Friday, July 30, 2010

Broncos Tebow: Haunting Jags Forever

The Sentinel's George Diaz argues that not drafting Tim Tebow will "haunt the Jaguars into eternity."

That is entirely, undoubtedly, 100 percent correct. I would argue that it was the biggest draft bungle in recent memory, by any team.

Speaking of the Sentinel, best wishes to college football impresario Andrea Adelson -- a friend and supporter of the Teblog -- who is moving on to become the lead national college football blogger for ESPN.com.

Let's hope she remembers us down here. Best of luck, AA!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tim Tebow Signs Deal With Broncos

Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos have made their deal: 5 years, $11.25 million, with that all-important "guaranteed" money set at $8.7 million -- $200K more than Dez Bryant, taken one pick earlier than Tebow. (That's either the "QB bonus" or the "Tebow bonus.")

All in, the contract contains incentives that could make it as lucrative as $33 million. (Let's hope winning Offensive Rookie of the Year was one of the incentives -- TimTeblog readers know how I feel about the chances of that happening.)

The news is a big deal: Tebow is under contract -- a business formality that often trips up big-name rookies. It is behind him. Now, he can simply concentrate on arriving at practice tomorrow at 11 a.m. MT -- which will be a circus, thanks to Tebow's arrival -- and getting down to work.

One more milestone reached: Tebow has signed his first NFL contract.

Reactions:
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Broncos Tebow: Waiting on Deal

So, technically, Tim Tebow is a "holdout" from Broncos training camp. But let's be honest: The deal is coming imminently and will hardly be held against him.

See Chris Mortenson's tweet just now:

"On all rookie signing questions, start the worrying when it gets past 7-to-10 days. Otherwise, they'll get done"

The Tebow-Broncos deal will get done, probably today. If not today, then tomorrow. And by Saturday, any "holdout" will have been long-forgotten.

We get down to real business.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Broncos Tebow: Training Camp Opens

Broncos training camp opens today, and you can guarantee that Tim Tebow's contract status will be one of the top sports storylines of the day.

Nevermind that it would be overblown: That Tebow's rep -- burnished as recently as yesterday by the Jockey endorsement deal -- is far too strong to get stained by a few days' of holdout.

Still: It's that word -- "holdout." Fans don't like it. The media pounces on it. Coaches know it sets back precious development time. I'm sure players don't like it much either.

You know that Tebow wants nothing more than to get out there and contribute. It's why his new teammates love him and why he continues to win over new fans.

Nevermind the perception issues related to not signing a deal; it must be bothering him that he might not be out there for the first day of practice, of just being on the field, competing.

That -- along with what appears to be fairly controversy-free contract numbers (roughly 5Y/$12M with $8M guaranteed) -- is why I ultimately think he signs today and gets out there.

If he doesn't, get ready for a whole lot of breathless "Tebow holds out!" storylines, about how it is tainting his pristine reputation. It's sensationalistic, but just know it's coming.

It is frustrating -- to everyone -- that NFL rookie hold-outs end up being mostly useless posturing; they all end up signing, usually within a few days.

Camp kicks off for the Broncos today. And for Tebow? Today, tomorrow, Friday... ultimately, very very very soon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brand Tebow: New Face of Jockey

Per CNBC's Darren Rovell: Tim Tebow has signed an endorsement deal with Jockey. That puts him head-to-head with Michael Jordan, who markets for Hanes.

Click here for the Jockey corporate announcement. Consider the long lineage of Jockey using athlete endorsers, going back to that famous Jim Palmer effort.

That brings Tebow's major marketing endorsements to: Nike, EA and Jockey. Et tu, Gatorade?

UPDATE: Must-read from Rovell on the topic of Tebow vs. Jordan.

Broncos Tebow: Signing Close?

Sounds like this Tebow signing with the Broncos is as good as done -- is the question really a minor one of whether he'll sign today, tomorrow, Thursday, Friday or Saturday -- before full-squad camp starts Sunday. That can't possibly be THAT big of a deal.

And yet: Expect Defcon-level attention to the meme "Tebow as holdout! Boogity boogity!" if he doesn't sign by tomorrow's rookie camp start.

Broncos Tebow: Holdout Debate?

Leave it to the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla to present Tim Tebow's contract situation with the Broncos as "can't-win," with a classic sports-media false choice:

According to Kiszla, either Tebow signs early -- which Kiszla tenuously qualifies as being disloyal to his fellow rookies -- or he holds out and earns the frustration of fans, who hate holdouts.

Kiszla nets out that Tebow should hold out, as a sign of solidarity with other rookies. The columnist's logic? Who needs a couple days of training camp? And Tebow really should want to make sure that the other rookies (and, by extension, veterans in the union) like and respect him, which Kiszla claims would come from holding out for as much money as possible.

Seriously? His argument falls apart under even a little scrutiny:

Did Kiszla see the reaction to Dez Bryant signing first among 1st-round picks? He was celebrated by fans, media and vets (except Roy Williams!) - and this was a guy whose rep was torched last fall as an exiled collegian. Not a peep about other rookies being bitter that Bryant signed early.

An even more important point: Most NFL players -- and certainly most fans -- resent the NFL rookie pay scale. The more money an untested rookie gets, the less money there is for the vets. And there are a LOT more vets to please than rookies.

(Of all of the issues in play in the new CBA negotiations, a revised and curtailed rookie pay scale is among the least contentious for the players' union. It is squarely in what negotiators call the "ZOPA" -- the Zone of Potential Agreement.)

So the vets aren't going to resent Tebow for signing early -- the net result is that they will appreciate his commitment, both to putting the team first and to not taking up the maximum room within the team's salary cap.

And all the vets must realize already that the hysteria around Tebow is only going to create more opportunities for all of them. (Just ask the Pats' offensive line if they enjoyed their Visa endorsement money from the Tom Brady halo effect.)

As for engendering enmity from fellow NFL rookies? Is Kiszla really suggesting that Tebow -- even if he wanted to sign -- fake it by holding out a few days, so he doesn't tick off a couple of his other rookies around the league? (Um, any evidence that anyone besides the rookies' agents want to hold out? Most rookies just want to play.)

Who cares? Sure: Ndamukong Suh is totally going to ease up on trying to sack Tebow because Tebow held out a few days in 2010.

It is entirely in line with Tebow's mentality (and "brand") not to hold out and to be in camp on time. The surprise and disappointment would be if he did hold out. And even if he does, his brand won't erode at all for a few days' holdout.

But in trying to gin up some drama, Kiszla presents some shaky reasoning in suggesting Tebow manufacture a smidgen of a holdout. Kiszla is trying to appeal to the populist, pro-labor side of you -- solidarity with the union! -- but it just doesn't make any sense. The whole argument felt forced, like a set-up to allow for a Tebow critique no matter what happens in the next 24 hours.

Tebow should sign before camp and not hold out. Even if he does hold out for a day or two, it really won't matter in the grand scheme of Tebow's popularity. (Although you can guarantee that there will be a mini-hysteria from the media -- and that Kiszla will use that for more column-fodder.)

But if I had to predict, I still think Tebow will -- and should -- sign with the Broncos in time for camp's start tomorrow.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tim Tebow: Most Influential Athlete?

I mentioned this the other day, referencing a small graphic I spotted on the front cover of the USA Today sports section, but the Sun, smartly, made a full-blown story out of it:

Tim Tebow is the 3rd-most influential athlete in the country. That's the headline of the E-Poll Market Research polling that had Tebow behind No. 1 Lance Armstrong and just behind LeBron.

It is unclear -- but entirely likely -- that the polling was done before LeBron's "Decision," which undoubtedly would influence his number lower than Tebow.

If you go with that presumption and take a provincial perspective that while Lance is influential, his sport is not (but Tebow's is the biggest U.S. sport by a wide margin), then you start to build a remarkable case:

That Tebow is the most influential major-sport athlete in the country. Already. Not after a season of playing in the NFL. Not after being an NFL starting QB. But right now.

It is unprecedented in the modern (post-ESPN) history of American sports. Of course, unprecedented is the norm for Tebow.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Life After Tebow: Gators Still Top 5

How good is the program that Urban Meyer has built at Florida? So good that the team could lose Tim Tebow -- along with a slew of other NFL-level players, including a bunch of underclassmen -- and still be a consensus Top 5 team (Top 4, if you want to be exact) and the media's pick to win the SEC East. John Brantley is going to be so much better than most folks around the country realize.

(I'm weeks away from predictions for the upcoming college football season, but I think Florida has a puncher's chance of winning at Alabama -- and, even if they lose, will beat Bama in a rematch on a neutral field in the SEC Championship Game. Other than that: I project the Gators running the table. Any 1-loss SEC champ -- especially with that loss coming on the road against the preseason No. 1 team and defending national champ -- should play for a national title. Not sure that we will avoid an epic screw-job by the BCS system, for any 1-loss SEC champ. But that's for another day.)

Broncos Tebow: Hold Out Very Unlikely

The Denver Post isn't offering much more than stirring up the pot with today's (non-)story asking whether Tim Tebow will "hold out" of training camp over contract negotiations.

Training camp starts next Wednesday. Tebow doesn't have a contract yet -- the first NFL 1st-round pick to sign (Dez Bryant) only did it yesterday.

There is a LOT of time between now and next Wednesday -- plenty of time for his agent and the Broncos to get close enough to make it happen.

I understand the realities of "slotting" -- where you get something between what the guy in front of you got and the guy behind you gets, with that number (from the player agent perspective) as high as possible.

But I also understand that with all due respect to Jimmy Sexton, Tebow has to recognize that his pristine brand would get blemished if he was a hold out and likely has said "Make it happen."

Even a million dollars -- whether guaranteed or over the life of the contract -- isn't worth it for a player with Tebow's brand. He more than makes up for it with other opportunities.

Look, it's very possible that even a hold-out wouldn't nick the Tebow brand. I just think that he won't hold out, because it is so antithetical to the way he presents himself and lives his life.

Last point: If Dez Bryant can sign a deal without knowing the market rates surrounding him, then Tebow surely will.

Prediction: This is a non-story. Tebow signs by next Wednesday.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Brand Tebow: The Next Bachelor?

So about this story that Tim Tebow was approached about being a future subject on "The Bachelor"...

(a) It is in the show's best interests to float Tebow as a potential Bachelor. Here's host Chris Harrison:

"I talked to Tim Tebow yesterday. I'm really not joking. His brother Robby was there. I asked him in front of God and Country. He hasn't said yes yet, but he did say he would be a better version then Jesse Palmer. I told him, "Wait until you play in the NFL first my friend, because Jesse Palmer was quite the bench warmer."

Oh, good grief.

(b) Tebow is way bigger than "The Bachelor," whose usual guys are previous season rejects, unsuccessful backup QBs and randoms. Not players who are arguably among the Top 5 biggest stars in their sports (see today's USA Today sports section front page, which ranks Tebow No. 3 among all athletes as "Most Influential). It would be like Lance Armstrong or LeBron -- or Tiger -- going on the Bachelor.

(c) That doesn't mean Tebow doesn't have a future on TV. He is arguably the most telegenic athlete in sports today -- and certainly recognizes the power of big platforms. That's why I could see him having his own show -- not unlike Shaq in "Shaq vs." -- rather than be ON a show. I could see it being something much more community-service oriented, like "Extreme Makeovers: Home Edition." (He is much more likely to guest-appear on a show like that.)

(d) But not before he plays this season and ensures that it is football first. Tebow has been very careful -- appropriately so -- about a 100 percent commitment to preparing for the season. Even the video game and shoe deals fit with football first.

(h/t: OnlyGators)

Broncos Tebow: "Wild Tebow" Offense

"[P]articularly in red zone and goal-line situations, in which the Broncos struggled last year, this season's most interesting innovation seems likely to be a heavy dose of the wild Tebow."

-- Mark Krieger of the Denver Post, on why we will likely see a ton of Tim Tebow this season.

This is well-trod ground: I've been saying it here for months; any Gator fan who remembers 2006 (let alone 2007) knows how effective Tebow can be in limited doses; and even Peter King took the theory wide in his big SI profile a few weeks ago.

(It is kind of amusing to see Denver sports media finally pick up on it, in the same way they didn't understand the entire Tebow phenomenon when he was drafted.)

It's all a big part of the old #tebowcant theme: "Tebow can't possibly contribute as a rookie." And, as with most "tebowcant" pronouncements, it is more likely to be proven wrong than right.

I have yet to see anyone match my prediction that Tebow will account (either passing or running) for 7-10 TDs this season and win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The former might be too conservative; the latter might not account for rookies who get more of a full-time role. (Then again, a year ago, Percy Harvin won it with limited touches.)

I am glad to see the theory -- that Tebow will, in fact, get plenty of snaps (important ones) -- get more mainstream attention.

Tebow's success in the NFL -- certainly this season -- has always been predicated on a coach willing to break from NFL orthodoxies and get massively innovative.

It was a big reason that so many people thought that Tebow was a great fit for Bill Belichick; as a Belichick disciple, Josh McDaniels feels like an even purer expression of that innovation.

I think we will see something spectacular -- at least a TD or two -- as early as Week 1 in Jacksonville. Don't say you didn't see it coming....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vintage Tebow: SEC Media Days

Today marks the start of SEC Media Days, which if you remember from last year, was more like "Tebow Media Days."

Especially for those who weren't aware of TimTeblog.com last July, let's revisit some of the highlights:

*Did you know that the "Saving Yourself for Marriage" question was previewed here before it happened? Teblog readers knew it was coming.

*The "virgin" thing (he was never actually asked if he was a "virgin," only if he was saving himself for marriage) became a HUGE story. (See the complete exchange here.)

*Given the hysteria, I was particularly proud of my analysis of the situation: Read my take here.

*Then there was "Vote-gate" -- the question of which SEC coach did NOT vote for Tebow as 1st-team all-SEC. (Turns out it was... Spurrier, in an "oversight.")

*Tebow's session with the media was one of the biggest events of the college football season. Here are some reactions.

*Tebow himself, on the Tebow backlash: "Oh well." (I argue the backlash -- at least at the time, if not perpetually -- was entirely overblown.)

This year's SEC Media Days won't be nearly as interesting.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Brand Tebow: Nike Ad in Sports Illustrated

"Boom" is right:


This was the Nike ad for the new Trainer 1.2 that ran in this past week's Sports Illustrated, on the inside front cover, featuring Tim Tebow.

Hat/tip: OnlyGators.com for the image.

Brand Tebow: Nike Trainer 1.2

By now, you have heard all about Tim Tebow's exclusive EA-backed and Gator-stylized Nike Trainer 1.2 shoe. (Clay Travis, in typical fashion, has a good post about it on Fanhouse today.)


But Travis doesn't extend it far enough. Let me explain:

I was on the plane to Chicago on Friday and flipped open this past week's Sports Illustrated -- the print version (I almost always read online, but had a paper copy with me).

On the inside of the front cover -- a two-page spread -- was a Nike Trainer 1.2 ad featuring Tebow.

It wasn't the special blue shoe. It was an ad for the very same shoe they just released and that anyone could buy. (I think the model was a combo of white, black, gray and neon. Very sharp.)

It isn't that Tebow got his own limited edition sneaker edition -- it is that Tebow is the lead athlete for the entire Trainer 1.2 shoe line, across all of the shoe's marketing.

The limited-edition Gator version is awesome. But in the absence of that one, you can snag the same version he is wearing in the ad. At Niketown later in the weekend, I was certainly tempted.

The ad caps a breakthrough week for Brand Tebow: The release of the new EA NCAA Football 11 game with Tebow on the cover AND the brand campaign around the Nike shoe he is promoting.

With SEC Media Days starting tomorrow and NFL Training Camps starting next week, the timing couldn't be better. Last fall was the Season of Tebow; this fall looks like it will be, too.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Broncos Tebow: Starting QB By Week 12?

Great catch by OnlyGators of a Bill Williamson (ESPN.com AFC West blogger) on the Scott Van Pelt radio show talking -- what else? -- Tim Tebow.

Williamson said that he thinks Tebow will be starting by Week 12 -- or whenever it is clear that the Broncos will not be making the playoffs.

There are a couple of presumptions baked into that: First and foremost, that the Broncos won't be in playoff contention this season (which is probably fair).

Second, that Tebow will be the Broncos starting QB in 2011 -- and that as long as the team wasn't in playoff contention, they might as well get Tebow some experience as a starter right now.

I still am very bullish that Josh McDaniels will use Tebow aggressively early in the season, as early as Week 1 at Jacksonville, then consistently (perhaps even more aggressively) in following weeks, depending on the situations that present themselves -- short-yardage, red-zone, goal-line, etc.

Even in a non-playoff season, nothing would smooth the way for Tebow to take over as starter like a couple of TDs and key first downs on a regular basis -- not unlike the situation in 2006, where it was obvious Tebow was going to be a terrific QB once he got the starters' snaps.

Week 12 and beyond could turn out to be something like that Western Carolina game in 2006 -- a chance to get some live reps, particularly in as close to a no-pressure situation as it gets in the NFL in the regular season: When your team has been eliminated from playoff contention.

Alabama Fans' EA Tebow Cover

They wouldn't mock if they didn't desperately care...



h/t: SB Nation and Spencer Hall

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Year of Tebow: The Teblog Anniversary

One year ago today, I launched TimTeblog.com.

Nearly 900 posts later, it has been one of the most satisfying years I have spent as a writer -- and as a fan.

A year ago, only one thing was obvious: Tim Tebow would be the biggest story in sports for the rest of the year (and even into 2010, when I predicted he would be -- by far -- the biggest story of the 2010 NFL Draft and thus the first third of the new sports year).

I also had a hypothesis that there were a ton of fans out there -- Florida fans, Tebow fans, college football fans, sports fans in general -- who cared about the subject of Tebow and would enjoy a site dedicated to extremely focused coverage of him.

What I could never anticipate was the way the year would unfold:

Things got off to a circus-like start at SEC Media Days (aka “Tebow Media Days”) with “Are you saving yourself for marriage?”

(Speaking of marriage, the amount of time and energy I put into the site that week -- to get it off the ground, to cover the stories at SEC Media Days, to promote the site -- did not sit particularly well with my wife. We were supposed to be on “vacation.” It was foreshadowing of the way the site would come to become a huge part of our life. To her credit -- and because she is an even bigger Florida fan than I am -- she has been 100 percent supportive.)

The storyline for the season was simple enough: Tim Tebow -- all-time great college football player... or GREATEST college football player?

That was predicated on one assumption: When -- not if, mind you -- Florida rolled to a 14-0 national-championship season.

The pressure and the media hype matched the stakes -- immense. Like everything else related to Tebow, unprecedented.

My own effort ratcheted up from the start: I was posting 2, 3, 4 times per day, every day. One lesson in hindsight is that for all my effort, I didn’t do nearly enough promotion: Where was the Facebook Fan page? Where was the active Teblog Twitter account? Where was the outreach on message boards and to bloggers?

Great content was fine -- and with a “real” job and two young kids, enough of a time and energy commitment as it was. I really needed to do more to promote the site and its content, in order to have it have the impact I really envisioned for it.

Anyway, the season had its twists and turns -- the two that stand out were, ironically, the worst moments: The Concussion and the loss to Alabama.

The comeback at the Sugar Bowl was amazing, as was the epiphany -- delivered by Tebow himself -- that the season was about relationships even more than championships.

That’s where you come in: More than anything else, I have been honored that you have given me and this site your time and attention. I appreciate your comments and emails. I appreciate the support, both from readers and from bloggers and reporters who linked to the site. I appreciate that we could create a community around this topic, this person, and the larger things at play when it comes to football and fandom.

We have navigated territory way beyond football -- the expectations of fandom, the depths of disappointment, perceptions and realities of marketing, and even religion and its cultural impact, a topic I was (and continue) to be nervous about discussing here... but not in the thoughtful way we have tried to explore it. Through quite a bit of personal reflection, I experienced some profound humanist revelations -- and that’s admittedly too loaded of a word -- that tested, evolved and strengthened my own belief system.

I cannot thank you enough for the time and attention and interest in digging into all these topics, whether all you were looking for was a take on the latest twist in the Tebow football story or more.

So what next? The post-college insanity from the pre-draft workouts until the Draft itself -- and beyond, into mini-camps -- proved that Tebow as NFL player will have every bit the fan interest as Tebow in college. Perhaps more, if the NFL-leading jersey sales and national-magazine profiles are any indication.

What kind of impact Tebow has this season -- and, as you all know, I think that impact will be so much greater than the “experts” are predicting (see #timtebowcant) -- will be one of the biggest storylines of the NFL season. I am already figuring out how to get to Jacksonville for Week 1. (A friend in Denver told me if I really wanted to see Tebow play to come out to Denver for a preseason game. He might not be wrong, but the Jacksonville debut is just too dramatic.)

I fully expect to continue blogging here throughout the NFL season. I am also trying to put everything that has happened over the past year into something more tangible -- yes, the “TeBook.” (No, that’s not the actual name, just a convenient shorthand.)

You all can (and will) have a part to play in that, too. I will try not to be too coy with the details, as I am still working them out.

The larger point is this: It has been an incredible year. Thank you for being a part of it, and let’s all look forward to the next few months -- and the next year of TimTeblog.com

Thank you again,

-- Dan

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tim Tebow Gently Razzed at ESPYs

Seth Meyers included Tim Tebow -- in attendance (lavender blazer, cream shirt, open collar), with his brother Robby -- in his opening monologue at the ESPYs:
"Tim Tebow is here. Tim's jersey is already one of the top selling jerseys in the NFL. I heard that and though, 'Jesus...who does this guy know?' Oh right, Jesus. Just kidding Tim. And I hope this goes without saying, but just kidding Jesus."
For the record: Tebow laughed.

Tim Tebow Too Much for 2010 ESPYs?

In 2008, Tim Tebow won the ESPY Award for Best Male College Athlete.

In 2009, Tebow won the ESPY Award for Best Male College Athlete.

In 2010, Tebow... isn't even on the ballot for Best Male College Athlete.

If you had to pick just one player from college football to represent the category, a compelling case could be made for Heisman winner Mark Ingram.

However: Is there any doubt that if he was on the ballot, Tebow would have easily led the fan voting and won for a third straight year?

Makes you wonder if he was kept off intentionally, just to keep it interesting.

(Let's re-live last year's ESPYs, where Tebow showed off...glasses?)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brand Tebow: EA Sports NCAA Football 11
Release Day Feels Like "Tebow Day"

Today's release of EA Sports' NCAA Football 11 -- featuring Tim Tebow on the cover (something that has been predicted since he was, oh, a freshman at Florida) -- is a quasi-holiday.

For video-gamers, it is a big deal -- there goes the next week/month/year of productivity. For Tebow-watchers, this is his most high-profile marketing moment yet.

Yes, we have known for months that he was going to be on the cover of the game. But to see the game hit the shelves, rows upon rows of Tebow's image on the cover, is another level.

Of course, there isn't a college football fan alive -- certainly none who love college football enough to play it through a video game console -- who doesn't already know all about Tebow.

Still, knowing this was coming for a few years, this feels like a fitting coda to his Florida career: As poster guy for the sport of college football.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brand Tebow: Greatest Shoes Ever

I am very serious when I say that these are the greatest sneakers I have ever seen, a special collaboration between Nike and EA in honor of this week's release of NCAA Football 11 with Tim Tebow on the cover. Presenting some amazing sneaker porn, via Sole Collector:




The shoes are blue and orange -- obviously -- but they feature incredible details, like stitching that says "PROMISE" with the September 2008 date, on one heel, and a bunch of years on the other heel representing Tebow's Heisman year (2007), National Titles (2006, 2008) and All-America years (2007, 2008, 2009).

Available in very limited quantities. Who does a guy have to know...?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tim Tebow vs. LeBron James

All day, I've been trying to think about how to tie LeBron James' "Decision" to Tim Tebow. A few thoughts:

*I can appreciate LeBron's interest in playing for a champion. I cannot appreciate the way he hung Cleveland out to dry. Even if he was leaving, there was no sense of decency. He should have asked "WWTD." They're just different people -- very different people.

*I was astonished at how badly LeBron did during that interview session, especially given that we all presumed he knew what the questions were going to be. But even if he didn't, you would have thought that he would have at least considered how to answer THE question: "What is your decision?"

Compare that to Tebow, who I would argue is the most sophisticated communicator in sports -- possibly sports history. LeBron is 25 and a pro for 7 years -- and not unpracticed in media relations. Tebow is 22 and when he was 19 was 10 times the communicator LeBron is.

In short, LeBron lacked Tebow's innate sense of empathy, which allows Tebow to connect to audiences. Tebow would have instinctively understood that even if he had bad news to share with his fans, he would appreciate the fans' perspective -- something LeBron ignored.

*I thought that no athlete had ever experienced "Championship or Failure" expectations as overwhelming as Tebow (and the Gators) did last year. But LeBron, as of today, is right up there: It's not even "anything less than a NBA title is a failure"; it's that anything less than multiple titles is a failure. The first will be the hardest -- and, even then, it won't be enough. That is brutal.

What you hope is that LeBron has the persepctive that Tebow displayed after the championship dream imploded: That relationships matter more than championships; to LeBron's credit, that seems to be what was driving his decision -- certainly not his relationship with Cavs fans or people in Cleveland, but his relationship with Dwyane Wade as uber-stars.

But let's not discount: Even now, Tebow laments that loss to Alabama and the lack of a national championship -- the dashed expectations -- even to an extent that it overshadowed the successes of the year. In short: Expectations -- and I mean "championship or failure" expectations -- are brutal. Hope LeBron is ready for that.

Oh, and just as a thought exercise: Cleveland could really use a sports hero right now. How much happier would they be if they had Tebow as the future star QB for the Browns? They could have had it; they went with Joe Haden. You certainly can't blame them for that pick.

But Cleveland desperately could use an uber-star to replace LeBron. And I can only think of one athlete with a big enough presence to fill the void left by LeBron.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tebow Leads NFL in Jersey Sales

Straight from CNBC's Darren Rovell: Tim Tebow is leading the NFL in jersey sales.

Not sales of rookie jerseys.

The entire NFL. Favre. Manning. Brady. Romo. Brees. McNabb.

All behind Tebow.

Who said Tim Tebow can't lead the entire league in jersey sales as a rookie? (Not me!)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Philanthropy Tebow: Shands Playroom

When I talk about Tim Tebow's philanthropic efforts being unfairly characterized or assumed to be entirely faith-based, I often bring up Tebow's efforts to raise money for the University of Florida's Shands health-care system -- the first I saw of it directly was related to the powder-puff game.

Via OnlyGators, here is even better detail about the latest:
His First and 15 Foundation was also a featured part of a brand new playroom addition to Shands Children’s Hospital‘s pediatric cancer facility; the organization donated $156,000 used to buy high definition televisions, video game consoles and the like.
It is a terrific cause -- and entirely unrelated to evangelism. This is a humanist initiative, giving back to his college community and committed to making children's experiences in the hospital less stressful. Hopefully, even the haters can appreciate the effort.

Monday, July 5, 2010

"I Cant Wait to Hit Tim Tebow"

Dwight Freeney should probably worry less about Tim Tebow -- and a bit more about the declining state of his team.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tim Tebow at NFL Rookie Symposium

"I definitely feel there is a comfort zone with it, but there are still things that we're working on. Not necessarily as much with my throwing motion. It's more with my feet, my body, right arm, other things like that that we're working on -- the drops, play-action fakes, different things that I'm getting used to. So we're still working on a lot of fundamentals. It's getting there. The more reps I get, the more understanding of the offense, the more comfortable everything else gets, too. Because it's all just a reaction-speed thing."

-- Tim Tebow, to NFL.com's Vic Carucci, reporting from the NFL's Rookie Symposium out in Carlsbad, Calif.