It Ain’t Easy Being Tebow

I’ve always been a Peyton Manning fan, so I was happy when I heard he was coming to Denver. I was also happy when I heard that Tim Tebow was being traded away; and it’s not that I have some personal animus against Tebow or his expressions of faith. Hell, I even think he might be a decent quarterback some day (although it’s going to require a lot of work on his part).

No, I was happy that he was leaving town because being in the Tebow business is a miserable grind. It’s misplaced venom and anger, fans who think ten minutes of impressive football per game somehow makes a QB a winner, and flame wars in the comments section of local web sites.

Tebow’s biggest negative, aside from slow decision-making and poor accuracy, is a rabid fan base who truly managed to poison the well last year. Those fans, whose live in (I’m sorry, Steve) Tebow’s Reality Distortion Field, credit those wins to Tebow although to any honest fan the majority of the credit needed to go to a Broncos defense that kept games manageable through the first three quarters of inept Tebow play, a kicker that played beautifully in crunch time, and a running game that helped measurably in making up for the weakened passing game.

I watched every game, absorbing the good and the bad of the kid, and felt an intense frustration at the inconsistencies in his play. Yes, he is competitive, hardworking, and full of athletic promise; but it takes more to be a great NFL quarterback. Indeed, for most of the great QBs, the hallmark is consistency. They play consistently good football and sprinkle it with moments of greatness. Tebow plays consistently bad football and sprinkles it with occasional miracles and wonder.

And I don’t want to hear about how great last year was. Last year was another 8-8 year for the Broncos where they were lucky to make the playoffs. Their record wouldn’t have earned them the trip most years and is a tribute more to the weakness of the AFC West than to the skills and miracles of Mr. Tebow.

So, while I think Esiason may be wrong about Tebow in calling for the Jets to cut the young man, it’s the comment section of this article that reminds me of how annoying the universe of Tebow can be when you have to live with it week after week. Here are a few of the more special comments:

s37en • an hour ago
esiason probably voted for obama. he is not ok in the head
GozieBoy • an hour ago
I think that Elway and Boomer know a thinng or two about ego, and simplly seethe at the attention and popularity that Tobow brings to anythiung he does. Boomer fears potential competition in the booth in future years as well, especially as his skills are so marginal. Maybe the real call is “CUT BOOMER NOW”.
Phil Kammer • an hour ago
I truly believe this is all bigotery against a powerful Christain figure
Joseph Lizak • 3 hours ago
Tim Tebow is the first QB that’s a real man. He’s buffed up like a linebacker and has the ultimate winning spirit only god would understand. Boomer on the other hand goes to a beauty salon to keep his blonde hair perfect for TV, was made fun of as a kid because he was left handed, and wears his high school girlfriends cheerleading dress he saved from 1984 when he’s feeling kinky.

That’s quality commentary right there.

Read the rest.

Carmelo Anthony Takes Another Hit

Mark Kiszla is pulling no punches in response to his recent interview with Carmelo Anthony in which the forward said, “It’s easy. I go out there and my focus is not to score 30 points. My mindset is a lot different. I can just go out there and clean up shots with offensive rebounds, get loose balls and play defense.”

Kiszla doesn’t seem to be buying into the idea that Melo might be more heavily focused on defense and rebounding– although, to play devil’s advocate for a moment, if anyone can pull that kind of a performance out of Melo, it would be a guy like Coach K. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.

But here is what Kiszla had to say in response:

Defense? Not sure Anthony knows how to spell the word, much less play it.

Rebounding? Anthony is more likely to eat only blood pudding in Great Britain than acquire a taste for crashing the boards.

Glue guy? Well, he certainly has sticky fingers. Throw him a pass. It sticks. Good luck getting the basketball back.

You can call Anthony a lot of things. Olympic gold medalist. Clutch shooter. NCAA champion. Coach killer.

Ouch. I’m a little surprised that Anthony will still talk to Kiszla.

Read the Rest.

Let’s Call it Damning With Strange Praise

Adrian Wojnarowski’s article about Carmelo Anthony is in turns harsh, praising, and insightful. I believe it is also right on the money in terms of the former Denver player’s strengths and weaknesses.

For everything that Anthony has given USA Basketball as a talent, he hasn’t always been able to sustain the world-class conditioning, deference on offense and determination on defense. And all these leaders surrounding him … well, they never made him one, too. His flaws have shown themselves within the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks, but Team USA is constructed to take all of ‘Melo’s good, and never been burdened with the bad.

Throughout his entire tenure with Denver, he was obviously talented but unpredictable and, ultimately, frustrating. His conditioning, defense, and focus were all areas of question– at least for me.  When Chauncey Billups showed up, it gave George Karl the equivalent of another coach on the floor to help keep Melo working according to game plan. It helped that Billups is not only smart (and exceptionally basketball smart), but also well respected and still talented.

Carmelo Anthony (Team USA)

Carmelo Anthony (Team USA), Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Melo’s best season as a pro came with Billups acting as the glue that held together a team of odd talents and erratic ability. Melo can score points, but he has yet to prove that he has that uncommon skill to help others truly perform better. He also has yet to prove that he can really control a game in the way that players like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan managed.

I like Melo and I love the fact that he ushered in an era of winning for the Nuggets. We fans went a long time without having a team consistently making their way to the playoffs.

And, boy, I was happy to see him go. I lost faith in him to grow into the player that might deliver a championship to the Nuggets; and without that hope, why not look in new directions?

I still hope he does well and I hope he helps bring the US another gold medal, but I can’t wait to see what the Nuggets look like this year without him. It’s a rare team that can surround a man with the kind of talent that is on the Olympics team and, someday, he’ll have to learn how to achieve greatness with a more human cast of supporting players.

Really good article.

Enforcers Excuse Enforcers

I loved the way Scott Parker played on the ice. Tough, hard-hitting hockey is a definitely fun for the spectators. If I ever run across him in a bar, I’ll be happy to buy him a drink just to say thanks for all the fun. But I can’t help but think that he is wrong in a big way on the Bertuzzi-Moore incident (and not just because of his opionions of Moore).

And Todd, he might have gone overboard, and what’s crazy is, even talking to him after the fact and talking to Moe, Morris and other boys that were in that, that happened, I watched that tape about a hundred times, and just the way Todd hit him, and he actually grabbed him to soften his blow when he went down, and what happened was when Moe landed on him, he actually hit the back of his neck and it actually popped up. You know, just the way Todd was holding him.

But you know, it wasn’t vicious, it was just, it was the heat of the moment. It was one of those things where you, you want to do something, but you don’t know if it’s gonna be big, if it’s gonna be small, or how it’s gonna pan out. But you wanna do something. And Todd, he might not have been right and it might have been a little overboard, but you know, he did something. I mean, at least he responded, at least he tried.

I know he’s marked now. People hate him, and it’s amazing what that can do to a man, too. It can make you feel this small, you know. And he’s not a bad man. He’s a great guy and a good family guy, and he just got marked. It’s one of those things…

I don’t know Bertuzzi, of course, and he might be a hell of a nice guy. I don’t know precisely what his intent was with Scott Moore, either, but I do know that he made a vicious hit from behind that ended a guy’s career and left him with serious physical damage. There’s nothing honorable about the sucker punch from behind.

For what it’s worth.

Read the rest of the interview to find out more about Parker’s tattoos, post-hockey life, charities, and thoughts on the game. The talk about concussions is particularly interesting.

Damnit, Doom (Updated)

I’m pretty sure that there is a small army of Broncos fans out there thinking the same thing I am: please let there be something to this story that makes Elvis Dumervil not the bad guy. If not, then he’ll probably be spending quality time in jail.

Broncos star defensive end Elvis Dumervil has been arrested in Miami and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, according to court records in Miami-Dade County. The charge is a felony.

Read the rest.

Update:

From Vic Lombardi, local CBS sportscaster on Twitter:

Just spoke to Harvey Steinberg. No charges filed. He says no assault took place.

Tim Tebow: Certified Good Guy

The Pro Football Writers of America have awarded the 2012 Good Guy Award to Tim Tebow and precisely no one in the English speaking world is surprised. In fact, the only question is whether there will be room for other Good Guys in the NFL until Tim Tebow retires; he certainly seems to have cornered the market on that particular brand.

Don’t read that as being overly cynical or pointed. Tebow, as far as I can see, really does deserve the award. As a Denver fan, though, I’m in the middle of trying to make an adjustment. I’m conflicted over Tebow’s departure; I continue to believe that the Broncos are a better team with Manning behind center, but Tebow sure was fun to watch (for about five-fifteen minutes per game). And, honestly, for anyone wanting to write about the Broncos last year, he made finding story lines ridiculously easy.

The Good Guy Award is given to a NFL player for his qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs. The award was first given by the PFWA in 2005.

Tebow won it for the way he handled the media crush last season, when he led the Broncos to an improbable playoff run and became one of the biggest names in sports.

Anyway, congratulations to the young man and best wishes for his career. No matter how I might have felt about him as a quarterback (seriously conflicted, in case you were wondering), I never had doubts about his kindness, his drive to do good things, and the fact that he was one of the hardest working guys in the league.