In one of my first articles for State-Lines I argued that Tebow was the victim of a culture of elitism in the sports community. Tebow has been shunned by the sports media, organizations, and dedicated fans because his fans are not the type of fans that are normally welcome into a sports conversation.
Tebow never got a fair shake. The media force fed us that his winning percentage did not matter and that all you had to do was look at the game tape. Baloney! Half of those guys are just blowhards who probably never looked at the tape themselves. Honestly, I wouldn’t know what I was looking at if I did look at the film, but it was obvious to me that the media was out to take Tebow down. You could tell by the way they reveled in Tebow being relegated to third and fourth string before the 2011 season. Being a devoted Gator-Hater myself, I reveled in Tebow’s misfortune as well.
Then something happened
Tebow took over 1 – 4 team and kept winning and winning and winning, and the whole time the media kept telling me it was fool’s gold. They told me what I was seeing with my own eyes wasn’t real. They would’ve had me believe that pro-bowl linebacker Von Miller was delirious in his post-game interview where he attributed a win to the team knowing that if they can just keep the game close enough they knew Tebow could take them home. I am not a skeptic by nature, but this prolonged media campaign bent on telling me not to trust what I could see with my own eyes led me to believe that there were other factors at play.
The Jets debacle
I have no idea why the Jets made the deal for Tebow. Admittedly, I can understand how their willingness to bring him in and then not play him could lead to the conclusion that he was not qualified to be an NFL QB. Maybe he did look that bad in practice. Who knows? But whatever the Jets supposedly saw in practice cannot erase what I saw the previous season on the field as he led the Broncos to a first round playoff win over the Steelers. Then the Jets sat on the decision to play him so long that by the time it was clear Sanchez would not carry them to the playoffs, they could not insert Tebow because his success would have been a referendum on the entire Jets coaching staff and season. Any Tebow win, no matter the circumstances, would have been a media circus they were unwilling to stomach.
Now I don’t know if the Patriots signing is full vindication, but it is damn near close to it. It is largely accepted that Bill Belichick is the pre-eminent football mind in the NFL. No team more than the Patriots stays true to the philosophy that players that can play play, and those that can’t don’t. It is a true meritocracy. They will cut a player with the snap of a finger regardless of that player’s history with the team. Thus, it stands to reason that they would not bring in a player unless they saw potential. They looked at the same tape all of the so called experts did when they said Tebow will never be an NFL quarterback and came to a different conclusion.
In the words of Morpheus “I don’t see coincidence, I see providence.” The coach that drafted Tebow, Josh McDaniels, is now the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. The Patriots happen to be the only team equipped to handle Tebow and the circus that comes with him. The Patriots don’t have to worry about their fan base calling for Tebow to replace Tom Brady, and the coaching staff will assuredly maximize Tebow’s skill set while he gets to study one of the greatest quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen.
I don’t know if Tebow has what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. What I do know is that we have not seen enough evidence to conclude he cannot succeed as an NFL quarterback. Today I am merely celebrating the fact that the grand experiment to find out whether one of the most instinctive winners and natural leaders we have seen in recent sports history can succeed as an NFL quarterback is not over. It is the ultimate intangibles versus skill project, and it was almost derailed by politics, elitism, and blackballing. Even if he fails, and Bill Belichick gets the final word, that is fine with me.