolutely DO NOT MISS Grantland's Chris Brown talking about how the Jets' offense with Tebow is so much more than the Wildcat -- it'll make you wince whenever you hear someone bludgeon Tebow and the Jets' new offensive strategy with the "W-word."

*This is just plain fun: The new "Jetbow" sandwich coming to New York's Carnegie Deli. (Cheekily made with white bread, a first for the restaurant.)

*And, of course, if you haven't seen my piece in the New York Times from Sunday about Tebow, please give it a look. Really proud of this one. (Feel free to share it with friends!)

-- Dan

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tim Tebow vs. Mark Sanchez, Cont'd

This is promising: Rex Ryan wants to deploy Tim Tebow liberally.

That's a great start. For two years, all we've called for here is a little bit of innovation when it comes to Tebow. Ryan may be up for that challenge (even if he continues to insist on using the archaic word "Wildcat" -- known from here on out as the "W-word.")

There are two things going on: The first is the competition between Tebow and Mark Sanchez to be QB1 -- starting QB -- of the Jets. Sanchez is the starter... for now. We'll see what happens if he gets hurt or simply struggles.

The second thing is how the Jets will use Tebow -- the obvious answer is to use him as a substitute for Sanchez in particular scenarios (goal-line, short-yardage or anything else). The other answer is to do what Ryan implied yesterday: Get the ball in Tebow's hands, even if Sanchez is on the field, too.

Tebow may take 10 snaps a game directly from a center, but what if he is on the field for 20-30 snaps per game, in other ways? What if he lines up next to Sanchez, gets the ball and then has the option to run or pass? What if he lines up along the line of scrimmage? What if he lines up behind the FB and next to an RB, along with Sanchez: The "Full Tebow" Backfield?

The point is that the Jets' edge is the mystery of their schemes with Tebow. I don't expect them to reveal anything -- and, hopefully, they will adapt and adjust it from week to week -- but I will be disappointed if Ryan doesn't take advantage of the mismatch.

Don't miss my piece in yesterday's New York Times about Tebow fandom vs. Jets fandom.

-- Dan

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Welcome, New/Curious Readers

If you are checking out TimTeblog.com for the first time after seeing Dan Shanoff's essay in Sunday's New York Times about Tebow fans suddenly becoming Jets fans, welcome!

The site goes back to 2009 and the hysteria surrounding Tebow's final season in college football, then extended into the hysteria around the NFL Draft, then the hysteria around his rookie season, then the hysteria of this past season's playoff surge... and now the hysteria of Tebow relocating to New York City. Feel free to check out old posts or just pop by daily for news and analysis about the Tebow phenomenon.

(Dan's other project -- Quickish.com, a start-up sports-news recommendation service -- also has plenty about Tim Tebow. Check it out.)

You can reach Dan at timteblog-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com or dshanoff-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tim Tebow vs. Mark Sanchez

And the New York tabloid ("Tebloid?") insanity continues, today with a Daily News story that Tebow is gunning for Mark Sanchez's starting job.

Well, I should certainly hope so.

I doubt Rex Ryan wants a back-up QB who doesn't want to play so well that he makes the coaches think twice about who to start.

Sanchez may or may not be able to handle the competition -- frankly, if your starting QB can't handle heat from a confident back-up, it's unclear they should be starting anyway.

The other point: It's March 23. The season starts in September. It's going to be a long, long five months until then. Settle in.

(As we continue to hammer on the idea of Ryan breaking new ground in QB innovations through Tebow, there is nothing wrong with giving Tebow way more than a handful of snaps per game as a change-up.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's Official (Again): Tebow to the Jets

See two posts down for reactions, which haven't changed.
It's going to be a wild scene.