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Hefferon: Not Yet Tebow Time (Nov. 1)

Jack Hefferon | Monday, October 31, 2011

You can’t run. You can’t hide. No, it’s not some Halloween monster, but it is pretty scary, and it’s coming for you.

It’s Tebowmania.

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is larger than life, and he’s invading our homes. But it’s not exactly his fault.

You see, Tebow was a very good mobile quarterback in college at Florida, where his agile frame and glistening smile made him beloved to fans everywhere. He led the Gators to two national championships, and became the youngest player ever to win the Heisman in the process.

Tebow was drafted by the Broncos with the 25th overall pick last year, and has probably been the most celebrated backup in the NFL since then. But the hype surrounding Tebow far exceeds what he does on the field.

And that’s because Tebow is Christian. Not just Christian, but really, really Christian. Like doing missions in the offseason, filming pro-life Super Bowl ads, and converting convicts in his spare time. He is the son of Baptist missionaries, and was born at a mission in the Philippines.

All this only contributed to the legend of Tebow. It’s the reason millions of people looked up the bible verses he wore on his eye black after his games in college, and it’s the reason for the media circus that has accompanied Tim’s first real chance in the NFL.

The Tebow Experiment began in full three weeks ago, when the 1-5 Broncos got fed up with Kyle Orton’s lackluster play (Chicagoans know the feeling). Down 19 to the Chargers in the second half, Tebow entered the game in relief and quickly passed for one touchdown and rushed for another. The comeback effort came up short, but it was all Tebow needed to convert the Mile High masses, and mass media, too.

Tebow became an omnipresent topic on ESPN, which was only fueled by the announcement that he would start the next week at Miami. Upon that news breaking, the winless Dolphins sold 75,000 tickets in one day, and the show was on. Tebow stumbled through an absolutely atrocious first three quarters, and the Broncos fell behind the lowly Dolphins, 15-0. But Timmy Terrific rallied back in the last three minutes to tie the game, and the Broncos escaped embarrassment with an 18-15 win in overtime.

But instead of being criticized for almost losing to arguably the worst team in the league, Tebowmania swept the nation. A sports fan couldn’t escape the headlines, be they in print, on TV, or online: “Tebow Time”, “Is Tebow the Real Deal?”, or “The Second Coming”. For an entire week, there was one top story: Tim Tebow.

But it didn’t stop there. On Sunday, the Broncos were embarrassed by the new look Lions in a game in which Tebow singlehandedly created two touchdowns – for Detroit. The media circus hasn’t been called off though, it’s just changed its tune.

“What’s wrong with Tim Tebow?” and “Too much hype, too soon?” are now the questions de jour.

For those trying to hide from Tebowmania, there is no hope. Tebowing, or posing in kneeled prayer in unusual places, is the next internet fad. Tebow’s jersey was one of the top five highest-selling last year. And did you know that Tebow will start next week in Oakland? (If not, you haven’t been on ESPN in days.)

It appears that Tebowthon will march on for the time being, and I’m not alone in starting to get fed up with it. But you have to feel for the young quarterback. I admire that he uses his position to raise awareness for something he cares about, and he seems, for all accounts, like a great guy. The problem is, he’s not a great football player, and his game just doesn’t translate well in the pros.

So Tim, I wish you the best, but for now we need you to fade from the public eye. We simply can’t take it anymore. Maybe you can go on a mission trip, or take a leave of absence, or request a benching after the way you played last week. Tebowmania can’t go on like this forever.

You’ve held the spotlight for a while now, it’s time to give it to the next guy.

Besides, the Broncos have another handsome, formerly successful backup quarterback. He’s been long forgotten for a while now, and could use the help of a Good Samaritan like yourself.

Fire up the bandwagon, folks, and dust off those old No. 10 jerseys.

It’s Bradyquinnapalooza!



The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Jack Hefferon at wheffero@nd.edu.