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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tebow is just Alright with me

BOSTON, JANUARY 14, 2012 -- Toulouse Street is an address most sports fans do not know.  In 1972, it was the title of a popular album released by The Doobie Brothers band and it included a cover of a popular gospel hit, "Jesus is just alright," a song written in 1966 by Arthur Reynolds for the "Art Reynolds Singers".  Later, the Byrds recorded a version of the song but it was the Doobies who took it to #35 on the Billboard charts.

Tebow throwing, not Tebowing
The lyrics are pretty damn repetitive and the song didn't do much for me, but the closing lines might help explain a little something about Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.  It goes,

"Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright

I don’t care what they may say, I don’t care what they may do
I don’t care what they may say, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah."

Tebow is all over the airwaves.  At one point this week, ESPN's First Take was argueing whether their own show and network has been "talking" about Tebow too much.  Go figure?

Quite frankly, the Broncos and Tebow just don't register with me at this point in time.  Sure, it's a great story.  Sure, his play led the Broncos to an unexpected winning streak, then a dangerous three-game end-of-season plunge but they backed into the NFL wildcard playoffs and won a home game over a highly favored Pittsburgh Steelers team. If they were to pull an upset over the #1 ranked AFC New England Patriots, at Foxboro tonight, the Broncos and Tebow would certainly earn my respect and attention.

Tebow has been called "polarizing" among many other things.  Being a traditionalist when it comes to religion(s), I find it a deeply personal topic. While I'll argue sports and politics all day long, I tend to shy away from religion because of the fact I truly believe it is a very individual issue.  People practice all different religions and thankfully, in the USA, they have that right. The right of freedom of religion.  It's as important as any human right we retain in this US of A.

To get some better insight, I chose to go to a source, an impeccable source.  Tom Green hosts a morning show in Denver.  He's been on the airwaves in the Mile High city since paying his dues as weekend anchor for KUSA-TV in the early '80s. He also did some dues paying at ESPN in the very early days.  He knows sports, knows people, likes people and everyone -- I mean everyone -- likes him. Here's what Green had to say and I believe he is right on the money in explaining the phenomenon called Tim Tebow.

"There are so many tangents to the Tim Tebow phenomenon," said Green by email, "that it is hard to focus in on what has happened in less than two years since he was drafted here.  If you think he's on ESPN all the time...well, you're right.  Here in Denver it's even more media manic.  He has been given extraordinary coverage in the press, but asked for little, if any.  He was almost as famous and well-liked as Kyle Orton's backup, as he his now in the playoffs.  The run to the post-season and the OT win over Pittsburgh have made him absolutely white hot.

"On Saturday night, he'll face, among many others, the coach who drafted him for the Denver Broncos.  When Josh McDaniels was fired here, most fans were glad to see him go.  Not only for the losing on the field, but also for the failure in - and wasting of - the NFL Draft.  Hindsight - now amplified by Tebowmania  - shows that McDaniels final draft as Head Coach of the Broncos in 2010 would be considered an unqualified success for any organization.  Yielding a starter at QB (Tebow), what amounts to 2 starting WR's (Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker), and 2 starters on the OL (Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton).

"It is, of course, Tebow by which all things are measured now.  He has clearly crossed over in a huge way from the sports world into the mainstream.  Jimmy Fallon sings about him, SNL parodies him, Time Magazine writes about him, Katy Perry's parents covet him.  The difference between Tebow, and that select few that have also successfully made that crossover, is that he is not necessarily trying to do so.  Instead of dedicating his life to being famous (Ochocinco, Canseco etc) the mainstream has instead chosen him, claimed him as theirs, and still wants more.

Here in Denver, the Broncos have always been able to drive the locals into frenzy, but this, again, is different.  Non-football fans are absolutely taken with a young star who is not so taken with himself. This is where it gets fuzzy for some, who add religion and race to the discussion.  Those topics certainly are components of Tebow-mania, but it seems that they are almost exclusively directed (or mis-directed) by people other than Tebow himself.  His openness about faith might make some squirm, but he doesn't seem to be set on converting anyone, he just seems to be living his life openly, comfortably by his own standards.

The football qualities and qualifications will be measured on the weekends.  Excellence and shortcomings are always right there for all to see in sports, both individually and team-wise.  The unique package that is Tim Tebow will be measured in many ways though as he no longer belongs solely to the sports world."

1 comment:

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