After the Jets waved Tim Tebow, it’s time to ask if his rabid fanbase is actually destroying his NFL career by turning him into an overhyped football version of Sarah Palin.
The Jets released Tebow today in most matter of fact way possible. In a statement the team said, The New York Jets have waived quarterback Tim Tebow.” After giving a short paragraph overview of his career stats, they included a quote from coach Rex Ryan, “”We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow. Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped. Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this offseason. We wish him the best moving forward.”
It sounds like Ryan was trying really hard to say something nice about a player who was brought in with great hype, but couldn’t get on the field. I have always suspected that the Jets acquired Tebow, because they thought he was a more developed player than he actually was. Once they got Tebow into camp that realized that he can’t read defenses, and his arm isn’t very accurate. Tebow was successful in Denver because the coaching staff changed their offense to hide his weaknesses and play to his strengths. The Jets expected Tebow to fit their offense, which made him a square peg in a round hole.
One has to wonder if Denver would have drafted Tebow in the first round, or if the Jets would have pulled the trigger on that trade if Tim Tebow’s faith based rabid fanbase wasn’t such a 24/7 hype machine for their guy. (ESPN, CBS, and college football in general created the Tebow media hype, but lots of college football players become media stars and then flame out in the NFL.)
Tim Tebow is a great athlete. He was able to use his superior athleticism to dominate at Florida, but being a quarterback in the NFL requires skills that Tebow doesn’t possess. The fact that he isn’t a very good QB hasn’t stopped his fans from pointing to the one playoff game that he has won as proof that he should be a starting QB in the NFL. (Just like how Sarah Palin’s fans point to her one half term as governor, and say that she should be president.)
Tebow’s fans create a complete circus around whatever team he joins. The minute after Tim Tebow signs his next contract his fans will call for him to be named the starter. If Tebow were to sign in New England, some of his fans would expect him to replace Tom Brady. His fans worship Tebow with a religious zeal that tends to block out all logic and common sense. (Again, logic and common sense are things that Sarah Palin has never been on a first name basis with.)
Tebow’s career path, his fans’ worship of him, and mainstream media’s love of covering him is starting to remind me of a certain former Alaska governor.
The cult of Tebow vastly exaggerates their hero’s skills, and they become an immediate pain in the neck for any GM or coach that has the quarterback on their roster.
If Tebow really wants to be an NFL starting quarterback again, he needs to tell his fans to shut up. They aren’t helping Tebow by turning him into a walking quarterback controversy. Tebow also needs to take himself out of the media spotlight. He needs to learn how to play his position. He can’t do this if his fans are constantly screaming for him to start. The best situation for Tebow is one where he could be a second string QB on a successful team. He could be taught all of the things that he never learned under any of his coaches at any level.
Tim Tebow is the NFL version of Sarah Palin. He was put into a role he was not ready for, and now he is on the cusp of falling completely out of his profession. Like Palin, Tebow has a devoted cult like fan base. Tim Tebow is most like Palin in that he is in over his head, but so far has been resistant to the idea of taking a step back before he moves forward.
For Tim Tebow, former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is his John McCain. Tebow like Palin was elevated to things he wasn’t ready for by a man who was desperate to win. There is also the similarity that both Palin and Tebow have trademarked their names or versions of them.
The Christian right tends to over inflate their heroes, and then blame the media when they crash and burn. Sarah Palin is a flaming pile of rubble, and Tim Tebow is starting to smolder.
If Tim Tebow pulls a Sarah Palin and insists on being the star(ting quarterback), he may find himself out of the NFL. Sarah Palin burned all of her bridges in media and politics in part because she believed her own hype. If Tebow buys into his own hype, he too could see his NFL dreams burn out and fade away.
Image: Business Insider
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association