Tim Tebow: Magical White Person
By Mobutu Sese Seko
Even if one wants to feel a genial non-interfering positivity or salutary indifference toward Tim Tebow and his “testimony,” the frequency and intensity with which it’s invoked by NFL Network and ESPN makes it intolerable. By week 14, Skip Bayless will be berating some poor Archbishop about their “beatification bias.”
This really isn’t Tebow’s fault. He’s said the right things, and provided a few crude but undeniably dramatic end-of-game moments. But he keeps getting cajoled into testifying, and his faith is the kind that leads him to relate the same story about his performance over and over with a kind of guileless sincerity. It might make you a little sick to your stomach because the media keeps re-administering the dose, but it itself isn’t toxic.
It is a little dumb, however. Last night, Rich Eisen dismissed Tebow’s replacement-level 9/20 completions for 104 yards, saying, “We’ve reached the point where we should stop mentioning [Tebow’s] stat line.” This wasn’t for any great repetition of the facts; instead, the NFL Network seemed positively allergic to discussing Tebow within the parameters of his actual job.
I hope Tim Tebow turns out to be a decent quarterback because I don’t want the team I root for to have to spend another first-round pick on a passer for the second time in three years, but that doesn’t mean we have to be entirely ignorant of his obvious flaws or excuse them because “he just wins” and he has “all the intangibles that make him a leader.” Those things may be true, but your intangibles are only as good as your last winning streak — and it’s disturbing to observe how quickly observers are falling all over him, as if he has come to save them from their own (necessary) cynicism.
This is merely endemic of the entire athlete building up/tearing down narrative complex used for years. When better teams (see Chicago, New England, and maybe even Minnesota in two weeks) put in a full 60 minutes, you’re going to see more of what the Lions did. Miami’s Wildcat experiment “revolution” lasted less than a full season before people figured it out, and by that point, the Dolphins had wasted a second round pick on WVU’s Pat White in trying to expand that Wildcat formation. The NFL is really good at adjusting to and adapting spread and option principles because these are smart coaches, and the league is a copycat one. What will really be telling is when the Tebow-led Broncos have their first serious losing streak — and it will happen, because we’re talking NFL and these things happen to teams.
Will anyone talk about ignoring his statistics and the basic elements of his job then?