Saturday, December 31, 2011

Why Are So Many Afraid of Tim Tebow?

Great column on Tebow yesterday, by the Washington Post's Sally Jenkins:

So why does Tebow’s expression of faith make people so silly-crazy? Why do they care what he does?

Because he emphasizes the aspect of his talent that is given, not earned.

And that makes people nervous.
She continues:
Belittle Tebow if you must. But the trouble with shouting down Tebow’s religion, never mind the sheer offensiveness, is the same trouble with shouting down any other form of inspired expression. Do that, and you also shout down mystery, possibility, surprise. And some perfectly good questions. You drown out an awful lot that’s of interest, whether you agree with it or not.
So much commentary about Tebow -- whether related to football or religion -- is done with a bludgeon, not with nuance (let alone intelligence or thoughtfulness -- see Bill Maher). This is a great take on what so many seem to feel is a hyper-complicated topic.

Happy new year, everyone. Thanks for your continued support of TimTeblog.com.

-- Dan

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tim Tebow: Marvel Super-Hero

But when is the comic book coming out?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tebow Mania Enters Week 17

After two weeks of losses, that Tebandwagon has cleared out a bit, hasn't it? The haters get to have their fun. The die-hards stick around, regardless. We'd all rather have wins and big performances -- it's only narrow consolation that fairweather bandwagoneers have moved along to other things.

And yet here is the testament to the mid-season run: Even after two straight losses, Tim Tebow and the Broncos are still in a massively commanding position -- win this weekend vs. the Chiefs, and the Broncos are in the playoffs. And even if Denver loses, if the Raiders lose, too, the Broncos still win the division and host a first-round playoff game.

Let's keep all of this in perspective: If you told NFL pundits (or even Broncos fans) in August that the Broncos would be in position to earn their way into the playoffs and a division title in Week 17, you would have been laughed at. The guffaws would have been even more pronounced if you had brought up this scenario in early October, when the team was 1-4 -- when even John Fox and John Elway figured that inserting Tim Tebow as the starter would only position the team more favorably to pick a QB at the top of the NFL Draft in April 2012.

Then Tebow and the team flipped the script. They won. And won again. And won again. And kept winning, right up until they put themselves in a spot to control their own destiny for a playoff spot (and even have a halfway decent chance to make the playoffs even if they lose).

Somewhere along the way -- as Tebowmania got larger and larger -- the experts and bandwagon fans completely lost sight of where this team was before the season started (or a month into it). The expectation was NEVER that this team was going to win a Super Bowl this season. Heck, the expectation was NEVER that this team was even going to make the playoffs, let alone win the division. Most folks figured that it was a 6- or 7-win team... at BEST.

Instead, Tim Tebow and the defense and Matt Prater have led the fans on the best kind of ride -- the unexpected run into playoff contention by a team everyone else had written off.

Tebow fans figured that he would give the team a puncher's chance -- if only HE was given the chance (and given the chance within an offense that played to his strengths... let's not even get into how/why Fox went away from the successful run-based offense last week) -- the team would have that chance. And that's why you've enjoyed this one so much.

Confounding expectations has defined the Tebow experience in the NFL, ever since his final play at Florida, when the NFL "experts" immediately pounced that he could never be a first-round pick, never be an NFL starter, never be a successful QB in the league... never lead his team to the playoffs (let alone lead them to the playoffs in only his second year).

As we look back on 2011, "Tebowmania" became one of the top stories of the year -- it has been the biggest story in the NFL this season (even bigger than Aaron Rodgers and the Packers -- that doesn't change, no matter what happens next Sunday.

No one can take away the magical run that put the team in a position to simply win a game in the final week of the season to clinch a division title and a spot in the NFL Playoffs.

-- Dan

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Yorker Calls Tebow "Year's Best Sports Story"

The New Yorker's terrific sportswriter Ben McGrath tabs Tim Tebow as the year's best sports story:
Certainly Tebow-mania offers plenty of crossover fodder for the non-sports-obsessed. You don’t need to be a connoisseur of quarterback throwing mechanics to find debates over Tebow’s conspicuous religiosity of interest, or to marvel over the fact that teen-agers on Long Island have apparently been suspended from school for imitating a silly made-for-TV pose. But that’s all just context. What’s great about Tebow is the live-action performance: maddening, baffling, and, just often enough, jaw-dropping. In an era where passing statistics have been inflating to Bondsian levels, Tebow has brought his team to the brink of the playoffs with a style that might as well have come from the dead-ball era. Is it luck? Divine intervention? Here’s to watching and cursing and shaking our heads in disbelief in 2012.
McGrath isn't wrong. (And at the risk of indulging in a bit of #tebowcant, if you look back to last January -- heck, last August -- not many beyond this site's readership would have considered Tebow to be a "story of 2011" nominee. But anyone who has followed Tebow over the past half-decade would know that is the moment precisely to figure it would be Tebow's year.)

-- Dan

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

John Elway Supports Tim Tebow (For Now)

"Tim Tebow's not going anywhere. I mean, he's going to be a Bronco and we're going to do everything we can and hopefully he's that guy."

-- John Elway, who just weeks ago was entirely ready to bench Tebow (and ultimately jettison him in the offseason) if a few breaks didn't go the Broncos' way and those Ws became Ls.

Hard to tell if Elway is sincere or just resigned -- maybe a little bit of both -- but he clearly learned from his mistake of a few weeks ago that there's no point in publicly doing anything but supporting Tebow, even if privately he doesn't.

(If that sounds conspiratorial -- even cynical -- it's because Elway himself made it so clear just last month how he felt about Tebow. Pardon if I don't swallow Elway's line whole.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tim Tebow and Kelly Faughnan, Part 2

Lot of attention today for Jeff Darlington's NFL.com piece about Tim Tebow reconnecting with Kelly Faughnan. I went back into the TimTeblog archives and found this post from 12/11/09, when the Tebow-Faughnan story first came out. Here's my money quote:
I swear, this is what drives me nuts about folks who claim to "hate" Tebow: When you read about that, how in the world can you hate him? I guarantee you that taking Kelly to the show meant more to him than winning an award. Way more.

We can talk all about "Triumphalist Tebow" when he wins or "Tragic Tebow" when he loses (or even "Teary Tebow," from the past week), but here is my favorite:

"Typical Tebow."

And sometimes that's for when he bulls into the end-zone. Sometimes that's for when he tries to incite the crowd. But, most times, it's when he is working in the community and doing things exactly like he did last night.
"Typical Tebow." Ha. I had forgotten I had coined that. Check out the whole post for more details. It's just funny sometimes to see these "new" conclusions about Tebow that we were talking about years ago.

(Don't get me wrong: It was an important angle from yesterday's game to be given a wide audience -- as with Tebow-Faughnan I, it offers more insight into Tebow than anything he does on the field.)

-- Dan

Tebow, Broncos Fall Short vs. Patriots

A few thoughts:

*You can already tell this morning that Tebowmania has settled down a bit following the loss. This is a good thing.

*Tebow played well. The turnovers killed the Broncos -- Tebow contributed to that, and I think based on his postgame statements, he is naturally frustrated at himself for that.

*John Fox is still totally underminey. (See his "broad side of a barn" postgame quote.) And his decision-making remains so iffy -- knowing the game would be a shootout and having gouged the Patriots' run defense, why not go for it early on 4th-and-1 down near the Pats' end zone? Also, the Pats' coaching staff made plenty of adjustments after the 1st quarter -- Fox seemed befuddled about doing the same thing. (He seems content to blame the players/turnovers.)

*The Broncos still control their own fate as it relates to the playoffs. They meet Buffalo next week, in yet another match-up with a team that had the chance (and need) to draft Tebow but passed. The thing to focus on is that a playoff season represents a huge triumph for Tebow and the Broncos.

*Tebow being Tebow: A fantastic postgame story. Tebow doesn't do these things for the publicity -- he does them because they are the right thing to do... because it inspires Kelly Faughnan and maybe inspires other people to do the right thing, too.

*This was not a litmus test. Let me say that again: This was not a litmus test. Not for a coaching braintrust that figured that 6-10 was going to be a really successful season and that fully expected (and perhaps rooted for) Tebow to fail. There is not much shame in losing to the No. 1 team in the conference (even if there is a bit of shame in all the turnovers).

-- Dan

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday Tebow Link Round-Up

*The New York Post's Steve Serby has a good Q&A with Tebow. I like that Tebow admires Steve McNair.

*Deadspin's Drew Magary is a hater... sort of... but a hater of Tebow hysteria more than Tebow. (Salty language warning.)

*ESPN's Rick Reilly compares Tebow and Tom Brady. Eleventybillion people will click on it.

*Fathead launched a "Tebowing" edition. Currently, Tebow accounts for about 80% of Fathead's business.

*Yes, yes, thank you for all the emails: I've heard -- "Tebrew" beer.

*FoxSports.com launched an all-Tebow section. Hmm, that sounds like a GREAT idea.

So far, this week's best Tebow contribution (besides the SI cover) has been the Seinfeld-Tebow mash-up.

Tebow x Seinfeld



(via ESPN.com)

The Real Lesson of Tebow: Work Hard(est)

With the explosion of Tebowmania over the past few weeks -- beyond even the craziest stuff from Tebow's final year at Florida -- a few sportswriters have started to recognize the nuance of the Tebow story. Yes, many still bludgeon us with "Tebow! Religion! Throwing motion! The hysteria!"

But then you get reporting like this, from Yahoo's Les Carpenter, which digs into Tebow's real secret -- the universal lesson of Tebow that transcends fans and haters, that transcends whatever religious beliefs you might hold: Hard work.

Not just hard work, but (in Tebow's case) working harder than anyone else, which really translates to: Try your hardest. You cannot expect to work as hard as Tim Tebow; what you can expect is to work as hard as you can (then try a little harder).

Click that link for a great read.

-- Dan

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Most interesting Tebow Quote from NFL "Sound FX"

When people conflate football and religion as it relates to Tim Tebow, there is a lot of talk that somehow Tebow is praying for God to help him at the expense of others. But there was a very telling quote that the NFL microphones picked up. After the Bears got the ball on the onside kick, it appeared that the game was as good as over. Tebow was kneeling on the sidelines and said:
"Dear Jesus, I need you. Please come through for me. No matter what, win or lose Lord, give me the strength to honor you."
Now, was Tebow rooting for the chance to get the ball back and lead his team to a game-tying (or game-winning) score? Absolutely. But note that he accepts the reality that the game could go either way -- win or lose -- and all he asks for is the strength to manage the situation, whatever it might be.

This speaks to the line of Tebology that says his Christianity -- while public and evangelical -- is intensely personal. It has everything to do with finding the inner strength to live his life purposefully and nothing to do with mere wins and losses (although wins are obviously more fun).

I'll try to get video clips -- or links to video on NFL.com -- when it's available. It was an excellent and rare view of Tebow in the mid-game situation. UPDATE: Here you go!

(One other remarkable moment captured by the mics: When Barber fumbled in OT and the Broncos got the ball, it seemed like every Broncos player was totally flipping out. Tebow took the field quietly singing a hymn, as usual a little off-key.)

-- Dan

Tebow Mic'ed Up: NFL Network 9:30 PM ET

Must-see: The NFL footage of Tebow from the Bears game on Sunday -- the league had him mic'ed up, and tonight at 9:30 ET they'll show the clips. Good preview from the DenPost's Klis here.

Tim Tebow on This Week's SI Cover

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Today's Tebow Must-Read

I think that after this many years, I've got a pretty well-defined lens with which I view Tebow and the Tebow phenomenon through, and I think a lot of you share that lens (or at least respect my considered view). It's very rare that I see that perspective reflected in the media -- mostly, it's a lot of simplistic screeching. But when I see a take that resonates with me, it's an affirmation that we're not the crazy ones.

Anyway, this take by Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel hits on a lot of the things that we talk about here: That Tebow's outward expressions of faith are not nearly as proscriptive as the critics and drop-by pundits would have you think -- and that there is a humanist message in Tebow.

A few quotes from the column:
This is the beauty and brilliance of Tim Tebow. He puts his faith on display, but never seems to get too direct about it. He shrugs off criticism. He even jokes about it. He is unfailingly polite, accepting of doubters and moderate in his proclamations.
And:

There is no question that Tebow’s faith has played a role in his success. It’s a part of him. It’s what works for him. It’s what drives him. It’s what provides the confidence to overcome all odds – be it in the fourth quarter or in offseason preparation. All the great ones have that and Tebow derives his from his religion.

That’s a powerful message and, it appears, the one that Tim Tebow wants put out there.

This is what works for me, he is saying. This is how I do it. This is what has shaped me as both a successful player on the field and an undoubtedly polite and respectful person off of it.

If you want to give it a shot, then come join me.

And he pretty much leaves it at that. You don’t have to be religious at all to enjoy Tim Tebow the football player, the role model or the well-meaning star.

"You don’t have to be religious at all to enjoy Tim Tebow the football player, the role model or the well-meaning star." That sums it up.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hoge Finally Gets It About Tebow

Merril Hoge was the loudest critic of Tim Tebow in the media -- and, from his place on the set at ESPN, certainly the most visible. This morning, on the radio, he came around:
“You have a certain skill set. Will you work hard on that skill set and will you give it all you have? You can look in the mirror [and say], ‘I gave it all I had, and I don’t have anything to be ashamed about or embarrassed by.’ That to me is what I see in the Denver Broncos and in Tim Tebow. I’ve been wrong on a lot of levels, and I’ve become now a huge fan in watching not only the Broncos play but Tim Tebow play.”
Read more key parts of the transcript over at OnlyGators. The key idea: Hoge has been converted.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tim Tebow: Best Win Yet?

Throughout this win streak and 7-1 record as a starter, I don't think I've ever seen Tim Tebow as giddy as he was following Matt Prater's overtime kick to lift the Broncos past the Bears. It was fun to see. What a win -- the most improbable of his 8 as a starter? Yes. But down 10-0 with 3 minutes to go, I actually figured the Broncos would win -- I simply couldn't envision how. Who can? A couple mental blunders by the Bears' Marion Barber were key, but the point, as always, is this: W.

"Tim Tebow's Gospel of Optimism"

Frank Bruni on Tim Tebow in the Op-Ed page of today's New York Times, in what will be the most talked-about opinion column of the weekend, sports or otherwise:
He reminds us that strength comes in many forms and some people have what can be described only as a gift for winning, which isn’t synonymous with any spreadsheet inventory of what it supposedly takes to win.

This gift usually involves hope, confidence and a special composure, all of which keep a person in the game long enough, with enough energy and stability, so that a fickle entity known as luck might break his or her way. For Tebow that state of mind comes from his particular relationship with his chosen God and is a matter of religion. For someone else it might be understood and experienced as the power of positive thinking, and is a matter of psychology. Either way it boils down to stubborn optimism and bequeaths a spark. A swagger. An edge.

Longtime Teblog readers know that I feel very strongly about the more humanist message anyone can take from the Tebow phenomenon. Bruni captures it nicely (and on the biggest platform possible).

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tebow's "Through My Eyes": Young Readers' Edition

In time for the holidays, there is a "Young Readers' Edition" of "Through My Eyes" that came out this week. The publishers are running a promotion where you can win Tebow-related prizes. Just wanted to pass that along, in case you're interested. Check it out here.

Tim Tebow: Challenging NFL Orthodoxy

Kudos to ESPN.com's Jeffri Chadiha for approaching the Tebow story from an angle that few have: That Tebow is challenging NFL strategic orthodoxies about what an offense should be.

(It still nudges a bit too close to giving John Fox far more credit than he deserves -- where was Fox's brilliant insight into NFL inefficiencies and Tebow's capabilities this past summer so it could start Week 1? -- but the point is a good one: NFL coaches aren't nearly clever or bold enough.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Looking Back at TebowCenter

Certainly fun if you like all things Tebow. I found the No. 1 entry on the Top 10 list to be a little random -- you can see the official (pre-NFL) Tebow Top 10 list on the right, but I think his No. 1 moment will always be "The Promise." It is one of the Top 3 most iconic moments in college football history, along with Doug Flutie's Hail Mary and Vince Young's game-winning waltz into the end zone in the national title game after the '05 season.

And, per XV's Angel Gonzalez, the #SCTEBOW hashtag was No. 1 worldwide on Twitter between 2 and 3 p.m. Would you expect anything less?

Tim Tebow: The Movie Trailer

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

SportsCenter Becomes TebowCenter

Set your DVRs: From 2-3 p.m. ET Wednesday, SportsCenter will become TebowCenter, with a full one-hour special covering all things Tim Tebow. Hey, I'm available to chime in...

Frankly, this sounds kind of clever -- and it's very cool if you like Tebow. But needless to say, it's the kind of thing that will drive his haters nuts. And yet they'll watch!

(Speaking of watching, I'll be shocked if the NFL doesn't move the Pats-Broncos game a week from Sunday from CBS in the afternoon to NBC in the evening. The game has the potential to be the most-watched regular-season football game of the year, if not the past decade. The league maximizes the audience by running it on Sunday night.)

Chuck Klosterman on Tim Tebow

Give it a read. Interesting, nuanced theory. We'll discuss later this week.

Bill Cosby on Tim Tebow, Denver

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tim Tebow and the Mere Threat of Tebow

It's not enough to say "Tim Tebow does it again." It's more like "again and again and again and again and again..."

As you've come to expect here, I'll leave the breathless gushing to others. Beyond the novelty of Tebow winning in a shootout (defying the "Tim Tebow can't win a shootout" conventional "wisdom"), I want to focus on one very specific element of yesterday's win:

Tebow ran the ball four times.

Or, should I say, ONLY four times. (Really, only three, if you take away that last knee to set up the game-winning field goal.)

This completely defied the conventional wisdom of the Broncos as this "option-only" one-dimensional team -- or Tebow as an "option-only" one-dimensional QB.

No, what struck me most was that the mere THREAT that Tebow might run -- the threat itself -- became an integral part of the offense. Last week's 22 carries carried over as a strategic feint.

Now, maybe the opportunity to run wasn't there. Or maybe the offense just took what the defense gave it. But the gap between 22 carries a week ago and 3 yesterday is stark.

Put another way: Because the defense had to be so aware of Tebow as a threat to keep it himself and run, new opportunities emerged for Tebow to make plays in other ways (like passing).

We saw this at Florida -- the almost-patented Tebow "play-action to himself," where he would take the snap, scoot a half-step toward the line as if he was running, reverse himself backward and find an open receiver.

Yesterday wasn't quite that simplistic, but the effect -- Tebow could run, therefore you have to play him as if he will run -- is totally disruptive.

And it is disruptive without Tebow actually running. I'm fascinated by this, and you could see that when you paired that threat with some slick passing, the effects were tangible.

The Bears -- playing without Jay Cutler or Matt Forte on offense -- are next, in Denver next Sunday afternoon. That should be a win. After that? A Sunday night game against the Patriots that will be more watched than any NFL game this season. Even if the Broncos lose that game -- and they will be heavy underdogs, even at home, even riding a crazy win streak -- they will still be perfectly positioned to run (or pass) right into the playoffs.

Meanwhile, just when you think Tebowmania can't get any bigger, it does. That, itself, is a hallmark of the Tebow phenomenon.

-- Dan

Oh, last point: For my money, Tebow's time-buying sideline scramble that became a TD pass to Thomas was his finest single moment as a pro.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tim Tebow IS Having a Great Season

This analysis from Deadspin's Jack Dickey captures a lot of what I was thinking yesterday as I read the troll-ish column from ESPN's Bryant and the very interesting counter from FoxSports.com's Kriegel. If you adjust for Tebow's impact on a "per-touch" rather than "per-pass-attempt" basis, he is having not just a fine season, but a very very good one.

That doesn't even include his impact on Willis McGahee, the fact that his limited turnovers and clock-eating drives keep the defense rested, improving its already-terrific efficiency.

Is it a backlash to the backlash? Or, at this point, a backlash to the backlash to the backlash to the backlash?

-- D.S.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tim Tebow Loves to Run the Ball

"Why not? I'm not going to hide from it."

-- Tim Tebow, after being questioned about his record-setting 22 carries last Sunday against the Chargers.

Exactly.

It's not an anomaly -- it's the strategy.
It's what Tebow does well -- why wouldn't you focus on that?
It's what will keep this team rolling along.

One of the most notable things about Tebow is his consistency -- personal, professional, whatever. He has a clarity of his sense of self, and what John Fox (and most football pundits) didn't realize is that all the coaches have to do is simply extend that clarity onto the football field.

It's not that Tebow changed. It's that the coaches stopped hiding from it.

-- Dan

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tebow On Inaugural Cover of NFL Magazine

Unsurprisingly -- although perhaps a surprise to NFL folks if you asked them back in August -- Tim Tebow is going to be on the cover of the first-ever issue of NFL Magazine, which comes out next week. Here's the cover:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tebow Leads Broncos Past Chargers

Another week, another win.

That's what we're looking at here. John Fox can abandon Tebow on 4th-and-short in OT. John Elway can flash the fakest big-tooth smile in the world.

Tim Tebow just keeps winning.

Not sure how many folks thought the Broncos would go into San Diego and win, but when it became clear the defense would keep it close, it was also clear Tebow Time would arrive again.

It's a pretty good blueprint: Tebow + McGahee + clutch catches by Eric Decker + a monstrous defense = Wins, and plenty of them.

What we're left with now is the idea that it's not unreasonable to expect the Broncos to win 4 of their final 5 games (all except a Sunday Night game vs. the Pats), which should be enough to win the AFC West. Not a bad turnaround from the team's 1-5 start before Tebow became the starter.

My favorite anecdote from yesterday's game comes from Mark Kiszla, who broke the story that Tebow addressed the team on Saturday night (and credit to John Fox for asking him to) and Tebow hit them with some Old Testament -- my favorite kind of Tebow.

Tebow cited Proverbs 27:17 -- roughly, iron sharpens iron and men sharpen other men. The team believes in Tebow. Tebow, of course, believes in himself.

Really: At this point, does it even matter what Fox and Elway think?

Another week, another win. And another week, another week of Tebow hysteria.

-- Dan

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Have a Very Tebow Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Giving thanks -- for whatever you might be thankful for -- and being appreciative of what you have feels like one of the most Tebow ways to celebrate the day. Thanks for your continued support of this site.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tim Tebow on First Take

Tim Tebow went on First Take and really dug into his outward expressions of faith, which came into question yesterday with some recent comments from Jake Plummer, who apparently doesn't particularly appreciate them:
“If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife, I love her, the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and have the opportunity? And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ. It is the most important thing in my life, so every opportunity I have to tell him I love him, or I’m given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m going to take that opportunity.”
The whole summary (via ProFootballTalk) is worth reading. And, as usual, this is becoming a national hysteria of the day.

Tebow In This Week's Sports Illustrated

From Peter King, analyzing the Broncos' potential to draft a QB next spring: "Smart teams maximize their players' skills. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy stopped forcing a square peg into a round hole when he made Denver option-centric. There's no reason he can't stay with the option in 2012, whether Tebow's the starter or merely the league's most compelling relief pitcher."

A brief response: This certainly makes sense. But I'm not sure Elway or Fox can bring in a rookie QB and expect them to co-exist with Tebow. For starters, Tebow would be the starting QB until the rookie got up to speed -- there's no way they would start a rookie QB from Week 1 ahead of Tebow, who has proven himself entirely capable of winning games. Second, I'm not sure it's fair to Tebow to keep him as some sort of option option; he would absolutely do whatever the team wanted him to, but just as much, he certainly deserves a shot at starting somewhere, even if his next team ultimately decided against using him as a full-time starter.

In this week's SI, there is also a feature about Tebow where reporter Alan Shipnuck basically collects a variety of pronouncements about Tebow -- from Twitter, from TV analysts, from newspaper reporters -- and streams them together to show the range of heated opinion about him. I'm all for curation, but I'm still waiting for SI's definitive Tebow piece -- you would think that off of last Thursday night, they could have prepared one.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tebow Thursday Special

Let's be real here: Every NFL fan that has NFL Network on their cable system will be tuning in for the Broncos-Jets game tonight. Tim Tebow? Rex Ryan? Come on: The entertainment is assured.

I'm more bullish on Tebow and the Broncos than most: I think they are going to shock the Jets (and the world) and eke out a win.

Tebow just tweeted out his would-be eye-black of the day: Colossians 3:15. A quick translation (and, as usual, there are lots of versions, so you want to take this more generally):

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."

I stopped trying to read into TT's selected Bible passages as metaphors for football strategy back in 2009, but suffice to say, I don't think Rex Ryan has his defensive players thinking "peace."

More after the game.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More Tim Tebow, Less John Fox

Let's not be too quick to praise John Fox for his "revolutionary" shift in strategy with Tim Tebow.

Frankly, Fox should have been contemplating (if not installing) this months ago -- you get the feeling that one of his coaches brought it to him a few weeks ago, and he was like "Oh! Well, uh, why not?"

Let's give Fox credit for actually trying it -- for a while, I figured his commitment to orthodox NFL thinking was going to last all season. Now, Fox seems to be enjoying the credit and attention.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fox Warming Up to Tim Tebow?

"Hey, Tim thinks he deserves to have these plays in this offense. And you know what? After watching our games the last two weeks, it's hard to argue with him."
-- John Fox, to NFL.com's Jeff Darlington, in an interesting behind-the-scenes visit with the coach as he adapts to his new Tebow-centric offense.

Also, don't miss this NYT blog post from Chase Stuart making the clever (and entirely viable) argument that the new Broncos offense is totally underrated, and that all those Tebow runs should be considered completions... to himself. When you do that, his numbers look better than just OK. They look pretty darn good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tim Tebow: Here We Go

All along, all folks wanted was for John Fox and the Broncos to give Tim Tebow a chance.

But not just any chance -- we saw that in the Lions game. Ideally, we wanted them to give him a chance while running an offense specifically suited for his unique skills and talents. We got a glimpse of it vs. Oakland in Week 9.

Yesterday in Kansas City, that is exactly what we got -- Eight passes with two completions total? Great. (Particularly when one is a game-sealing TD bomb.) Running and running and more running? Yes, please.

The zone read. The option. The veer. Whatever it is getting called, it suits Tebow just fine -- and it is working. Let's ride this as long as it goes.

(Tantalizingly, the Broncos are in primetime on Thursday night against the Jets, who will have only three days to prepare for what is suddenly the most innovative offense in the NFL.)

For a terrific read, try Chris Brown's analysis this morning. Brown is the best at dissecting strategy, and he has a lot of complimentary things to say about the Tebow offense.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tim Tebow: Football vs. Faith in NY Times

Curious what everyone thinks of this story in today's New York Times about Tim Tebow at the intersection of faith and football.

I've been pretty clear on this over the years: Because of Tebow's fundamental popularity and visibility, I think that the demonstrative displays (from the eye-black in college to "Tebowing" two weeks ago) are overblown -- specifically as they relate to any argument that Tebow is somehow thrusting his beliefs on the rest of us.

If anything, I think that Tebow's genius-level communication skills and empathy has allowed him to be far more thoughtful and nuanced about when, where and how he expresses his faith -- specifically, I think he doesn't force it on audiences he knows are not interested.

Let's not confuse public displays of faith -- or even a fundamental interest in evangelizing -- with Tebow somehow imposing on anyone who might not be interested in it.

(This is actually a big part of the long-awaited "Tebook" I have been working on. But read the piece in the Times and think about it for yourself. Always enjoy your comments.)

-- Dan

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tim Tebow Runs Broncos To Win

That's more like it: If your quarterback is uniquely skilled, you design an offense to take advantage of those skills.

Is the Broncos' new zone-read run-first/run-second/run-only offense sustainable? Not to be cavalier, but that isn't the point.

Can Tebow take week-in, week-out punishment as a runner? Maybe. Can the limited Broncos coaching staff -- spraining their wrists for only now finally figuring out what to do -- make adjustments to counter the inevitable adjustments of a defensive coordinator who has a week to watch tape and game plan for the new offense? Maybe.

The fact is that the new offense was deployed yesterday. It did take the Raiders by surprise. It was effective. It did lead the team to a win (along with some nifty work by Eddie Royal). It was exactly in Tebow's sweet-spot as a QB.

It takes a leap of faith to build a philosophy around that -- a leap that I'm still not sure the Broncos leadership is willing to make for the long-term. That they are willing to do it for now is probably good enough.

It wasn't just a satisfying win -- all wins are fundamentally satisfying. It was satisfying the WAY they won.

-- Dan

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gameday: Tim Tebow vs. History

In today's Denver Post, Woody Paige offers a bit of history, showcasing just how terrible so many ultimately great QBs played through their first five career starts. The lesson: It's way WAY too early to judge Tim Tebow -- and way too early to pull the plug on him as a starter.

(Of course, John Fox is so bumbling at this point that it is impossible to rely on him to make a sound or considered decision. He isn't a Tebow fan and he will likely use any hint of underperformance to say "See? I gave him a chance!" and yank him. At that point, fans of Tebow should be openly rooting for the team to cut him so he can land in a better situation, even if it isn't as a starting QB -- yet -- but merely with a coach who has some smart, authoritative ideas about how to deploy him.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Media Coverage of Tebow This Week

We can point to the various columns about Tebow this week -- oh, and was there ever a backlash -- and I probably should have made mention of the "X > Tebow" mid-week meme on ESPN.com.

But when we talk about even-handed Tebow commentary, I think this piece from Deadspin's Tommy Craggs is worth a read.

It's not that Craggs doesn't have a position about Tebow -- he very clearly does, and it's one that many of you won't agree with. Set aside that disagreement (along with problems about the sensationalized headline of the essay) for a second.

Because you're not going to find a more astute and nuanced take on the punditry frenzy around Tebow, specifically the punditry that goes away from the football and talks about religion, where the punditry is clearly out of its depth.

(As for Sunday, I'm not looking for a dramatic turnaround from last week, and neither should anyone. What I'm looking for is the incremental progress you see when you're talking about your 5th-ever NFL start vs. your 6th-ever. I certainly expect a media frenzy, however it goes.)

-- Dan
"The goofy thing is, it's almost like if he doesn't have success it will be anybody's fault but his. It's almost that kind of polarizing thing. They'll say it could be his supporting cast, or the type of plays. At the end of the day, we are what we are."

-- Broncos coach John Fox (via Sam Farmer, LA Times)

In one interpretation, you could say that Fox is giving Tebow a break -- that Tebow will work so hard that you honestly won't be able to fault him. But that's not what is going on here. Fox is mocking the die-hard support Tebow gets. If anything, what we've seen this week is that there are plenty of people who will fault Tebow if he doesn't have success...

...Starting with Tebow himself. Fox isn't sophisticated enough to deploy this kind of straw-man argument -- the coach just sounds petty and small and more concerned with his own CYA than with developing his QB. Talk about goofy.

Monday, October 31, 2011

How Many More Weeks Will Tebow Get?

SI's Peter King is about as fair to Tim Tebow as anyone in sports media. Not in the tank -- simply fair. King is also very tapped in to the Broncos from multiple angles -- Tebow, Fox, Elway.

So I pay very close attention to this note dropped in at the bottom of King's weekly "MMQB" column today:
I think it's a cruel world, but the Broncos won't give the Tebow experiment much longer, maybe two or three weeks, unless he ratchets up his completion percentage (46.1). Can't help but think four things:

If Denver's going to give him a chance, the plug cannot be pulled now, because it's just not enough time; three or four more weeks is fair for the investment the franchise made in the 2010 first-round pick -- even though it was a previous coach who drafted him ... Josh McDaniels would have been more invested in making him succeed, and would have a package of plays (dumpoffs to the backs, curls to the tight end) to get him going ...

John Elway and John Fox, neither of whom would have drafted Tebow in the first round, are going to give him enough time under center to show the citizenry they can't move ahead with him as the every-down quarterback ... And I still believe he can be a winning, hybrid player for a good team. Maybe not quite like Brad Smith, because he lacks quickness. But a player who, when the offense is stalled, can contribute with a package of plays that would be hard to defend as a changeup. Maybe an option quarterback.

"Three or four more weeks is fair." Keep that in mind.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 8: Tough Day for Tim Tebow

The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla only needs a few minutes after the Broncos' pummeling by the Lions to go trolling:

"Those five wonderful minutes against Miami now look like an aberration. Right here, right now, he is the worst quarterback in the NFL."

Kiszla offers no supplemental explanations -- like, perhaps, the Broncos' coaching staff putting together a plan that doesn't take advantage of Tebow, or the fact that the offense around him isn't particularly great.

Nor does he take a long view, reflecting that this was only Tebow's second start of his second season -- against one of the best defenses in football, no less. That perhaps Tebow deserves a few more starts before he is thrown under the bus.

Under Kiszla's logic, Troy Aikman -- who lost his first 11 starts, with 52% completions and a 2-to-1 INT-to-TD ratio -- should never have made it halfway through that.

Tim Tebow isn't owed fealty. He isn't owed a free pass. No one will be tougher on Tebow's performance today -- not his worst media critic, not the folks on Twitter, not John Fox -- than Tebow himself.

What he is owed is another half-season to develop, to get better -- hey, maybe even finally get some play-calling that fits his style -- before he is judged the worst QB in football or given up on.

The Broncos have every right to make that evaluation after the season -- if Tebow isn't any good, they'll even be in position to draft his replacement, right there near the top of the 1st round.

But I think the chances are far better than not that Tebow will get better, that this will be looked at as the nadir of the season, perhaps of his career.

Let's have the hysterics (no, I didn't say "heretics") keep some perspective: This Broncos team isn't very good, and that doesn't have a lot to do with Tebow, and this Lions team is very good.

It was a terrible game, on all fronts. Let's see how Tebow responds next week before shivving him an hour after this week's game.

-- D.S.

Tim Tebow vs. the Lions

From Tebow's Twitter feed this morning: 1 Samuel 12:24

"But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you."

Keep an eye out for the Tebowing meme today. Oh, and Ndamukong Suh vs. Tebow -- that's going to be titanic.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tim Tebow is Down with Tebowing

From Tebow, via Twitter: #Tebowing - to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different. Love it!”

More from Tebow, via the Denver Post's Lindsey Jones:

It's not my job to see peoples' reasons behind it, but I know (of a kid) with cancer that tweeted me, 'Tebowing while I'm chemoing' — how cool is that? That's worth it right now. If that gives him any encouragement or puts a smile on his face, or gives him encouragement to pray, that's completely awesome.
There is a "just when you thought you'd seen it all..." aspect to this, but -- again -- as we have seen time and time again, when it comes to Tebow, there is no such thing as a small thing.

By the way, when Albert Pujols took a knee in prayer immediately following the Cardinals' World Series Game 7 victory, the instant Twitter reaction was "Pujols Tebowed!"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tim Tebow x Taiwanese Animation

You know you've made it when you get the Taiwanese animation treatment...

New Trend: "Tebowing"

Remember the "planking" fad from the summer -- people taking pictures of themselves laying flat, like a plank?

Inspired by the ending to Sunday's game, there is now "Tebowing," pictures of people dropping to a knee -- just like Tebow at the end of Sunday's game. Here's the Tumblr.

Expect it to become a "thing," complete with screechy backlash.

Don't Let Tebow Be Tebow?

The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla is concerned that Tebow's rough-n-tumble playing style will get him hurt over the course of an NFL season -- or even this weekend against the Lions' brutal D-line.

I think you've got to let Tebow be Tebow. That means creating an offensive playbook that plays to Tebow's strengths and skills -- and taking advantage of Tebow's size and toughness.

Kiszla cites the Kentucky concussion as proof that Tebow's style gets him hurt. This is wrong on two levels:

(1) He was in the pocket when he got pressured by UK -- pressure could/would/does happen to any QB, from one with mobility like Tebow to Vick to Rodgers to Brady. (It's a bit like saying "Oh! Don't let Brady play from the pocket! He might get tackled by a lineman and tear his ACL!")

(2) The concussion wasn't the result of a hit from a defensive player, who -- contrary to conventional wisdom -- don't actively seek out to headhunt QBs. It was a freak play where Tebow hit his own teammate's knee after being initially pressured by UK.

The concussion issue is very real (just go back to Teblog posts from late-September 2009). But the circumstances of Tebow's concussion make for a flimsy argument against his playing style.

-- Dan

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another Great Take on Tebow

Echoing the persistent refrain here that NFL coaching orthodoxy -- not Tim Tebow's skills -- is the bigger problem right now for Tebow's future, here is Deadspin's Nate Jackson:
I am hoping and waiting for a brave coach to put in some plays called "Get Open" and "Throw to Whomever the F#$% You Want." Those plays will work. I'm sure of it. When things are right, there's a telekinesis on the football field that supersedes everything. I've felt it. And I've felt the triumph of flawless execution. I'll take the magic over the execution any day. The magic is Tim Tebow's milieu. The flawless execution is not.
If you found yourself watching last night's MNF debacle, muttering: "And the football 'experts' rip Tebow?" this is your column.

Tebow x Religion: Here's a Good Take

I read almost everything written about Tim Tebow. I pay particular attention to the stuff that directly talks about Tebow and religion. I don't know why I punish myself, because most -- almost all -- of this writing is painfully bad, a combination of stridency and self-assurance and sequestration that almost always loses sight of the essential nuance of the topic.

Grantland's Brian Phillips has one of the more thoughtful, nuanced and interesting takes on the intersection of Tebow and religion and how religion sits at the intersection of much of the Tebow debate (if buried underneath the strictly football discussion). I don't want to excerpt it here. I just want to point you to it with my strongest recommendation you read it.

Hopefully, I can circle back later this week and we can talk more about it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Morning-After Tebow: So Many Links

So many day-after links about Tebow. I'll try to point you to a few I liked:

*One of my favorite writers, SmartFootball's Chris Brown, wrote about the 2-point conversion play for Grantland.

*Brown's Grantland colleague, Bill Barnwell, was less generous. I thought there was perhaps a bit too much straw-man in this argument, but it's a fair one about where credit goes.

*Woody on Tebow: "What you saw Sunday is what you get with Tebow."

*Kiszla on Tebow: "
From happy feet in the pocket to throws so errant you worried that a spectator in the stands might get hurt, everything that could ultimately cause Tebow to fail at the pro level was on display until he had no choice except to be great."

*SI's Don Banks: "
Are the Broncos really any closer to knowing if Tebow is their long-term answer at quarterback based on Sunday's rollercoaster ride against the still-winless Dolphins? I don't think so... But Denver also saw just enough of the part of Tebow's game that can be difference making."

Will add more later. Email timteblog-at-gmail if you see any other really good ones.

-- Dan

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tebow Leads Broncos to OT W in Miami

*My favorite part -- and I think the most important and telling part: Tebow's reaction immediately after the game.

While his teammates jumped around -- certainly deservedly -- Tebow was restrained. He bent to his knee for a moment, then stood up and calmly walked around hugging teammates.

No demonstrative fist-pumping. No rah-rah cheering -- and he certainly had earned it by the time the game was over.

But you got the sense that Tebow was entirely satisfied with the game's result -- undoubtedly, he expected to win -- but knows full well that he didn't play great. Well enough, but not great.

And he expects more of himself than that. That's part of who Tebow is and why the reaction was so impressive.

He acted like he'd been there before. All the haters and skeptics and doubters and mockers could take a lesson.

More instant reactions:

*What a final few minutes. Wow.

*Tebow was getting killed by fans and media on Twitter for the first 55 minutes of this game, some fairly and some unfairly. But he was getting crushed.

*I think it's fair to say that Tebow led the team to a win despite John Fox's play-calling on offense.

*Yeah, this is going to be just a little bit of a big deal tomorrow -- and all week. It's Tebow, after all.

*Wow, was that exciting.

-- Dan

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today's Tebow Must-Read

We mentioned that Tim Tebow was on the cover of the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine. Here's the cover story, which captures almost all of the scope of the Tebow situation right now. Well done by reporter Tim Keown. Really good read for today (and to get you ready for Sunday).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ESPN Mag Puts Tebow on Cover

That's more like it: ESPN The Magazine put Tim Tebow on its cover this week. Not just smart, but entirely relevant.

Tim Tebow in This Week's SI

I thought that between the Broncos' bye week, the lack of a timely way to cover the World Series participants and the overall interest in Tim Tebow, Sports Illustrated would put Tebow on their cover this week. You'll have to settle for a Phil Taylor essay in the magazine. Money quote:
You don't have to be a Broncos fan to hope that he makes his skeptics look foolish, if only to remind them that allowing for the possibility of magic is the logical thing to do.
Big week coming up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let's Stop Arguing About Tim Tebow

A nice supplement to the post earlier this week that most Tim Tebow fans simply wanted Tebow to get a chance to play (even if he is hand-cuffed by John Fox's clod-hopping tactical judgment) is this post by SBNation's Spencer Hall about the proliferation this week* of stupid debates about Tebow coming from multiple sides. I'm inclined to promote this kind of analysis because since the beginning, this blog was about finding nuance in a topic that generates so much stridency.

(* - This week? It's been going on since before Tebow turned pro, but certainly has been humming along ever since January 2010.)

Tim Tebow in... "Die Hard 5" (Wait: What?)

This idea floated by the head of Fox movies that Tim Tebow could play a role in the next "Die Hard" is absurd... yet entirely in line with everything we know about the Tebow phenomenon.

(I actually think Tebow has a natural sense of comedic timing, and even though he has the "action-hero" build and temperament, I can't see him even wanting the role.)

That said: Kudos to Fox's Tom Rothman for floating it out there. He knows that even just mentioning Tebow puts this story -- and his movie -- at the top of every talk-radio, TV talking-head and blogger discussion list.

Just one more addition to the Tebow pop-culture canon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's About (Tebow) Time

If I could summarize the position of many -- starting last season but certainly culminating on Sunday and today, when Tim Tebow is expected to be named the Broncos starter a week from Sunday in Miami -- it is simply this:

Give Tebow a chance.

We saw what happened at the end of last season: Capable (even winning) play from a QB that way too many people said had no business being on the field as a rookie. (And, as a bonus, eye-popping fantasy football numbers.) Give Tebow a chance.

We saw what happened on Sunday: Kyle Orton was ineffective. The team was behind. John Fox begrudgingly inserted Tebow. Presto: A boost of crowd enthusiasm. A boost of player enthusiasm. "Vitamin T." Then the scores. Then the oh-no-WAY last-gasp sequence, where Tebow pulled off a play that maybe 3-5 other QBs in the league could -- spinning out of the defense's way for seemingly endless extra time, then a pass delivered into an open window the size of a football helmet. (BTW: Is there any doubt that on that missed 2-point conversion, Tebow could have run it in himself, rather than put him in a position to throw to Lloyd? Then all the Broncos would have needed was a game-ending field goal.) Give Tebow a chance.

There are plenty of reasons the Broncos should be starting Tim Tebow:

*In an otherwise lost season, fans will be engaged as enthusiastically as if the Broncos were a playoff contender. We saw that Sunday.

*The media -- nationally -- will give close attention to a team that is otherwise among the league's bottom-feeders. We saw that Sunday and Monday -- and every day for the next two weeks, culminating in an insane scene in Miami (for "Gator Day").

*In a point we've made here regularly: Even if John Fox HATED Tim Tebow (and he seemingly does), playing him has no downside: If the team wins, Fox gets credit; if Tebow plays terribly and the team loses out, Fox can say he gave Tebow a chance, then go draft Andrew Luck or Landry Jones or Matt Barkley.

But for all the power of Tebow as a passion point for fans or a draw for the national media or fun with fantasy football or even a backdoor way to find a different QB, the biggest reason to give Tebow a chance is this:

He can play. He makes the team better. He gives the team a different kind of chance to win. He will only get better with experience. He is a gamer.

There's such a "straw-man argument" out there in the media that Tebow fans insist Tebow will be an NFL superstar. I follow Tebow and the Tebow phenomenon as closely as anyone, and I just don't see that.

What I do see is Tebow fans -- and, now, national media coming around -- simply asking for the Broncos to give Tebow a chance.

(And by "a chance," I mean a real chance: Starting every offensive snap for the next 11 games. Even then, I'd say that he would have only begun to climb the learning curve and if he shows any progress at all, he will have earned the right to start a full season next year.)

He may flop. He may excel. He may exceed expectations. He may increase expectations, only to fall short of them. He may -- he will -- probably land somewhere in the middle, something even Tebow himself would agree with: He will make some great plays; he will show room for improvement. He will never be satisfied, even when he makes plays and wins games.

But all Tebow wants is a chance. All the fans want his for him to get that chance.

He's going to get it, and -- like the end of last season -- it's going to be fascinating and thrilling and even sometimes maddening (particularly if the coaches keep insisting on cramming Tebow into their pre-conceived notions of NFL offensive orthodoxy, rather than tweaking things to play to his unique skills).

But Tebow is going to get the chance to play. That's all he, we, you or anyone can ask for.

-- Dan

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Broncos Finally Play Tim Tebow

"What mattered is the Broncos finally gave Tebow a chance. That’s all the fans in Denver wanted. Now that Denver coach John Fox has gone to Tebow, there is no chance that the Broncos can or will go back." -- Bill Williamson, ESPN.com

Much more coming.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tebow vs. Packers: One Measly Play

One play. One measly play. After all that talk about Fox being ready to deploy Tebow, the coach of the Broncos used Tebow once, early in the game. Even when the game was laughably out of reach, Fox refused to play Tebow. Hell, the Packers played backup QB Matt Flynn, and if you didn't know better, you'd think they were rubbing it in.

The only solace is that you look across the field at Aaron Rodgers -- a QB who is/was at the top of his game (or any QB's game, frankly) -- and you realize that he sat (and sat... and sat...) for years before he got his shot. I'm not arguing that Tebow is going to have as good of a career as Rodgers. What I'm arguing is that he deserves a shot, just like Rodgers got one.

It's so obvious he won't get that shot with John Fox in Denver. It's equally obvious that the only reason they won't trade him or release him is that they are deathly afraid that if/when Tebow does get that shot -- with someone else -- he makes the most of it.

Tim Tebow To Play in NFL Week 4?

Via Denver Post's Mike Klis, apparently so.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Give Tim Tebow a Chance"

"If a low-scoring, losing NFL team can't find a way to get Tim Tebow in the game, then new coach John Fox is a stubborn goat so stuck in the 1970s and so hopelessly out of touch with his fan base that one might begin to wonder why the Broncos hired him in the first place. All we're saying is: Give Tebow a chance." -- Mark Kiszla, Denver Post, 9/27/11

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why Didn't Broncos Use Tebow?

One more piece of compelling evidence that John Fox doesn't have a great idea of what he's doing:

On anything-and-short -- let alone 3rd-and-short or 4th-and-short -- it should be Tebow Time. If Kyle Orton can't handle that, maybe he's not the "pro" everyone in the "brain trust" in Denver thinks he is.

If Fox doesn't recognize "Tebow short" as potentially one of the most efficient play-calls in his (or any) playbook, the Broncos coach is even worse than we thought he was.

The Broncos lost the game because John Fox didn't use Tim Tebow -- what compounds the error is that Fox didn't even THINK to use Tebow.

And, make no mistake, it cost the Broncos the game.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tim Tebow, Wide Receiver

Can't decide if I was happy that Tim Tebow got on the field yesterday in any capacity or that this was just the most recent deflating episode.

(Tebow, to his credit, seemed game to contribute however he could -- or however the coach wanted him to.)

The shame is that getting the ball in Tebow's hands as a playmaker IS a great strategy -- too bad John Fox only seems to think it's a good idea when every other receiver option is out.

As I tweeted out yesterday: Wonder which fantasy league -- ESPN.com, Yahoo, CBSSports.com, NFL.com -- will be the first to give Tebow dual-eligibility at QB and WR?

-- D.S.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The "Start Tebow" Billboard Campaign

Hey: Why not?

(And, as with everything Tebow, these folks ARE going to get their money's worth -- in media coverage.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Broncos Lose Opener, Fans Chant for Tebow

Why were Broncos fans chanting for Tim Tebow last night in the Broncos' season opener?

Because Kyle Orton -- despite going over 300 yards passing -- was largely ineffective. He couldn't produce a touchdown for the offense until just minutes remained in the game, and his interception-and-fumble combo went a long way to costing the Broncos the game.

The whole idea from the Broncos' "brain trust" of Elway, Xanders and Fox was that Orton was "more prepared" to be the starter than Tebow. Sure didn't look like it.

If the Broncos were going to produce a limp offensive night in a loss, Tebow certainly couldn't have done worse than Orton. And, in that case, there is no reason the team shouldn't start Tebow.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jacksonville Homecoming for Tim Tebow?

With the Jaguars cutting incumbent QB David Garrard today, a brief flurry of speculation if the team would go after trading for Tim Tebow, who they could probably get at a discount from Denver.

This is easy: They absolutely should try to trade for him for a very simple reason -- the franchise is a bit of a mess, and what we know is that Tebow's presence alone offers national media attention, cachet and, most of all, enthusiasm among the fan base (a perennial Jaguars problem).

Here's the thing: If Jack Del Rio -- like John Fox -- isn't willing to use Tebow creatively (if not as the starting QB), then it is entirely for marketing purposes. Now, that has its value, but you'd like to see Tebow's marketing value in north Florida paired with his football value.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tim Tebow's NFL Future

Really fair, well-thought-out post by Yahoo Sports' Doug Farrar about Tim Tebow's future in the NFL -- so much better than the knee-jerk half-baked "analysis."

One quote from Jon Gruden stood out: "I think you have to have a plan for those guys to utilize their physical capabilities, and I think you have to modify your offense to a degree to enhance some of the things that they can do themselves running the ball."

That's a common theme here: That to maximize Tebow's unique talents, you need a coach willing to be much more creative than the typical NFL coaching orthodoxy (typified by John Fox).

Whole post is worth a read.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Peter King Defends Tim Tebow

*I guess Tim Tebow was Den's 4th-best QB when he led Broncs to 24-second-half pts and 24-23 win over Houston.

*There's no 3rd QB rules anymore. If coaches can't find a role for Tebow in their offense, Den must be more explosive than 80s Niners.

*Last Tebow point: Don't get me wrong; I'm not advocating he start over Orton. I'm saying he should have a package of Wildcat/option plays.

-- Peter King on Twitter, about Tim Tebow in the wake of Michael Silver's piece about Tebow being a 4th-stringer and this morning's comments from Boomer Esiason.

Comments: Agree 100% with the first tweet. Agree 100% with the second tweet. Agree 100% with the third tweet. All things we've been saying here for a year.

"Tim Tebow Can't...": Boomer Esiason Edition

"He can't play. He can't throw. I'm not here to insult him. The reality is he was a great college football player, maybe the greatest college football player of his time. But he's not an NFL quarterback right now."

"Just because he's God-fearing, and a great person off the field, and was a winner with the team that had the best athletes in college football, doesn't mean his game is going to translate to the NFL."

"What (former Broncos coach) Josh McDaniel saw in him God only knows. Maybe God does know — because the rest of us don't."

-- "NFL Today" analyst Boomer Esiason, trying to score cheap points by trolling Tebow for an audience of sports-media reporters who know that anything they publish about Tebow will get lots of attention. (The "God" stuff is particularly cheap -- you don't have to be religious to find that type of comment to be an unnecessary attempt by Esiason to draw attention to himself. The "I'm not here to insult him, but..." was a particularly inane touch.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tim Tebow Not Going Anywhere

“They’re not about to trade him, they’re not about to release him.”

-- Chris Mortensen. More from ProFootballTalk here.

Tebow In Denver...Or Elsewhere

I think most Tebow fans -- and they transcend parochial interest in the Broncos (in truth, they would have rooted for Tebow wherever he was drafted) -- are interested in one thing:

That Tebow end up with an NFL coach who is secure enough and brilliant enough to deploy him in an unorthodox way that maximizes Tebow's unique skills and optimizes their own team's chances.

I'm not sure that exists in the NFL -- the late (and best-ever) Bill Walsh is long gone; the Steve Young comparison falls flat not because of Tebow, but because of NFL coaching.

If Denver isn't committed to doing that with Tebow, then it's in Tebow's best interests if the team lets him go, either through trade or release. (If the latter, I'll bet Bill Belichick finds room.)

It's funny: The Broncos had an amazing opportunity -- play Tebow full-time to give him a shot (and try to develop him).

If Tebow failed utterly, the consolation prize was being in a position to draft Andrew Luck to replace Tebow; if he did OK, they are that much further to having a long-term solution at QB.

The team's milquetoast approach is doing themselves -- not to mention Tebow or Broncos fans -- no favors.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tim Tebow: Third String?

How did we get from a compelling argument for Tim Tebow starting for the Broncos... to Tebow as third-stringer behind both Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn?

It's unclear what kind of strategic or tactical value the Broncos get from giving Quinn 2nd-team snaps ahead of Tebow -- it's not like Quinn has a long-term future in Denver.

And if Kyle Orton gets injured early in the season, are the Broncos really going to play Quinn over Tebow? If the team is more likely to lose than win either way, why not play Tebow?

It is a baffling decision by John Fox and John Elway -- if they don't want Tebow (or simply don't believe in him), they might as well trade him to a team that is willing to give him a chance.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tebow's Development Curve Looks Good

ESPN's Chris Sprow has a must-read (via Insider) about Tim Tebow's long-term prospects, which he is very bullish about.

He draws the smart comparison to Steve Young when Young was a 25-year-old struggling to run Tampa's offense. Young, of course, became a Hall of Famer -- an all-time great QB -- when he got to the 49ers and played in a system designed by the greatest mind in pro football history, Bill Walsh. (But a transition certainly not made any easier by the presence of legend Joe Montana.)

It isn't unreasonable to argue -- in fact, it's something argued here for more than a year -- that it will take as fearless and imaginative a coaching mind as Walsh had (if that's even possible these days) for Tebow to realize his vast NFL potential. You can only hope that someday, he finds it. It might not be in Denver. In fact, if Young's model is any indicator, it won't happen in Denver.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Tim Tebow

Hard to think of a 24-year-old with more impact. (Mark Zuckerberg maybe? OK: So let's limit it to sports -- hard to think of a 24-year-old athlete with more impact.)

Tim Tebow is Faith vs. Doubt

"To believe in Tebow is to see and feel and believe something others don’t. It is having faith vs. having doubt."

-- Dan LeBatard, in today's Miami Herald, with a very interesting take on Tebow. It toes the edge of making this about the "religion" issue, but then craftily flips it into a conversation about the essence of being a sports fan.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Tebow Needs to Be Tebow"

Worth a read, from the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla.

(At a bare minimum, let Tebow be Tebow by letting him have the ball inside the 5-yard-line and in short-yardage situations where his dual-threat ability gives the team a unique edge. Honestly, the strict adherence to NFL orthodoxy is the much bigger problem than anything Tebow is or isn't doing.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Using Tim Tebow Opportunistically

There has been a lot of talk today about how Tim Tebow played last night, but I want to focus on Kyle Orton for a second.

In Orton's only series of the game, he led the Broncos to 1st and goal at the Cowboys' 1-yard line. Orton proceeded to throw the Broncos out of getting a TD; it ended in a field goal.

Here is my question:

If it was a REAL game, and the Broncos had 1st and goal at the 1 -- even in the 1st quarter -- isn't the best play, the play with the most chance of success, to pull Orton and insert Tebow?

And yet we probably won't see it. Maybe it's because John Fox doesn't want to upset his starting QB's seemingly delicate sensibilities. Maybe it's because it causes a lot of trouble if Tebow does something positive.

But more likely, it is because the notion of using a full-time 2-QB system -- where one QB comes in specifically for short-yardage plays, such as goal-line or 4th-and-short (or even 2nd- or 3rd-and-short) situations elsewhere on the field is anathema to NFL strategic orthodoxy.

We've argued for more than a year that if you're not going to use Tebow as a full-time QB, then the way to get the most out of him is to use him situationally -- not as a Wildcat gimmick but as a part of a base offense that revolves around two QBs.

John Fox doesn't seem to be the kind of coach who has the wherewithal to pull that off. (On the other hand, one of the reasons so many people wanted to see Tebow end up in New England is precisely for the innovative ways Bill Belichick would have used him, even with the best QB on the planet already on his roster.)

Tebow will start soon enough -- it might take half the season, but Tebow starting is as inevitable as the Broncos not even sniffing playoff contention.

In the meantime, there are plenty of valuable ways he could help right now -- if not as the "starting" QB, then an alternate QB who comes in when the tough yards are needed.

A Good (Non-) Start for Tim Tebow

Last night's preseason opener was a good one for Tim Tebow. The morning-after reviews are along the lines of "Hey... not bad!"

Ironically, the critics who spent the past week bashing him only ended up reducing expectations to a tepid bath -- easily cleared by relative standards.

Most fans nationally didn't watch the entire game. They will see Tebow's high completion rate. They will see that crazy scrambling play -- called back on several penalties, but no less entertaining than any play of the first NFL preseason weekend.

But how did he really play? Fine, actually. He got solid reviews from Yahoo's Doug Farrar.

The big point is that all the criticism turns this into a game of whether or not Tebow beats the (low) expectations, not whether he plays well in an absolute sense.

Expectations-wise, Tebow exceeded. That's enough to give sports pundits a week's worth of new discussion, but I'm betting Tebow is focusing on what he can do better.

(By the way, when Kyle Orton had three chances right near the goal line and couldn't secure a TD, that's where you can't believe that a head coach would be so concerned about Orton's feelings that he wouldn't replace him with "Tebow Smash" to bull the ball in. I'm not saying John Fox would need to do that in a preseason game -- but if this was the regular season? It is strategically sub-optimal to stubbornly stick with Orton at the goal line if Tebow can smash you in a TD far more efficiently.)

-- D.S.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ESPN's Rick Reilly Sacks Tim Tebow

"He'll be a wonderful cheerleader."

That's the kicker of Rick Reilly's column that buries Tim Tebow.

More from the column:

*"It's over. Orton won by the kind of margin Kim Jong Il wins elections. If it had been a pee wee basketball game, they'd have turned the scoreboard off."

*"The Heisman Trophy winner looks stiff under center. Most quarterbacks go snap-step-step-step-throw. Tebow goes snap-step-step-step-think-ponder-think-some-more-finally-decide-throw-three-feet-behind-the-receiver."

*[Starting Orton] "It's the only choice Denver could make. The entire locker room wants Orton. In the NFL, you have to start the guy the players think they can win behind. They see. They watch film. They know what's working. 'If they picked Tebow now," said a source within the team, "the coaching staff would totally lose the players.'"

*"This lockout crushed Tebow. He's such a hard worker that he would've been at Bronco headquarters every day in the offseason, learning coverages, working on his three-step drop, soaking up every word new coach John Fox uttered. But instead, he reported to camp in fantastic shape physically but still flabby technically."

*Reilly offers one concession: "If I were playing in a streetball game where the losing team has to move permanently to a time-share in Kabul, I'd take Tebow every time."

Yeesh. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tim Tebow: No. 2 on Broncos Depth Chart

As expected. (And you might want to add... "For now.")

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tebow: Never Promised a Starting Job

The clarification had to be made because almost everyone in the media misinterpreted the "taken away from me" quote in the Paige column. That said, the hysteria around it yesterday was to be expected.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tim Tebow Can't...: Oh Really?

From today's column by Woody Paige in the Denver Post:

"I’m trying to insulate myself from what people in the media are saying, but I’ve seen some of it, and it hurts because it’s coming from people who haven’t seen me practice, haven’t seen me play, haven’t seen what I can do."

"...They don’t know what I’m capable of and what’s inside me. My family and my friends have been bothered by what’s gone on, and I tell them to pay no attention to it. I’m relying as always on my faith."

Tim Tebow might be frustrated. This week was marked by Kyle Orton presumably ascending to first-string, the absurd Merril Hoge tweets, the even-more-absurd LeBron tweets, and -- finally -- this column with Woody Paige where Tebow could vent some of that frustration.

But there was also that sense of determination that has been a hallmark of Tebow for his entire career. As we've talked about since before the draft, no player will work harder at getting better -- at being the best he can be -- than Tebow.

To question that -- in the first week of August, no less -- is to make the same mistake we've seen over and over, in the past five years: "Tim Tebow can't..." -- yeah, sure.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tim Tebow vs. Merril Hoge

It started with this tweet from ESPN analyst Merril Hoge: "Sitting watching tape off bronco offense from last year! Orton or Tebow? It's embarrassing to think the broncos could win with tebow!!"

Hoge would continue on a Twitter rant against Tebow, then go on-air to continue.

Last night, Tebow responded: "Hey Merril...... 'ppreciate that"

That is as close to sarcasm as you will get from Tebow. (It reminded me of my favorite Tebow moment ever: When he did the Gator Chomp in Nic Harris' face in the 2008 national title game.)

After that, things got even more interesting. LeBron James tweeted out his support of Tebow (and his disdain of Hoge).

Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL. He's a hard worker, a student of the game, a natural born leader and most of all a WINNER! It takes time and he'll be nice...

Listened to Merril Hoge today on SC and he was just blasting Tebow. The man hasn't even play a full season and its only his 2nd year in...

Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played. How bout encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!

A few things: It was already a big story, because anything involving Tim Tebow becomes a big story. LeBron weighing in makes it REALLY big -- it creates a confluence of two of the Top 5 most talked-about athletes of the last decade.

It might have petered out yesterday -- although we all know that anything Tebow gets attention, which is a big reason why Hoge said what he said and an even bigger reason why he will continue to rail on Tebow; it's good for his Q-rating.

But the combination of Tebow responding (at all, let alone with a bit of snark) and then LeBron jumping in will turn this into one of the big stories of the day and the rest of the preseason.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tim Tebow Will Not Be Starting (Yet)

Tim Tebow will not be starting the season as QB1 for the Broncos. It will be Kyle Orton, who the team tried to trade but ultimately didn't.

Orton might be the more polished QB right now, but it begs the question of why a rebuilding team wouldn't give reps to the QB they want starring for them 3-5 years from now.

Inevitably, we will see exactly what happened last year: The team will be effectively eliminated from the playoff chase early on, and Tebow will get his chances near the end of the season.

It will be enough to make folks wonder why Elway-Fox-Xanders didn't give Tebow his reps from the very start. You're either committed to rebuilding and a learning curve or not.

Oh, and Merrill Hoge? Pfft.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tim Tebow's New Nike Logo

Check out Tim Tebow's new Nike logo. There's a lot going on there: It evokes power and destruction with the imagery of a sword. You can also see a "T" (or "TT"), as well as an "XV" (reflecting his number and marketing company). When viewed as a whole, the religious iconography of a cross is also unmistakable. All in all, a very strong logo treatment, simultaneously simple and layered with visual metaphors. Click that link above to see/buy the T-shirt.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Camp Opens: Tebow First to Arrive

First Bronco in the building at 8:01 this morning? Tim Tebow. Of course.

-- ESPN's Adam Schefter, via Twitter.

Tim Tebow's Starting Job To Lose

"Game on," as Tim Tebow tweeted yesterday afternoon. The NFL is back.

And with today's frenzy of player movement, the most intriguing storyline might be out of Denver: The Broncos are reportedly shopping erstwhile starting QB Kyle Orton.

That clears the lane for Tim Tebow to pick up where he left off last year: Starting at quarterback.

(The hours after new coach John Fox was hired last winter, when it seemed like he was down on Tebow, feel like years ago.)

The Broncos are going to give Tim Tebow a chance, from the start. That's all anyone can ask for.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tim Tebow to Start? His Job To Lose

NFL.com's Steve Wyche has done some reporting and thinks that the Broncos starting QB job is Tim Tebow's to lose.

ProFootballTalk did the transcribing of Wyche's podcast and the major conclusion was this: "I have talked to enough people . . . to comfortably say that unless Tim Tebow gets hurt in training camp or is absolutely awful, the starting job is his to lose. They want to find out if Tebow can play."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Two Years Ago Today, TimTeblog.com Launched

Two years ago today, I launched TimTeblog.com, promising obsessive coverage of the Tim Tebow phenomenon. (Here is that opening post.)

In part, it was because as a journalist, I thought Tim Tebow and his story throughout the 2009 season -- from trying to repeat as national champ to the NFL Draft -- was the most compelling story in sports.

In part, it was because as someone immersed in the media industry, I wanted to see if I could create a popular destination not about a sport or a team, but a single topic -- a single player. I thought that there was a fan appetite for that and was curious about the larger implications.

In part, it was because I was a huge Florida fan and -- in particular -- a huge Tim Tebow fan. I don't think I could have dedicated the time and energy to the project if I wasn't personally passionate about the topic, while still able to maintain a journalist's eye for good stories and analysis.

That stretch from July 2009 through the end of the season in January 2010 (really the SEC title game the first Saturday of December 2009), then the sprint from January through the NFL Draft in April 2010 remains one of the most memorable stints of my career.

I am grateful for the readers who found the site interesting. I am grateful for the community of people who commented and emailed. I am grateful that my hypothesis was right -- Tebow WAS the biggest story in sports that fall and spring; it led to a never-ending source of material.

Since the Draft, posting on the site has been spotty -- partly, that's because Tebow didn't play a whole lot in the fall of 2010 (and things really slowed down these past six months of 2011); partly, it's because I launched my company and its first product (Quickish.com). That said, I still update the site whenever interesting things happen (say, the "Through My Eyes" book launch and subsequent vault up the bestseller lists) and certainly when Tebow and the Broncos return to the field next month for training camp and the season.

If I have a regret, it is only that during a window of opportunity from December 2009 through the fall of 2010, I didn't take all the notes I had compiled -- both published on the site and never published on the site -- and write the book about Tebow I really wanted to. Obviously, it would be a bit different than "Through My Eyes" -- actually, it would be about Tebow through my eyes, the eyes of a fan and someone who "obsessively covered the Tebow phenomenon."

I thought that was a story worth telling -- I still do, and I think that in the same way you can today read something like Nick Hornby's classic "Fever Pitch" about an English soccer season of 20 years ago with complete enjoyment, I will someday write that Tebow book in a way that is as much about the universal lessons of that 2009 season and of fandom as it is about anything.

I'm excited to take this blog into Year 3 and I'm excited about trying to nip and tuck at the margins of my life in order to make that book a reality someday. If you really want to have fun, look at the Archives section on the right side of the site and take a trip back to that July of 2009 when the insanity of that season really began. It feels like a hundred years ago yet it still feels like last week. It was that much fun.

Thanks for joining me on the ride. More to come.

-- Dan

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tim Tebow's No. 15 Worn by WHOM?

Here's a name to know: Luchiez Purifoy. He is a freshman cornerback for the Gators this year who has made the mistake of picking No. 15 as his jersey number.

I will call it right now: This will become a big deal -- Florida fans (and media) will not be happy that Tim Tebow's jersey number was simply given away to any random frosh who wants to claim it. And, frankly, I don't think Purifoy really wants that kind of pressure.

Beyond that, I think it was a judgment error by the coaching staff (or equipment manager) to let him have it at all, and they will quickly backtrack once it becomes a "thing."

Via Alligator Army, check out the jersey assignments for '11-12 in the new Florida football media guide.

(On an unrelated note, I love that a new star player claims the No. 1 jersey whenever it opens up -- Chris Rainey takes it from the exiled Janoris Jenkins. And I love that the expectation is that whoever wears it has to try to live up to the standard of Percy Harvin (and Reggie Nelson) when they wore it.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tim Tebow's "Through My Eyes" Debuts at No. 6 on New York Times Best-Seller List

Tim Tebow's new book "Through My Eyes" debuts at No. 6 on the New York Times best-seller list this week, its first week of eligibility.

(Coincidentally, the new ESPN history is No. 5, after debuting at No. 1 last week. But where the ESPN book likely has peaked its sales, it feels like Tebow's book sales will only grow through the summer, particularly with Father's Day coming up next weekend. You can be sure tons of folks will be buying Tebow's book for their dads.)

"Through My Eyes" is currently No. 18 on the Amazon Top 100, but it carries an "up" arrow for trending momentum.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tim Tebow Meets Jon Stewart

Don't forget to watch Tim Tebow on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" tonight at 11:00 ET on Comedy Central. The interview portion usually starts after 11:15 or so. I'll have the clip here as soon as it is available online.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tim Tebow Hits Amazon Top 25

What were we saying the other day about Tim Tebow's book cracking the Amazon overall Top 25? He's there already, one day after the book released. Let's set the over-under at No. 3, with zero surprise if he hits No. 1.

(via Angel Gonzalez on Twitter)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tim Tebow's "Through My Eyes" Released Today

Tim Tebow's much-anticipated memoir "Through My Eyes" is releasing today -- you can pick it up at any bookstore or order it online, as many already have. It is currently No. 8 on the Amazon ranking of sports books, but I anticipate it will surge to No. 1 -- and eventually into the Top 20 of all book sales. Full book review coming later this week.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tim Tebow on His Motivations

From the essential Alligator Army:

"Being a role model is huge. That’s so much more important than scoring touchdowns or trying to win championships because at the end of the day, that’s just a game. If you can encourage someone, inspire someone and put a smile on their face, that’s actually meaningful. That actually changes peoples' lives, and that’s what I’m in it for."

-- Tim Tebow, from a speech at the Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award banquet.

Tebow's new book comes out Tuesday. Already getting emails from folks who pre-ordered the autographed version and it has arrived at their houses. Full review and coverage coming all next week.