As someone who has lived in the city of Lexington, KY for the past dozen years of so, I had to get used to a few things. One of those things was hearing about the University of Kentucky Wild Cats, especially their Men’s basketball team. Every fall, all I hear is “Big Blue” this, and “Big Blue” that. I openly admit that I am not a fan of college basketball OR football. I will casually watch the highlights on ESPN so I am not totally out of the loop when the NFL draft comes around in April, but that is the extent of it.
All this being said, I obviously have heard about the other schools in the SEC Conference, such as Alabama, and the University of Florida, and much like players in the professional sports, outstanding players on the college level get a lot of media coverage. Well, several years ago, one such player, a young man named Tim Tebow, then QB for the University of Florida Gators captured the public’s imagination.
Tim Tebow obviously has many positives, and his will to win, and other intangibles could help him in the NFL. However, I saw a couple of negatives, and from what I saw this past week involving ESPN NFL analyst Merrill Hoge, and NBA star LeBron James , and comments in the Denver Post by Tebow, I was not surprised that the negatives came out. The negatives that I am referring to are Tebow’s polarization, and even though he was an excellent college player, it doesn’t mean he will be an excellent QB.
Let’s face it. Tim Tebow is very polarizing. His Christian views, and his sharing of them in interviews attracts many, but puts off others. He and his mother did a Right to Life Ad that would air during I believe Super Bowl 44 that caused quite a stir amongst groups on both sides. The ad aired I believe during the first few minutes of the game. Regardless, there is no way you can not have an opinion about Tim Tebow. You either love him or hate him.
Now, the very fact Tim is SO polarizing can lead to fans (yes, I have done this too, so I am not innocent) doing the usual mistake of “X athlete/musician is a great person so that means he/she must be a great performer.” and vice versa. I also include the problem of “he/she was a great college athlete so he/she will be a great pro” kind of thinking as well. This is done particularly with Tim Tebow. On various NFL related forums, and on twitter, and on Facebook, I have been on, if you dare criticize Tim Tebow, people will ask, “Why? He is a great person.” You also get called a “liberal.” You also get accused of not being a Christian.
That last bit of nonsense is just that. I mean, so what if Tebow is a great person. That’s nice. It doesn’t mean he is the second coming of John Elway, does it? Detroit Tiger great Ty Cobb was a known racist. It doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great player. He was just a big jerk who happened to be a great player. One quality has nothing to do with how well you do or don’t do your job. Also, anyone in the news media who dares to level a VALID criticism of Saint Tebow gets leveled also. Ask Mr. Hoge.
In speaking of Merrill Hoge, let’s get to that , shall we? As most NFL fans know, there is a bit of a QB controversy in Denver. QB Kyle Orton was supposed to be traded to Miami, but for some reason or another, it fell through, as of this writing. Well, word got out that the competition between Orton and Tebow was not even close, and Tebow was not even working with the first team. Even some of the veterans on the Broncos wanted Orton, especially the receivers. ESPN NFL analyst Merrill Hoge broke down film and made some comments about Tebow on twitter.
I am not going to bring up all of Hoge’s tweets, but he basically said that he felt that Tim Tebow was not going to become a top QB in the NFL, a large part due to his mechanics, and other reasons. I had listened to him on ESPN, and I was counting, “1..2..3…” till I heard someone get all upset, and who was it? It was Mr. Lebron “Choke in the Clutch” James who went on a twitter tirade against Hoge basically (again I summarize) telling Hoge not to hurt Tim’s feelings, and that Tim needs support and to stop hating and that Hoge wasn’t “all World.” Tim then tweeted Hoge , ” ppreciate that.” as if to say “I’ll show you.”
Of course, as sports fans know, Tebow gave an interview to Woody Paige, columnist of the Denver Post and told Paige that he felt his chance at the starting job in Denver “was being taken away from him.” He also whined about how no one knew “what he could do,” and “no one had seen me play.” Of course, when his own words were being used against him, Tebow resorted to the tried and true, “My words were taken out of context.”
Well, Mr. Tebow is learning a hard lesson. The media is not going to bring pom poms every time they write about him. I know he is used to everyone liking him, and adoring him and telling him everything he wants to hear. Sure criticism hurts, and no one likes to be criticized, but sometimes, we have to listen to what people are saying. Mr. Hoge is PAID to watch NFL players play and break down film, and he is paid for his opinion. Of course, he has seen Tim play. Tebow has a track record in college, and there were college scouts from other teams who actually had graded him a 3rd , 4th or even a 6th round pick. Tebow was drafted 21st overall. That means there are higher expectations, and there will be more scrutiny.
That being said, Mr. Tebow needs to understand that he is going to have to learn that not every writer is going to praise him to high heaven. What Tebow has to do is concentrate on working on his craft, not to prove Hoge or any of his detractors “wrong,” but prove it to HIMSELF. He has to make himself, and his family proud of his work, and stop worrying about pleasing the critics.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead