Opinion: Tebow Bashed More Because of Christian Faith
The Jets will be officially parting ways with quarterback Tim Tebow next month, and that has led to speculation about the southpaw signal caller's future. Supporters and detractors alike have examined a multitude of scenarios for the former Gators standout. Fans and writers have predicted a Tebow landing anywhere from New England to New Orleans to the CFL. One thing has remained constant, though, when it comes to guessing where the quarterback will call home in 2013. The reaction to even hypothetical new digs has been palpable
One of the most interesting possible destinations for Tebow is the City of Broad Shoulders. No, the Bears will not be parting ways with Jay Cutler to make room for Tebow, but Chicago is an intriguing club to say the least. When one considers new coach Marc Trestman is known for his offensive innovation and track record for grooming young quarterbacks, a Windy City Wildcat scenario doesn't seem so far-fetched. Plus, Tebow has worked with Trestman before. In 2010, Trestman prepared Tebow for the draft and spoke of him glowingly.
Trestman is not the only Bears coach to have experience with Tebow. Matt Cavanaugh served as Tebow's quarterbacks coach in New York in 2012 and after the Jets let Cavanaugh go, he promptly signed on with the Bears in the same capacity. Last week, Cavanaugh spoke out about the Tebow situation in the Big Apple, saying he believed Tebow should have played more. He also said he thinks Tebow is a good player.
The Bears would be playing with house money if they brought one of the best college players to town with the hopes of developing his NFL repertoire. The team won ten games in 2012 and, with Trestman at the helm, expectations for the offense to flourish are high. Tebow could just add another wrinkle to the mix.
These rumors are just that. Nothing more. Tebow is still technically a Jet for at least a couple more weeks. However, when just this hypothetical Chicago situation was brought up, social media lit up with visceral, weird, hateful comments that are usually reserved for Sarah Palin. Shocking but not surprising; and I don't think football has much to do with it at all.
Tebow succeeded at the highest of levels in college winning national championships and a Heisman with Florida. He added a new dimension to the Broncos offense in 2011, using his legs and intestinal fortitude to lead Denver to a string of improbable victories. Overall, the Broncos went 7-4 with Tebow as the starter and they upset heavily favored Pittsburgh in the playoffs in a game that ended in a Tebow to Demaryius Thomas 80-yard touchdown strike in overtime. It isn't always pretty, but so far Tebow has won on all levels.
So what's the anti-Tebow sentiment all about? Is it really just his mechanics? Is it really the trajectory of his passes? Or is it something else? Could it be the dreaded C-word? Christianity? In many ways, I believe it is just that. One would think someone with Tebow's grit would be applauded by the vast majority of fans and analysts. Getting it done without all the physical skills of a Manning or a Brady. That's commendable, right? Well, it usually is. When Ben Roethlisberger had a horrible game in Super Bowl XL, he was praised because he still found a way to pull it out. When Brett Favre would throw mind-boggling interception after mind-boggling interception, he was called a gunslinger or a gambler. In other sports, the guys who make up for athletic limitations with good old fashioned toughness and attitude are praised. Fans love energy. They love spirit. As long as that spirit isn't too holy.
How else can you explain the lambasting of potential transactions that aren't even close to being made a reality? After hearing the Tebow to Chicago rumors, some writers penned comments like "Just Say No" and "Bears Must Kill Any and All Tim Tebow Speculation." Seems a tad dramatic. You'd think they were considering Jerry Sandusky for defensive coordinator. Detractors also love to use buzz words like 'disgraced' and 'controversial' when referring to Tebow. Disgraced how? He didn't play! Controversial why? Because of his commitment to Christ? This is what I mean when I compare the Tebow treatment to that of Palin who is often called a 'failed' vice presidential candidate or a 'half-term' governor. You never hear that about John Edwards or Eliot Spitzer.
Just like in politics, sports stars are often pigeonholed. It usually has nothing to do with religion and often very little to do with wins and losses. They love Roethlisberger no matter what his public bathroom etiquette may or may not be, and they think Mike Vick is swell, too, no matter how many dogs he shot, electrocuted, drowned, or hanged ... by "mistake" of course. But for whatever reason, they loathe others. Cutler, Rex Grossman, two-time Super Bowl champ Eli Manning, and they're just now coming around on Joe Flacco. But with Tebow it's clearly different. They are rubbed the wrong way. Not just fans who would choose fantasy football over interpersonal relationships eight days a week but also analysts like Merril Hoge and Cris Carter to name two, who are perhaps jealous of the loyal, sincere, genuine backing Tebow enjoys.
So while DUIs, manslaughters, animal abuse, sexual assaults, and just overall boorish behavior is overlooked, praying and proudly quoting scripture is somehow vilified. Put religion aside for a moment and you'll see what an incredible man Tim Tebow is off the field. He volunteers his time each and every week to brighten the days of sick children and never seeks attention or press for it. But he is made out to be a distraction. Some will argue just because someone is a 'nice guy" doesn't mean he should be a professional quarterback. Agreed. My mailman is pretty cool, but I don't see the NFL in his future anytime soon. That said, shouldn't a player be given a chance to produce before he is labeled this, that, or the other thing?
In his limited time in Denver, Tebow won. In New York, he was only on the field for 75 offensive snaps. That is offensive and inexplicable. The Jets should have never brought him in if they didn't want to give him a shot.
Tebow should get that opportunity, either as a starter somewhere or as a backup in a place like Chicago. It may be the perfect fit.
Kevin Scholla is a radio news and sports anchor. Follow him on Twitter @KevinScholla. He also announces for several professional and college teams. Kevin is the creator of SarahNET Radio and the host of The Palin Update with Kevin Scholla. Kevin also hosts Breaking It Down With Bristol (Bristol Palin) and Steel Resolve (Sarah Steelman). Kevin serves as a TV panelist for various networks, hosts a Comcast TV show, writes about sports and politics, coaches youth sports, and attempts to contain his two children.