As ESPN launches ANOTHER TEBOWCENTER this morning at 11 ET, we have asked you throughout the week for your feedback on Tebow and the media and more specifically, ESPN's Tebow obsession. Good timing. But hey, I suppose everything is justified because ESPN says Tim Tebow is the world's most popular athlete according to ESPN and Tim Tebow has increased ratings which means Tim Tebow is the world's most popular athlete.
As I said on Twitter, I commend ESPN for horrifyingly exploiting Tim Tebow to boost ratings. I commend them for turning an average QB into a real superhero. They should take full credit in making him the most popular athlete in America. But while they tout those numbers, they lose credibility with their core audience. Much like The Decision, the tradeoff of respect for ratings isn't worth it for ESPN. As a sports fan and a fan of ESPN and even a fan of Tim Tebow it is frustrating and disappointing. But don't take my word from it, others have strong opinions too. Has the media obsession changed or influenced your opinion of Tim Tebow? What follows are reader e-mails from with their thoughts on Tim Tebow and ESPN. As always, these are real e-mails from real people...
For me, the media hasn't done a whole lot to change my opinion of him. They've doubted him going into every week, then sung his praises to the extent that he becomes overrated after each win. He gets overrated after every game for a day or two, then underrated going into the next game. They flip-flop to the point that it's tough for it to affect me. To me, social media has influenced me much more. Tebow has become less of a football player than he is an internet meme, a social symbol. Everyone collectively freaks out about him on Twitter and Facebook. He's a common discussion topic, even if we don't all agree on his merits as a player. The debate about Tebow isn't about his QB play anymore, it's about what you think of him and what that says about you as a person.
As a Broncos fan I hated the Tebow draft pick, and his move to the starting role. I didn't think he'd do anything of worth. After his (very) rough start and the media's initial destruction of him though, I started to feel terrible about how he was being treated. For a guy who has yet to have an offseason as the starter, he needed some time to adjust. I don't mean to go all Gundy on you, but he's certainly a guy that does everything right in his preparation and with his attitude. The deification of him since then has gone way overboard, but I don't think that's fair to have the media's obsessive coverage of him affect someone's view. It's one thing to be like the Jets, putting out soundbytes on a daily basis in an attempt to gain recognition. It's quite another situation when it doesn't seem that Tebow has changed how he's humbly handled himself.
I never had any reason to like/hate Tim Tebow, but over the last two years I've taken the position that I want him to succeed ONLY because I want the media to choke on all the crow they'd have to eat. I've come to the conclusion that all these people who analyze him incessantly must be insanely jealous of him - its kind of like bullying: you hate on people to feel better about yourself. It seems like these media types don't seem to have any ability to cover or learn about anything else and so they just keep on the Tebow Beat: they either aren't smart enough so they have to keep repeating the same three takes (kind of like a politician), or they're too lazy to cover a different story...
I'm dreading when the season ends for the Broncos because it will be Tebow's fault, or at least that's how it will be presented. I'm just tired as a sports fan and a fairly intelligent human being of being exposed to this fountain of crap that is supposed to be expert analysis because I get absolutely nothing out of it because there is nothing valuable. (Honestly, does ESPN have 100 former NFL-ers on staff? What value is there from hearing from all of them - especially when they all recite the same, lame thing?) My seven year-old niece has more conviction and supporting information in her arguments to stay up late than most of these jackwagons can muster up.
To me, Tim Tebow or Tebow adulation in the media is a symbol of taking the easiest road, the lowest common denominator, and then running it into the ground, a victim of having massive need for content and a desire to draw in the casual fan as opposed to the hardcore fan. I have nothing against Tebow, I find him fascinating in that he seems to have a knack for the comeback, which we celebrate more as unattached fans because the surgical precision of a Brees, Brady, or Rodgers lacks doubt. We turn to sports because of the daily potential to see something new, unexpected, and exciting (Bill James had a great piece on this in Slate as to why we're really good at developing athletes and not as good at developing writers.)All of that said, I can understand why people doubt Tebow. I can understand why people dislike Tebow because of his support for groups like Focus on the Family. I can understand why people tire of the constant discussion of Tebow. In the end though, I'm a football fan and if it's not my team playing, I want to watch an exciting game. If nothing else in his NFL career, Tim Tebow has had a propensity for providing that, and in that, I appreciate him.
I have never been a huge fan of Tebow. I respect him as a person, we share some of the same religious views, but as a football player? No thank you. The media has hyped him up far too much for my liking, and that creates a strong dislike for him. Not necessarily his fault, though.
I was initially rooting for Tebow because of guys like Hoge constantly saying you had to the play the QB position a certain way. That's just closed-mindedness, and the NFL would be more exciting if less people thought that way.
Then, Bayless & co. pulled it violently in the complete opposite direction. As a Pats fan, the fervor peaked just in time for Brady & Bill to snap everyone back to reality. That DJ Steve Porter thing was pretty funny, though.
I think its insane that one week the media almost pushes the team to insert Brady Quinn into the playoff game, then the next Tebow's got the gig locked up.
Take it easy!
Im a Tebow media hater. I don't hate Tebow the person, he's likely a stand up guy who I'd let my non existent daughter marry.
What I hate is ESPN covering this guy non-stop. This all started when they suddenly became infatuated with Farve a few years back. They acted like he was the only person on that team that was accomplishing anything, and would put cameras in his face all day long!
Now they're doing the exact same thing with Tebow. Every game he plays in, ESPN devotes half of their business week coverage on him. After every game, they send out mass texts detailing his not so great stats to anyone who signs up for the NFL news alerts. Its just too much coverage for one player who really isnt that amazing of a qb. Im a truck driver, and I can't listen to ESPN Radio while driving because every show on there has to devote so much time talking about the guy.
Brees set the nfl passing record in week 16, but by Wednesday morning all I heard about until Sunday was the power and glory of Tebow.
It's almost like ESPN is trying to make sure that he has the same job next year, kind of like how they seemed to be forcing the Broncos into a qb controversy during training camp.
Ken from Hammond, LA
It's called saturation, or too much of a good thing. When you have too much ice cream, you don't want to so much as look at another scoop for a while, if only a short while (it IS ice cream, after all). The smart thing to do is eat moderate, well-spaced out amounts so you get to consistently enjoy ice cream every day. ESPN, however, is the obsessive-compulsive ice cream eater, and therefore the kind of obese monster you'd see on theoatmeal.com.
It's essentially their mode of operation: obsess. Lately Sportscenter will have multiple segments on one topic. Heat lose in overtime for their second loss of the season? Let's talk about it at the top, bottom, and middle of the hour. Rex Ryan said something? 10 minute discussion about the Jets (who still haven't won anything under Ryan). My personal favorite is their coverage of the Cowboys. I like the Cowboys, but I've nearly forgotten their head coach is Jason Garrett (I had to google that to be sure). The first face they focus on before, during, and after any Dallas game is Rob Ryan, the defensive coordinator. I don't even know why he's such a big deal; I really don't.
This isn't about ragging on ESPN all day, but providing context to their coverage of Tim Tebow. It's a sensational story in Denver, but you only want to hear so much. The coverage is nearly constant between the talking heads, announcers, and Twitter explosions. What really makes it worse is that it's not all one-sided support. It's both the fans AND the nay-sayers that are talking, if not screaming at the top of their lungs.
I like Tim Tebow, and as far as subjects of media obsessions go, he's probably the best kind of person out there to be one. He works hard, likes people, and tries to be a faithful and charitable man and leader. You can't help but respect that. Granted, I have my own bias. I grew up a Miami Hurricanes fan, and will always hold Tebow's alma mater against him (jovially, of course). But that doesn't mean I won't like him. I liked Emmitt Smith for long time growing up, and he played for the Gator's as well. But I will grow tired of hearing about him, regardless of his performance.
The last point I'll make is that a minimum of 21 other men make these "saintly" football games possible. The Broncos defense is the least talked about group in the NFL. Matt Prater made two MONSTER field goals to beat Chicago when Tebow and the offense couldn't reach the endzone. Last but certainly not least is WR Demaryius Thomas (from Georgia Tech, NOT Central Florida...looking at you Mr. Simms) who has been one of Tebow's favorite receivers and who's stiff-arm made possible about 60 of the 80 yards in the OT game on Sunday.
I'm all for praising the sensational success of Tim Tebow, so far, but I'm not willing to put a crown (of thorns, perhaps?) on him just yet. I'd still prefer that he truly earn it, first.
More reader e-mails and thoughts on Tebow & the media to come in Part II.