Back in January, Drew Magary from Deadspin posed five hypothetical questions about Tim Tebow. These questions were so interesting they required a Dubsism response. Now that Tebow continues to be an NFL version of a lighting rod in cleats, perhaps it is time to ask a few more questions that you simply won’t find anywhere else.
1) Why is Tim Tebow the biggest star in the NFL?
First of all, make no mistake that he is the biggest star in the league. That doesn’t mean he is the best player; as it stands now, he’s far from it. In America we have created a rule of celebrity I’m dubbing the Tebow/Kardashian Postulate. This rule states that one no longers needs merit or talent anymore to achieve mind-numbing levels of fame in this country. Celebrity can be created entirely on the whims of the media, and this is exactly what happened with Tebow.
Face the facts. Tebow became the biggest star in the league without having done a single thing in the NFL other than answer the phone call from the Broncos the day they made him a first-round draft pick. ESPN was at the Tebow house, cameras at the ready. But do you remember how everybody in that house had a Broncos cap on within 30 second of the announcement of the pick? That didn’t happen by accident; I’ll bet you a big amount of dough that the truck which carried all that Bronco gear had the letters “ESPN” on the side of it.
Tebow led the league in jersey sales before he ever set foot on an NFL field. Tebow gets entire hour-long special editions of SportsCenter dedicated strictly to him. ESPN treats his birthday like it is a national holiday.
So, why is that? My best guess is two-fold.
- He’s likable guy who plays football like we would if given the chance. None of us are “prototypical” quarterbacks either, but we can easily look like a great backyard football quarterback, especially if that game is happening after all the participants have blasted well into their second six-pack. People love stuff with which they can identify, and more people feel they have more in common with Tim Tebow than Tom Brady.
- He’s polarizing. There’s is only one person I know who has no opinion on Tebow (see Question #5). Other than that, the mere mention of the name “Tebow” draws responses; people love him or they hate him. That also means he makes the ratings needle jump.
I would love to hear alternate theories; that’s why after he made Tim Tebow, God made the Comments section.
2) Why do former quarterbacks hate him so much?
Old quarterbacks are the prima donnas of the NFL; Tebow threatens their entire belief system. It is the John Elways and the Boomer Esiasons who helped create the “fuck it and chuck it” NFL. It is what defnes them, and it is that model of the NFL that keeps them in fat jobs as commentators and general managers. Anybody who has even the remotest shot at success by doing anything other than filling the skies with football is a not only a religious heretic who must be burned at the stake, but he is screwing with how these gymnasts in shoulder pads collect paychecks.
3) What happens if Tim Tebow suddenly doesn’t suck?
Here’s where you have to pry your brain out of the box…look past what you see now and ask what if Tebow just hasn’t found his coaching muse yet. Tom Brady was destined to be a career bench-jockey until he found his way onto the field for Bill Belichick. Hall-of-Famers like Len Dawson, Johnny Unitas, and Brett Farve all got dumped by their first teams, then blossomed in a new system. Even guys like Terry Bradshaw and John Elway looked like complete boobs in their first few seasons.
Don’t worry, I’m not saying that muse is going to be Rex Ryan. But the question remains: What happens if Tebow finds his muse; what happens if Tebow winds up in a place willing to build an offense around him and (gasp) it succeeds?
If we are ever able legitimately to call Tebow a Super Bowl winning quarterback, several things will happen by the time he gets to Disney World.
There will be an earthquake caused by the weight of a big chunk of the Tebow-haters flip-flopping, and couch their waffles in a lot of “what I really meant to say” bullshit. Professional microphone infecters like Colin Cowherd will be the first to spew about when they saw the first signs of Tebow’s potential after they’ve spent years calling him cat-shit in cleats.
The Tebow-haters who don’t flip will become the Taliban of NFL fans; they will become even more fervent and maniacal. Their wives will be forced to wear burkas made of old Boomer Esiason jerseys and any mention of Tebow will result in being strapped to a tree and lashed with an extension cord.
If you think Tebow is a media darling now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The minute Tebow touches the Lombardi Trophy, his media stock will get higher than Lindsey Lohan at a Snoop Dogg house party. The Tebow-gasm will hit epic proportions; for three solid months there will be a Tebow tsunami which will overwhelm us with personal appearances and an advertising blitz unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Forget about Wheaties boxes; Tebow’s face will be on everything from sneakers to shotguns, and there will be no stopping it. .
If the resultant Tebow-gasm doesn’t explode the skulls of the remaining haters, the fact that a Super Bowl winning Tebow-centric offensive approach will undoubtedly spawn an explosion of imitators. The Tebow-haters will be so close to their bulged-out eyes in Tebow-wannabes they may in fact start lining those Esiason burkas with TNT. Not to mention, can you imagine what happens to the Brady/Manning knob-slobbing fantasy football geeks when a wave of Triple-Option/Single-Wing/Leather Helmet offenses washes across the NFL?
4) How long can Tebow stay in the NFL as a side-show attraction?
How many times have you heard “Tebow is just not an NFL quarterback?” It would be more correct to say that as it stands now, he isn’t a good NFL quarterback. But that is also a measure of the “right here, right now” version of the NFL. This makes the question this: How long can the media hype last if Tebow stops being a play-off quarterback? The Chicago Cubs can be terrible and keep fans; NFL quarterbacks are not accorded the same luxury. Right now, Curtis Painter doesn’t get hand jobs form ESPN for his birthday…how long can Tebow keep getting them with a 46% completion percentage?
5) Why does Mrs. Dubsism not give a shit about Tim Tebow?
It’s true…Mrs. Dubsism is the one football fan in America who couldn’t care less about Tebow. In bullet point form, here’s why she will change the channel at the first mention of “Timmy Rah-Rah.”
- Other than the fact he is charismatic, what’s he ever done in the NFL to deserve the attention?
Yeah, she’s pretty much hitting the newly-dubbed Tebow/Kardashian rule. According to her, while he may have gotten the Broncos into the play-offs, and he may have even gotten them a miracle win against Pittsburgh, those were team accomplishments, not individual ones. It was the Bronco defense that kept that team close enough for the last-minute Timmy miracle. Look what happened when that play-off run died a horrible death in New England.
- He doesn’t play for her team.
If Tebow were a New Orleans Saint, I’d probably have to take out a contract on him. Mrs. Dubsism loves the Saints, which is why if I ever said anything bad about Drew Brees (oh, and she’s also a Purdue alum..) there would be a bounty out on my ass faster than you could send Sean Payton to the ATM. If you were to replace Brees with Saint Tebow, I’d probably need to have him killed because I couldn’t stand hearing about him anymore.
- Tim Tebow is the photo-negative of J-Dub.
- He’s super-white
- He’s uber-religious
- He’s a quarterback
- He never has profanity-filled tirades
To be fair, she also says that I have one thing in common with Tebow. Mrs. Dubsism thinks we both may be megalomaniacs, albeit in a different sense. She thinks Tebow may have a bit of a “God” complex, whereas she believes my mania is more of a “Bryant Gumbel meets Hitler” thing.
The Bottom Line:
Here’s the truth as it exists right now. Rex Ryan needs to take a shot at being Tebow’s muse. Tim Tebow is the best shot the New York Jets have to win, not so much because of Tebow, but because Mark Sanchez is irrelevant. If you doubt that, consider the fact that the Jets got to the AFC championship game in each of Sanchez’s first two years. During that time, he had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 19 to 33. In his third season, Sanchez improved to a respectable 26 touchdowns to 18 picks and the Jets didn’t get into the playoffs.
This means the Jets’ fortunes revolve around the defense and running game. The Jets wouldn’t win with a “prototypical” quarterback, the team isn’t built for that. A Rex Ryan-era Jets quarterback needs to a) keep the defense off the field when needed, b) usually be moving the chains by whichever means necessary, and c) don’t give the ball away.
While neither Tebow or Sanchez are likely to become that “prototypical NFL quarterback;” Tebow because he throws like a Special Olympian chucking a wet Nerf Ball, and Sanchez because we’ve seen what he’s got, and it isn’t anything past mediocre, it is Tebow’s skill set that fits the Jets better than anything Sanchez has to offer.
No matter what, the Jets’ offense is as likely to be as underwhelming in 2012 as it was in 2011. As odd as it may sound, that’s exactly why Tebow is the better fit. Regardless of whether or not he ever learns that throwing a football does not require the same motion as heaving a shot put, he will likely always be unconventional, always be limited as a passer, and always be someone who needs to have a team tailored to him.
As much as I love Rex Ryan, there’s really no denying he is also Rex Ryan is also unconventional, limited as an offensive coach, and need to tailor his teams around his style. He’s also out of time; he needs to win in New York now. Like it or not, Tebow is his best shot.