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Teetering Over Tebow

I just don’t know what to think about Tim Tebow. The Denver Broncos quarterback is all the rage, especially after winning his first NFL playoff game yesterday in divine style. Tebow mania has grown to be a polarizing phenomenon due perhaps to his outspoken faith, his “unconventional” play, and his undeniable fame…and it’s got folks on both sides hugely passionate. It seems you either love him or you hate him.
 
But I’m somewhere in between. I just can’t seem to get on the Tebowing bandwagon, but I also find it hard to dislike the guy. I’m not one of those who believes that The Man Upstairs is in your huddle to the exclusion of the other team, so the whole “Tebowing” thing is just not my style. And I tend to cringe a little inside when I hear players “thank the Lord” for their athletic skills or give Him the glory for their last-second field goal.

Sorry, I just can't get on the Tebowing bandwagon.

 
 
However, I am prone to support underdogs, which Tebow most certainly is.  He seems to be a guy who can only get better, because truthfully, he’s not that great in the skills department. He’s not a run-first quarterback in the spirit of Randall Cunningham or Michael Vick. No, he’s more a throwback to the old leatherheads who ran because their passes look like wounded ducks. 
 
Despite that, he is managing to win games, so you can’t help but notice. And he has shown stretches of greatness. When he hit Demaryius Thomas for the winning 80-yard pass-and-catch in overtime, it gave him 316 yards passing, and a 31.6 yard-per-pass average against the Steelers.  Those are great numbers, but what has Twitter all a-flutter is the eerie coinky-dink to the biblical John 3:16 passage, a number which Tebow famously wore (as do many other athletes) in black under his eyes when he led the Florida Gators to victory in the 2009 national championship game. Twitter later announced that 9,420 tweets per second were sent immediately after the winning play, setting a new sports record for the social media site.

3:16 is not how much time is left in the 4th quarter.

 
Having worked in a professional sports league myself, I can appreciate the value of ratings, talent, and hype – and these are most certainly coalescing in the NFL playoffs, thanks in large part to Tebow’s success. The Broncos-Steelers game pulled in a huge 25.9 rating for CBS, becoming the highest-rated AFC wild-card game since 1988.  Even more crazy, the final quarter-hour rating for the game was, you guessed it, 31.6. 
 
If Tebow and his divinity can find a way to dethrone Tom Brady and the heavily-favored New England Patriots next week, prepare for even more Tebow mania as he continues to win over admirers and fans everywhere.
 
Maybe even Yours Truly.
 
 
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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Random, Thoughts

 

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When the game goes wrong

As I sit here tonight watching Monday Night Football between the Steelers and 49ers in the comfort and safety of my own home, the Bay Area setting causes me to reflect on the brutal beating of a San Fran fan earlier this year.

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Bryan Stow

San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic and father of two, was visiting Dodgers stadium for opening day of the baseball season, when he and his friends were savagely beaten in the stadium parking lot by Dodger fans who took a simple sports rivalry to an unconscionable extreme. Nine months later, Stow is still relearning basic things like walking, brushing his teeth, swallowing, and even how to speak.

For the first time since the attack, Stow has been able to speak in an interview on camera.

Watch the video now.

As a former employee of a professional sports team, I have seen my share of ugliness between fans. One night at a Spurs-Mavs playoff game at the AT&T Center, I had to break up a scuffle as an obnoxious Spurs fan began physically confronting a visiting Dallas fan sitting right in front of him (neither guy knew I was an employee until they saw my badge…and then they fell in line. Unfortunately, I had to go back to sitting in the next row over for the remaining three quarters…AWKWARD!)  And while traveling with the Spurs during the 2003 NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets, there was so much Sopranos-style bile spewed in our direction, I almost feared for my safety.

Almost.

I can hardly fathom that the events in Los Angeles actually could happen.

As I kid playing little league baseball, I was always taught that the spirit of teamwork and competition was equal to respect for the opponent. It didn’t matter if you win or lose, it was how you play the game that mattered. That’s what the coaches would always drill into us, day after day.

But these days, John Rocker, the “Malice at the Palace,” Eagles fans throwing snowballs at Santa, and a host of other recent sports misdeeds lead me to wonder if things have somehow taken a turn for the worse. Granted there will always be an extremist element any time there’s competition, but the boundaries of civility no longer seem guaranteed.

This holiday season, we should all take a moment to reflect on what’s important about sports and life, and resolve to actively work towards a return to that place where everyone can safely enjoy a game and root, root, root for their home team.

Even if, as in my case, it happens to be the Eagles. 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Random, Thoughts

 

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