Tim Tebow fans, your silence is deafening
By Rick Morrissey firstname.lastname@example.org January 5, 2012 10:42PM
Your intrepid columnist has ceased being bombarded by e-mails from Tim Tebow fans now that the Broncos have lost three in a row. What gives? | Joe Mahoney~AP
Updated: February 7, 2012 8:32AM
It’s the strangest thing, this heavy, almost lonesome silence.
I received scads of loud, nasty e-mails after I had offered the double-barreled opinion that Tim Tebow wasn’t an NFL-quality quarterback and that God surely had other worries than whether the Broncos won or lost football games.
This occurred while Tebow and Denver were riding high on the way to seven victories in eight games, so it wasn’t exactly surprising when readers returned fire with the news that I was a heathen and that the chances of my going to hell were very good unless I repented and accepted Tebow as the one, true quarterback.
Now that the Broncos have lost three consecutive games and Tebow has played poorly, I haven’t received one e-mail from the folks who were gloating as recently as a month ago. Weird!
Where are you people? I miss you. You never write. You never call. I’d been hoping to discuss Tebow’s four interceptions against Buffalo, two of which were returned for touchdowns. But, no.
Maybe we can invite recently fired Bears general manager Jerry Angelo to a public forum and have him explain his comment to Sports Illustrated last month about Tebow’s late-game heroics: “I believe there is some divine intervention associated with what’s taking place.’’
Back to mere mortality
Is there divine intervention in the difficulties Tebow is experiencing? Now that would make for an interesting conversation. Would we embrace Tebow if he turned out to be more like Job than Jesus?
Most everyone is quiet on the St. Timothy front now that the quarterback doesn’t look like a quarterback. The quiet makes some sense. Implicit in the earlier chest-thumping about Tebow was the belief that God loves winners, never mind that Jesus was born in a humble manger or that he died on a lowly cross. There wasn’t much room in the discussion for a God who might be found in a whisper, not an earthquake.
Likewise, there apparently is no room at the inn for the notion that God works in mysterious ways, which could include six Tebow turnovers in the three-game losing streak. How do I know the Tebow backers have no use for that? Because it’s oh so quiet now.
It’s too bad because his failures are a teaching moment. We could start by teaching that humans have an unfortunate tendency toward idolatry.
I would like to ask you Tebowers: Why put so much belief into one person and in such quantity that no one could possibly live up to it? That’s exactly what has happened with Tebow. He can’t be as athletic, noble, kind, etc., as he has been portrayed. No one can.
‘A good running back’
That’s not his fault. It’s ours. And when I say “ours,” I mean the woman who e-mailed me to say she’d be proud if her daughter married Tebow, not that either of them has ever, you know, met the quarterback.
After his team lost to the Broncos, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher called Tebow “a good running back.’’ Urlacher caught all sorts of grief for saying it, but there was a basis for his pronouncement: the truth. The Bears had shut down Tebow for most of the game but for some reason had gone pacifist in the final minutes. They allowed Broncos receivers to run free, and Tebow got the ball to them. It was more about what the Bears hadn’t done than about what the quarterback had done.
But that didn’t stop the Tebow-has-God-on-speed-dial narrative from barreling forward.
The problem was that there was nowhere to go when failure struck. And it struck Tebow with a fury.
Broncos executive vice president John Elway says Tebow has to has to take some risks in the passing game in Sunday’s playoff showdown with Pittsburgh. That’s the last thing you want from Tebow. Let him be the dreaded “game manager” who takes few risks as a passer. Let him do what Urlacher says he does well — run with the football. It has worked.
There are two ways this can go long-term with Tebow: A) With his toughness and running ability, he transforms the way the quarterback position is viewed or B) he fades away like mood rings and earth shoes.
I’m guessing the latter, but I’m a sucker for miracles.
Save your e-mails for after Sunday’s Broncos-Steelers game. We should have a lot to discuss. The noisier, the better.