Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tebow Tells His Side of Story

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

See the full NY Daily News report here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

On Tim Tebow and (Football) Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Dan

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jets Bench Sanchez for... Not Tebow

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

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

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

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

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

-- Dan

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


Monday, December 17, 2012

Today In Tebow: Monday Night + Great Read

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, definitely worth a read. Happy holidays!

-- Dan


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy 25th Birthday, Tim Tebow

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Dan

Jets Practice Tebow Offense -- Off The Record

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tim Tebow's Jets (Preseason) Debut

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

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

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

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

-- Dan

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tebow Foundation "W15H Wednesday"

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

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

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tebow in Short-Yardage: Jets Unveil

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


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


-- Dan

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tebow: Starting Q... in the Red Zone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Dan

And We're Back!

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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Revisiting Tim Tebow's NFL Draft Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"First-Round NFL Draft Pick."

-- Dan

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Jets-Themed Tebow Gear Released

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



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tim Tebow Named to "Time 100"

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

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tebow News Round-Up: April 16

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

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

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

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tebow's Message for Jets Fans

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

-- Tim Tebow, on Twitter last night

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Nike vs. Reebok Over Tebow

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

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nuanced Take on Tebow's Public Religious Expression

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

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

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

-- Dan

Tuesday Tebow Link Round-Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Dan

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tim Tebow vs. Mark Sanchez, Cont'd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Dan

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Welcome, New/Curious Readers

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tim Tebow vs. Mark Sanchez

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

Well, I should certainly hope so.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012

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

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Aaand...Maybe Not.

Let's pause that "Tebow to Jets" talk while they work out the contract issues. Sounds like it's down to the Jets or Jags, NYC or Jacksonville.

Tim Tebow Traded to New York Jets

Wow. Wow. Just... wow.

Tim Tebow is coming to New York City.

The biggest name in the NFL is coming to the biggest city in the country.

It's going to be nuts. It's going to be crazy. It's going to be wild.

And that's just the tabloid newspaper covers.

Tebow will fit great on a team that has largely been characterized as a bit of a nut-house, because he is one of the best teammates in the NFL -- works hard, wants to win.

If Mark Sanchez has a problem -- and he very well might -- that's Sanchez's problem, not Tebow's. And not the team's. I think Tebow will immediately win over his teammates.

Wow. Of all the destinations....

I go back to one of the truisms of Tebow: Just when you think it can't get any bigger, it does.

Much, much more soon.

-- Dan

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Where Will Tebow End Up, Cont'd

Speculation is swirling: Jaguars? Dolphins? Packers? Bills? Mystery team?

This almost reminds me of the week before the 2010 NFL Draft, when we were wondering which team would take Tebow.

Here's a really good take from Peter King, affirming a few things I strongly agree with:

(1) Tebow can be and should be an essential contributor to a winning football team.

(2) That doesn't necessarily mean Tebow would start full-time at QB.

(3) The right fit for Tebow is with a head coach secure in his position and innovative in his schemes.

What is the ideal outcome here? That Tebow is a starting QB in the NFL? That he makes tangible contributions to a winning team? That his team wins a Super Bowl? There are a lot of paths to success -- I know Tebow wants to be a starting QB in the league, and he has shown he can be successful in that role. He has earned the chance to compete, and he has shown a limitless capacity to work hard and learn.

I also know he wants to contribute however he can, and when he is finally on a team that wants him (unlike the Broncos), making that contribution in whatever way the coach can dream up (and hopefully the coach is plenty creative in doing it) will be a satisfying next chapter in Tebow's NFL career.

BTW, here's another read: The Redskins have been on zero radars and just forked over a trove of draft picks to position themselves to draft Robert Griffin III as their QB of the present and future, but in the Washington Post, I laid out the case for why trading for Tebow makes sense for D.C.

-- Dan

Monday, March 19, 2012

Broncos Signing Peyton, Trading Tebow

And there we have it: Peyton Manning has picked the Denver Broncos -- whose top executive John Elway pursued him with a passion that he never had for Tim Tebow. According to ESPN, Tim Tebow will be traded.

The Tebow Era in Denver is over. Where it continues instantly becomes the biggest story in sports.

A few snap judgments:

*Anyone who didn't see this coming hasn't been paying attention to the way John Elway has acted since Week 1.

*Betting on Peyton Manning returning from a year away with a neck injury is the biggest "if" in sports history. I guess they figure if Peyton goes down, they'll pull a Colts and "Splat for Matt [Barkley]."

*Where will Tebow end up? Well, the Jaguars just signed Chad Henne, to back up last season's first-round pick Blaine Gabbert. Unlikely he ends up there. (But you never know.) Peter King posits that he ends up on a team with a coach secure in his own stature -- the Patriots and Ravens come to mind. The fact is, teams will be able to get Tebow for a 3rd-round draft pick -- the question is: Do they want the hysteria that comes with him?

Ironically, there isn't a better teammate in the league than Tebow. He will do his best, no matter what the situation is -- what roster couldn't use that kind of presence? I wouldn't be scared away by the media frenzy -- I would focus on the value Tebow adds to any roster.

More later. Much much more.

-- Dan

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where Will Tim Tebow End Up?

Here are the scenarios:
(1) Peyton comes to Denver; Tebow gets traded.
(2) Peyton comes to Denver, Tebow gets kept. Awkward!
(3) Peyton snubs Denver, Tebow gets kept. Still awkward!

There is a very good chance Peyton Manning goes to the Broncos. I cannot imagine that he wants to play with Tebow, and beyond John Elway's interest in wanting to exile Tebow anyway, this gives him the pretext to do it. And so the natural question is: Where might Tebow end up?

There is a conventional wisdom that the Jaguars would love to have him. The reality is that the Jaguars new owner would love to have him; his football staff is less excited about the prospect. (Let's be real here: What the owner wants, the owner will get. I'd like to see him call the GM's bluff -- does the GM really want to quit over this? GM jobs don't exactly grow on trees.)

Anyway, Peter King had a nugget buried in his weekly Tuesday column, worth paying attention to:
I wouldn't be surprised if the most Denver could get for Tebow is a fourth-round pick. I know the fans in Jacksonville want him, but I can't see GM Gene Smith brining him in to muddle the quarterback situation with a guy they're trying to salvage, Blaine Gabbert, who'd be in an unwinnable situation with the fans. It'd take a strong coach -- Bill Belichick, John Harbaugh, Pete Carroll -- not worried about the public pressure to play him to take Tebow on, in my opinion. I could see Belichick or Harbaugh making him a wild card type of player, playing 15 snaps a game all over the offense.
I absolutely agree with King's assessment that a strong coach would definitely want Tebow -- that's at the heart of why we've been saying for years (really: since 2009 or before) that Tebow would end up with the Patriots, even if he isn't the starting QB but merely an ultra-back that Bill Belichick unleashes on the rest of the NFL to the tune of 20 TDs a year.

I still think that if the Jaguars' owner wants him, he'll get him. The Jags are willing to pay more than the market rate (say, a 4th rounder).

This remains the most intriguing storyline of the NFL offseason -- even more intriguing than where Peyton Manning goes. And if/when Manning signs with the Broncos, this is going to become a frenzy, as usual.

-- Dan

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Peyton Manning vs. Tim Tebow, Cont'd

At this point, let's hope that the Broncos sign Peyton Manning and trade Tim Tebow to a team that actually wants him (ie, Jacksonville), because this situation is brutal.

It's funny to read the "reports" that the Broncos would get rid of Tebow if Manning came in -- what, exactly, is the other choice? Keep Tebow? Relegate him from starting QB of a playoff team to backup for the next 2-3 years? (Or 2-3 games until Manning snaps in half.)

The best-case scenario for Tebow is that he gets traded to a team that actually wants him.

The worst-case scenario is that Peyton Manning picks the Cardinals and Tebow is left playing for a team president and coach who so obviously don't want him there.

-- Dan

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Another View of Tebow vs. Manning

This has been floated around a couple of times over the past few weeks: What if the Broncos signed Peyton Manning and traded Tim Tebow to the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Jaguars fans and ownership would obviously be thrilled. John Elway and John Fox would be thrilled to finally unburden themselves of a player they don't support.

And, for all his enthusiasm for Denver, Tebow would presumably be happy to return to his hometown and home state (where his support is more rabid than anywhere else) -- and assuredly happy to join a team thrilled to commit to him as their starting QB.

Broncos fans would surely miss Tebow, but it's not like they would be replacing him with a slouch like Brady Quinn or any other inferior QB.

Did the Jaguars just use a first-round pick on Blaine Gabbert? Yes. They can trade him or let him develop slowly as Tebow's backup (before trading him).

But it's not like the plan doesn't make sense. I still think Manning ends up in Miami or Washington, and the entire question is moot -- aside from the signal Elway sends to Tebow and Broncos fans by entertaining the idea of bringing in Peyton Manning in the first place.

Tim Tebow vs. Peyton Manning

It's unclear who leaked to the media that the Broncos are interested in Peyton Manning -- let's accept it on its face that it is true.

That would make Denver the only team among the dozen or so angling for Manning who (a) already have an entirely capable incumbent QB, and (b) made the playoffs last year with an incumbent QB.

People ask why I think John Elway is disingenuous and why I think the media totally mis-read Elway's "supportive" quotes of Tebow, and it's things like this. The Broncos don't need Manning -- they have a starting QB who got them to the playoffs under some severely limited conditions.

Beyond that, the Broncos have virtually no shot at Manning -- he doesn't want to play for them and there are plenty of other teams he would rather play for (and would be thrilled to bid up to get him). So I'm not sure I see the point in floating the idea they would want him.

All it does is (continue to) undermine Tebow.

(This topic is totally aggravating, and yet it's still probably preferable to talking about whether Tebow is dating Taylor Swift, the discussion of which you'll notice has been absent from this site.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

John Elway Talks Tebow at NFL Combine

Broncos honcho John Elway is finally figuring out that there's no point to qualifying his fundamental problems with Tim Tebow in public. He understands that by seeming to support Tebow -- by saying all the right things -- he sidesteps the headache of a media-ginned controversy, with no downside:

Who is going to call Elway on his support for Tebow on February 24 if he benches him or trades him or does something else months from now? Trust me: If that happens, the accompanying hysteria won't be about Elway's flip-flopping. And so Elway meets the media and offers banal support. And yet: Elway still can't help using hedging language:
"We're happy with his year last year. He really added a great spark for us and we really had some good things happen two us. I was really happy with his progress. I know Tim is going to work hard this offseason, and we're hoping that he's going to be the guy for a long, long time."
Emphasis mine. Why not say "Tebow. Is. Our. Starting. QB. Period. Preseason. Regular season. Period." Every other coach or GM of a 2011 playoff team would say it -- none of them have to; it's assumed their starting QBs' jobs are safe.

-- Dan

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Tebow Postscript to the 2011 Season

The end to the Broncos' and Tim Tebow's season was only nominally surprising.

On the one hand, no one expected the Patriots' leaky D to bring it like they did; on the other hand, it's not like Fox and McCoy proved particularly adept at modifying their offensive schemes when defenses figured them out.

At the same time, for all the breathless "Tim Tebow vs. Tom Brady!" pregame hype, it's not like Tebow was responsible for Brady and the Pats offense putting up a bazillion points.

I'll stick with the bigger picture: Tebow led a team that was projected in August to win less than a half-dozen games (and predicted in early October to win half of THAT) to the playoffs and a thrilling first-round win over the defending conference champs. It was a smashing success of a season.

And that's why it's so frustrating to get the return of John Elway's underminey schtick yesterday, when he said that Tebow was the team's starting QB... heading into training camp.

For the record, of the 11 other 2011 NFL playoff teams, not a single one would say that their starting QB only has the job heading into training camp. For that matter, of the 20 other teams in the NFL, maybe a half-dozen (bottom-feeders) aren't already committed to a Week 1 starter for 2012.

Would it have been so hard for Elway to have said "Tim Tebow is our starting QB next season." (1) It should be true; he's earned it. (2) It's not like anyone will hold Elway to that in the event something goes horribly awry in training camp.

What you're left with is the feeling we all had after Week 7 or Week 8 or Week 9 or Week 10 or Week 11 (and on and on) -- that Elway isn't committed to Tebow. Not really, in any case. (We already knew Fox wasn't.)

I'll stand by my analysis from October: Staring at a lost season after that 1-4 start, Elway and Fox figured they would start Tebow, he would flail his way to one or two wins over the next 11 games and the team execs would have the air cover to cut Tebow loose. When Tebow won, the execs' plan was spoiled -- even as they tried to enjoy the ride through the playoffs (knowing full well it was creating a problem for them in the longer-term, if they didn't want Tebow).

If Elway and Fox don't see Tebow as the long-term starter, it is the height of disingenuousness for them to string everyone along. It is laughable that they would be so afraid of public reaction and/or media reaction -- let alone that Tebow would sign on elsewhere and have a good NFL career -- that they would leave their principles at the door and continue to claim to work with him if they really don't want to.

I suspect that they will simply collect the house money they won in 2011 and shift their original 2011 strategy to 2012 -- let Tebow start and hope he loses enough that they can justify benching him and, ultimately, letting him go.

The proof will be whether they refine the Tebow offense -- more sophistication, more counters to what defenses do to adapt, more variety of plays as Tebow improves in other areas. Let's remember that they got to the playoffs with an offense that barely scratched the surface of innovation. (Of course, Fox's own myth-making to the contrary, he's not an innovator.)

I don't believe Elway and Fox want to create something long-term and successful with Tebow, both because they don't believe he can pull it off and, without question, because they lack the gumption to try. I do believe that we're in for many many more months of conversations like this. And I do believe that with a commitment to innovation and to Tebow, the Broncos could be even more successful than this season's run into the NFL's Divisional Round.

-- Dan

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tim Tebow Wins

This has been an insane week for the Tim Tebow phenomenon -- the most insane week ever (and there have been plenty of weeks where I have said, "Wow, it's even crazier than ever.")

There were not one but two big musical parodies (the "St. Elmo's Fire" guy and Jimmy Fallon last night), the "Most Popular Athlete" poll and column after column after column (after column after column...)

It's probably appropriate that the biggest column of them all -- "Believing in Tim Tebow" by ESPN's Rick Reilly, on the front page of ESPN.com right now -- comes on the eve of tomorrow night's game. Essentially, Tim Tebow wins over Rick Reilly -- Reilly being a proxy for the legion of folks who don't buy into Tebow or think the whole thing is overblown. Money quote:
I've given up giving up on him. I'm a 100 percent believer. Not in his arm. Not in his skills. I believe in his heart, his there-will-definitely-be-a-pony-under-the-tree optimism, the way his love pours into people, right up to their eyeballs, until they believe they can master the hopeless comeback, too.
Reilly picked up on a longstanding TimTeblog theme: Tebow's goodness (through action) transcends religion -- Reilly doesn't mention Christianity at all, actually -- and speaks to an essential humanism that everyone can appreciate and be inspired by.

If you want a takeaway of the Tebow phenomenon -- before tomorrow night's game is played and we layer on whether he loses to the Patriots or advances one game from the Super Bowl -- it is that. And to the extent that the message gets across -- from Reilly and others (don't miss this op-ed column in the Orlando Sentinel by Tebow biographer Nathan Whitaker) -- all this Tebow hysteria is worth wading through.

I think that's what Tebow thinks, too -- you never know where someone will find that glimmer of inspiration. Maybe it's seeing a story about Tebow working with a sick kid, maybe it's hearing Tebow talk about working his hardest or being a great teammate. Maybe it's just watching one more improbable play.

But somewhere in that avalanche of media coverage, maybe you -- or anyone -- finds the thing that makes them think or act differently, for the better.

That's why I titled this post "Tim Tebow Wins." Because it has nothing to do with whether or not he wins tomorrow night -- although that's always more fun, and certainly if he didn't win the game last week, we wouldn't be having this week's hysteria. It has to do with his essential belief that winning that comes the way he lives his life and, equally important, from inspiring people -- Rick Reilly, whoever -- to be better people.

-- Dan

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tebow and That "Favorite Athlete" Poll

Tim Tebow's reaction to that ESPN poll released yesterday that had Tebow as America's most popular athlete in December:
"What's that tell me? It tells me they have a lot of crazy polls out there. I hope people see I'm real and genuine. I hope they see that I make a ton of mistakes but that I always get back up and try again."
Get more here.

Tebow Mania Round-Up for the Week

I mostly love Tebow tributes, but the "Tim Tebow's Fire" remake of "St. Elmo's Fire" (below) is really terrible. On to the rest of what I'm seeing:

*This "Tecmo Tebow" T-shirt, however, is awesome. Click the image to buy.


And here's the Tecmo recreation of the Tebow-to-Thomas TD pass:



*Surprise: Tebow was America's favorite athlete in December. (Just a hunch that he'll maintain the title in January.)

*Tebow on TV: You've probably seen the Tebow documentary "Everything In Between" -- covering his stretch between finishing at Florida and the night of the NFL Draft -- but you might not have seen the doc that ESPN did about his senior season at Nease H.S. Both are going to be re-aired on various ESPN channels on Friday and Saturday. Here's a schedule.

*Punditry: CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel praises Tebow's "corny enthusiasm." (It's part of the charm, frankly. As much as anything, because it's actually who he is.)

More as it shows up...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Submitted Without Comment

Remember that old song "St. Elmo's Fire?" The guy rewrote it -- and re-recorded it -- to call it "Tim Tebow's Fire." Just passing it along...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tebow Leads Broncos Past Steelers

It is a Tebow truism -- perhaps THE Tebow truism -- that just when you think that things with Tebow can't get any more unbelievable or crazy or hysterical or awesome or epic... they do.

This is the essence of faith in Tebow: No matter the circumstances, allow for even a smidgen of belief -- and you can feel free to believe all the way to 100%, but a smidgen will do -- and that belief, that faith in the guy, will be rewarded.

Right up until the end of the 4th quarter, I was pretty secure in the idea that a win or a loss in the game doesn't change the fundamentally incredible accomplishment of Tebow this season in helping a team everyone thought would be terrible get to the playoffs. A win is a bonus.

But then to have Tebow play his greatest game as a pro -- not just the career-high in yards passing (316!), but the verve and accuracy of the throws, plus the gutsy chain-moving runs -- against the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL, capped by that insane overtime-opening, game-winning 80-yard TD pass.

If you consider the moment and the players involved and the stakes, Tebow was responsible for nothing less than the greatest play of the NFL season, by any player, and one of the most memorable plays in NFL playoff history.

Let's do it again: Almost no one will give Tebow and the Broncos a chance against the Patriots next week in Foxboro. That's OK. The season is now not just a success but wildly beyond a success. If folks want to say "Tim Tebow can't beat the Patriots next week," OK.

Just remember: "Tim Tebow can't beat the Steelers in the playoffs."

-- Dan

Tebow Playoff Game Day: All Gravy?

Start with this: Of course we're rooting for Tim Tebow to lead the Broncos to a playoff win over the Steelers.

But that's not the point. The point is that what happens in this game won't define Tebow's season or his career. He's already done that, simply by leading the Broncos to the point where they are even IN the NFL Playoffs... there are 20 teams out there that would love the chance to lose during Wild Card Weekend, rather than be sitting at home.

And so we'll get a best shot. Hopefully, John Fox won't bungle the playbook and the strategy. Hopefully, the Steelers are a bit less cruelly effective on defense than usual.

Tebow tweeted out Hebrews 12:1-2, which features the "great cloud of witnesses" phrase. If that sounds familiar, it's because he used that same passage on his eye-black for his college finale at the Swamp in late-November versus FSU. The game featured 5 Tebow TDs (3 pass, 2 rush) in a huge Gators win. Thousands of fans came to the game wearing eye-black. (It was covered here, naturally.)

Two good reads for you, both from the Washington Post. First, a good overview of the Tebow philosophy. Second, a discussion about the evangelical differences between Tebow and Ben Roethlisberger.

Enjoy the game.

-- Dan

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

John Elway talking to Woody Paige about Tim Tebow:
"That's human nature, especially when you're young, to become more cautious. He had a tough week before (the Chiefs game) against Buffalo. The key thing for (Tebow) is to go out, put everything behind him, go through his progressions and pull the trigger."
My only question is whether Elway gave the same advice to John Fox, who has shown a risk-aversion ("cautious," to use Elway's word) on fourth-and-short that is more like timidity than "conservative."

The team has nothing to lose this weekend against the Steelers -- there is absolutely zero pressure to win. Hell, if they keep it close, it's as close a moral victory as you find in the NFL.

So here's hoping Elway is as concerned about his coach's decision-making in short-yardage situations where Tebow's mastery is complete as he is about Tebow's decision-making on 2nd- or 3rd-and-long.

(FWIW, I think they should go back to the style that got them into the playoffs: Run, run, run -- run some more, ideally with Tebow carrying the ball -- with a pass from time to time when the Steelers inevitably put 9 in the box.)

-- Dan

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tim Tebow Led the Broncos to the Playoffs

Tim Tebow led the Broncos to the NFL Playoffs.

Let's repeat that: Tim Tebow led the Broncos to the NFL Playoffs.

Go back to August and try that one out. Heck, go back to Week 7 and try that one out.

Let's be clear: No matter how Tebow and the Broncos enter the playoffs -- winning streak, losing streak, whatever -- they are entering the playoffs. They have out-performed 20 other teams, at least as it relates to the most important goal of the season.

The Broncos are going to get throttled next week by the Steelers? Who cares! Three other teams are going to lose in the first round of the playoffs, too. Four of the 12 playoff teams ALWAYS lose in the first round of the playoffs.

The point is that Tim Tebow led the Broncos into the playoffs. The playoffs! The Broncos! A team that, before the season, was expected to win maybe 4 or 5 games as a best-case scenario -- even fewer if Tebow was given the chance to start at QB. "But Tebow is going to get shellacked in the first round of the playoffs!" is the dumbest sports argument of the day. The most important words in that statement are "Tebow" and "playoffs."

Every NFL season is an exercise in expectations management. The overall parity means that most teams think they have a shot at making the playoffs -- their fans would be thrilled if that happened. A few elite teams are "Super Bowl title or bust." The Broncos' expectations -- expectations for Tebow -- were nothing short of "Suck enough to give Elway and Fox the permission to boot Tebow and draft a real QB." (That was the expectation as recently as midway through the Broncos' Tebowfied winning streak!)

The Broncos have -- and Tebow has -- exceeded expectations more than any other team (or player) in the NFL this season. That is -- excuse the blasphemy -- damn impressive... the exact opposite of the cynical chuckling we're seeing today about how the Broncos backed in or how they are going to get dismantled by the Steelers next week.

That's not the point. Not even close to the point.

-- Dan