Is Tim Tebow being blackballed by NFL teams? For a man with a winning record as a starter at the quarterback position, one could certainly come to that conclusion about the former Bronco and now former Jet (thank God). At least one sports writer believes that Tebow is being shut-out by NFL teams afraid to deal with the sometimes circus that is Tebowmania. Michael Silver, a Yahoo Sports’ journalist who is admittedly not a fan of Tebow, is beginning to wonder whether the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback is being unfairly treated:
Against all odds, I’m starting to wonder whether the man who helped the Denver Broncos become one of the league’s most stunning success stories in 2011 is getting unjustly blackballed. . . .
Now, here’s the interesting part: Tebowmania is at least partly to blame.
As much as prospective employers are wary of Tebow’s flawed mechanics, much-maligned throwing motion or deficiencies when it comes to reading defenses, the incessant media and fan attention that accompanies his presence on the depth chart is an even bigger concern.
“He seems like a great guy to have on a team, and I’d be tempted to bring him in as our backup,” one NFC head coach told me Wednesday. “But it’s just not worth dealing with all the stuff that comes with it.” (emphasis added)
Could there be more to the story than this unnamed NFC head coach is letting on? NFL teams are rife with players who distract teams with their multiple drug busts, drunk driving arrests, murder charges, spousal abuse convictions, and other less than savory character traits. And, let’s not forget that one NFL team “took a chance” on a convicted dog killer. I’m not buying that NFL teams don’t want to take a chance on Tebow because of “all the stuff that comes with it.” I believe that Tebow is being blackballed, but not because of the stuff that comes with Tebowmania. After all, with Tebowmania comes lots and lots of money, which is the lifeblood of all NFL teams and their owners. Just ask Pat Bowlen, the owner of the Denver Broncos, whether or not he was happy to make money off of Tim Tebow’s presence with the team.
So, what is going on with every NFL team (at least as of now) passing over a proven winner? There will be some who think that Tebow does not possess the QB skills necessary to succeed in the NFL. That may or may not be true, but Tebow’s actual win-loss record says otherwise. It does make one wonder why Tebow’s hometown Jacksonville Jaguars would stay with Blaine “He Gives Us the Best Chance to Win” Gabbert when they could acquire Tebow, a winner on and off the field?
There’s no question that Tim Tebow illicits strong opinions, both pro and con. However, as I have written about previously (here, here and here), I believe that a large part of the blackballing of Tim Tebow has nothing to do with his football skills, but everything to do with his strong and unequivocal Christian witness. The NFL, like the culture at-large, is becoming a place where Biblical Christianity is best left unspoken. Therefore, we shouldn’t really be surprised that NFL teams — not known for Christian owners, General Managers or Coaches (Tony Dungy being the glaring exception) — don’t know how to handle someone like Tim Tebow. That was most evident with the loathsome head coach of the NY Jets, Rex Ryan.
Will Tim Tebow find a home to play football in the Fall? Will it be with the NFL or even the CFL? Will any team decide that the upside of having Tim Tebow on their squad outweighs the “the stuff that comes with it?” They say that peer pressure among adults is greater than among teens. Will there be any NFL owner, GM or Head Coach who wants to win with Tebow instead of lose without him? Time will tell. I hate to say it, but where is Al “Just Win Baby” Davis when you need him?