Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To Play or Not Play Tebow Vs. LSU: Faulty Logic

I've got a Yahoo column running tomorrow (Tuesday) on the essential question of not whether Tim Tebow CAN or WILL play against LSU, but whether or not he SHOULD play against LSU.

In the meantime, CBSSports.com's Greg Doyel wrote a column on the topic, and it's worth passing along to you, although I do it with a caveat -- right at the top, Doyel sets up a flimsy straw man:
...Meyer faces a once-in-a-lifetime choice:

He can do the right thing for his team, his career, his legacy and his future earnings. He can play Tebow against LSU.

Or he can put the interests of Tebow ahead of all those things. Meyer can tell him it's too soon to play after suffering one of the more disturbing football concussions in years.

Cripes, it's like "Urban's Choice." Except it's a FALSE choice that Doyel presents.

How is Meyer playing a concussion-recuperating Tebow against LSU the "right thing" for the team, if it wants to win the game?

How is playing Tebow vs. LSU the right thing for Meyer's career? How is it the right thing for Meyer's future earnings?

Doyel's false choice presumes that if Meyer doesn't play Tebow, Florida will lose. It presumes that if Meyer plays a concussed-recuperating Tebow, Florida will win.

Both are entirely flawed assumptions. In fact, not only can (and, I would argue, will) Florida beat LSU with John Brantley, but playing a half-speed Tebow gives them a WORSE chance to do it.

It's interesting: I agree with Doyel's premise -- Meyer shouldn't play Tebow. The risk to Tebow (and risk to Florida) in the short- and long-term is unknowably too great.

Doyel wants Meyer's decision to be some sort of "statement" -- it could be. Maybe it even should be. It's certainly a large enough moment for that.

But it doesn't HAVE to be a statement. It can be about what's best for the team at the same time it is what's best for the player.

And it certainly has nothing to do with a fabricated "Urban's Choice" (my phrasing) that he can play Tebow and win the game (and, apparently, secure Meyer's own legacy) or not play Tebow and do the right thing.

Doyel ruins his argument right from the start by relying on an entirely false choice.


  1. The only question that will determine whether Tebow takes the field on Oct. 10 is: "Is he medically able to do so?"

    Sportswriters and other denizens of the blogosphere presume to know the severity of Tebow's injury, the thought process of Urban Meyer regarding the issue, etc., etc., all based on what they saw on television Saturday evening. Equally important to their diagnoses, it seems, is each one's predisposition toward UF, Meyer and Tebow.

    These people are just making idle speculation in order to generate copy and, in some cases, they are taking advantage of the occasion to take cheap shots at the character of Meyer.

    The biggest "vs." in the whole deal is not Tebow vs. LSU, or Meyer vs. LSU, or even (as Doyel and others would have you think) Tebow's health vs. Meyer's ambition. It's Tebow vs. Concussion.

    The highly capable medical staff at UF will decide whether it's safe for Tebow to play, based on the data from his neurological tests. No one else, and nothing else, will determine that.

  2. I really couldn't say it better than what esmjr said. He hits the nail squarely on the head.

    I'd like to also add that there will likely be four things heavily factored into the decision, and goes by this order:

    - The highly trained medical staff
    - Timmy's own thoughts and prayers
    - Urban Meyer's decision
    - Tim's parents' opinion on what has been decided

    With that kind of checklist above, I believe they can come to an educated and secure decision for, most of all, Tebow's future, and the team's future.

    I also believe that Brantley can win the game against LSU too. He is very solid, doesn't shy away from the defenders near the first-down line like Leak did, is very smart in challenging situations, and is a Gator born and bred from the womb. If anyone was meant to follow after Tebow, Brantley is the man. Like Tebow said when he winked at Urban after the concussion: It's great to be a Florida Gator.

  3. I think the real point is here is that no one knows what Tebow's condition is!

    Meyer has said repeatedly that Tebow will under go tests and the team doctors will be the ones to clear him to play. Each player was given a cat scan at the beginning of the season.

    Tebow's new test are being compared to that one. If he's cleared to play then awesome! If not then Brantley will play.

    I don't think this is Meyer's decision here...it's the doctors decision!

  4. doyle is an asshat. the decision will be made first by doctors. if doctors clear him to practice, the coaching decision is has he had enough practice to be ready for the game situation. to insinuate that, if tim tebow plays, it is only for urban meyer's own good is ridiculous, absurd and insulting to all involved (meyer, tebow, the university and its fans).

    urban meyer has already made more than 1,000 greg doyles ever will, so the notion that he will risk tebow's health to make even more is an insult that borders on slanderous and defamatory.

  5. Agree completely. Doyel's article is sensationalist and absurd.