Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Today's 3:30 Read: Dodd on Tebow, Florida

3:30 isn't just the kickoff time for the Saturday SEC Game of the Week. It's the time of day when I post a worthwhile "must-read" you can use to make the rest of the day go by faster.

Dennis Dodd's column on CBSSports.com is a pretty good representation of what has been written by mainstream national columnists over the past 6 months -- and what you should expect over the next 6.

Dodd is ready to title a section of the column: "Tebow is one of the best ever." Then there's this, like this week's SI cover story, playing up the whole "off-field" stuff, which is as much a part of "mythic Tebow" as the on-field -- maybe more:

Go ahead, get it over with. Stick a finger down your throat and self induce if you must. Yeah, here we go again. We first got into this subject the day before the BCS title game eight months ago.

Nothing has happened to dispute that assertion. No scandal. No erosion of skills. Just come back with me to Atlantic City seven months ago when Tebow and his brothers were in town for the Maxwell Award ceremonies. With a night to kill and nothing to do, Team Tebow did what any red-blooded set of brothers would do.

They sat in their room and played "Catch Phrase." It's an electronic game about the size of a swollen hockey puck. It's great for family gatherings and dinner parties. But for a free night in Atlantic City?

Before it was over, the Tebows had a Catch Phrase entourage that included their body guard. Drink of choice: Bottled water.

"Everybody else was going to gamble downstairs," Tebow said. "We had like 10 people up there playing for like four hours. Most people are like, 'What are you doing? You have a casino there. You're up there playing 'Catch Phrase.'"

Let the kid have his fun. They have co-opted his name to sell product. "TeeBows" are women's panties being sold online. To quote the website, they are "the perfect complement to your Gator Game Day Outerwear."

They have carved a wooden statue of him clutching the Heisman outside popular Gainesville fish joint Ballyhoo Grill.

"I can't go up and look at it," the carvee said. "People would say, 'There's Tebow staring at his statue.' How weird would that be?"

They have run him ragged for autographs and interviews until he stepped back recently and realized he had no right to feel tired. It was a recent Saturday night. The Tebow family voted for Outback Steakhouse carryout. Tim thought he could zip in and zip out without being recognized.

A fawning father asked Tim to meet his son.

"I was thinking it was going to be a little boy," Tebow said. "He grabs this boy and brings him out in a wheelchair. He's here from Indiana and they're doing research on his spine. Who knows how long he is going to live? I realized, what's wrong with me. Why am I doing this? The kid was so excited he started to cry."

Anyway, the whole thing is worth a read.

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