In the wake of Sports News...
Tim Tebow, a former NFL quarterback is attempting a comeback with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville signed Tebow to a contract and is currently part of the 90 man roster. His major challenge here is making it onto the 53 man roster as a tight end, a position he’s never played. This latest news on Tebow reminds me that when you mention his name, you either smile or shake your head. He's just one of those polarizing figures in sports -- two points opposite ends of the spectrum – you either root for him or against. I can understand and empathize with both with thinking about Tebow from different perspectives. Some African-Americans feel like Tebow is the epitome of white privilege. While there are others who love and follow Tebow because he's clean cut and may be the poster child or an all American man.
The point behind this article is to provide a fair assessment of the latest Tebow Mania. It’s important to be fair towards this story, it’s easy to quickly choose a side and be impervious to another perspective. My hope is to help persuade readers to see this phenomenon in a new light.
Indeed, it appears that Tebow is allowed to try out for the Jacksonville Jaguars by head coach, Urban Meyer. Urban was Tebow’s coach when Tim played for the Florida Gators in 2006-2009? Meyer is simply doing Tim a favor by giving him a chance to make the team. Let’s be real, Urban has an affinity for keeping relationships with former college players. Having said that, Urban is no fool, he’s not guaranteeing Tebow a roster spot, just a chance to make the team. However, many journalists are keeping a close watch on Urban as he’s transitioned from college to the NFL (Many successful college coaches lacked success at the pro level.) Jaguar players may be annoyed by this move and feel he’s taking someone else’s spot, someone without a name but talent that far exceeds what some sports analysts have said about what you can expect from Tim in an entirely new position and haven’t played pro football in 9 years. I guess it will be a merit-based system in terms of the final 53, but at the same time, some will argue that the final 90 didn’t achieve that system.
While casually watching Tebow’s career over the last ten years or so, it appears most people either love him or hates him. If you love him, you like the fact that he’s clean-cut and is a very nice man and polite speaker. If he can play, he could be somewhat of a novelty for the team. Let’s be honest and say his skill color and personality are why so many white fans are rooting for him. Naturally, white fans root for as many white players to succeed, I’m not sure if it’s racist to hold this view but it’s something to consider. I hear Black folks say the same thing, they are more inclined to love a bro whether that’s on the gridiron or NBA court. I’m thinking it’s human nature, you’re more likely to gravitate towards those with more familiarity. Just because you root for your own race doesn’t mean you won’t or shouldn’t exclude all the other great players, regardless of color.
Marketers are like radio or TV hosts, you’re always looking for a good story and Tebow Mania fits that bill. I’d imagine the Jaguars may sell more tickets now they have more buzz for the upcoming season. Undoubtedly, Tebow swag will become available soon, whether or not he makes the 53 player roster. Thinking out loud, would you wear a Tim Tebow Jaguars jersey if he didn’t make the team? The next 3 plus months will tell us a lot about what happens to the Tebow Mania.
DON'T LIKE TEBOW
I suspect that many Black fans and athletes do not like all the attention and privilege that Tebow receives. How can someone who completed only 48% of his passes in 3 NFL seasons be given another shot on the gridiron? Consider the fact that once he was out of pro football, he got a job in December 2013, broadcasting games on the SEC Network (all the while seeking an opportunity as an NFL quarterback).
How can a successful athlete in college be given the chance to compete in two different pro sports (NFL and MLB farm system) while not succeeding in either? Why does he receive so much attention as a pro athlete when among many NFL coaches and analysts, it’s questionable whether he’s indeed a pro athlete? To someone who questions his physical ability, why does he get so much press despite his lack of athleticism? Some Black folks have admitted that Tebow looks like an athlete with an incredible physique but they also know that a physical specimen does not always translate to skillfully executing a football play.
I think it’s too late for Tebow to make an NFL roster as a tight end. When Tebow played for the Broncos in 2010-11, it was suggested to him that he may want to consider a different position to stay with the team. Tebow was adamant about playing QB, even though it was quite evident that he wasn’t an NFL quarterback. Other teams around that time were interested in Tebow playing other positions where he might excel but Tebow had dug in his cleats and insisted he only wants to play quarterback. After playing for the Denver Broncos, he played one more NFL season with the Jets, only having 8 attempts in that season.
Once he hit a dead-end on his football career, he decided to give pro baseball a shot. (Perhaps he knew he could fall back on baseball if his QB dream didn’t materialize.) Played for the Syracuse Mets in 2019 (AAA), he batted .163 in 77 games played with 4 home runs in 77 games (22 walks and 98 strikeouts).
Now, back to 2021, Tim has decided he wants to make a team in the NFL while playing a different position from the position where he was drafted. Before the start of the season, he will be 34, quite old for anyone trying out for an NFL team, especially trying out for a position he's never played before.
Has Meyer seen him play at this position recently? Has Tebow gone against pro players to help gauge his chances of making the team? If not, is Meyer merely doing Tebow a favor knowing that he’s not able to make the 53 game roster?
It’s a win-win situation for the Jacksonville Jaguars – they get this free publicity before the start of the '21 season after just winning 1 game in '20. HBO Hard Knocks might be calling too which would give viewers an inside view of how the Jaguars are trying to rebuild their team. If Tebow doesn’t make the team but decides to stay on as a coach, that could be beneficial to them too. By Meyer doing Tebow a favor, Tebow will still have to prove to the players and coaches that he’s up to the task. Again, a favor by Meyer doesn’t mean anything except you can compete for a job. Even if he makes the team (highly unlikely), he'll primarily play on special teams or during gadget plays -- not make much of a difference in the team's success but would bring a lot of eyeballs to the Jaguars. Stay tuned.