Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn’t already have.
There’s been more eating among NFL executives and media “experts” — you know, those people who shout at you on ESPN — lately than you’d see at a Thanksgiving dinner for the cast of “Mike and Molly.”
The menu at these pig-outs, though, does not include turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce or even those little round green “English peas” that the cheap aunt always brings to the family dinner. Instead, the above-mentioned self-proclaimed geniuses are chowing down on their own words ... and a nice helping of crow.
If you’ve followed the National Football League at all this year — and, while I’m not sure, I think it’s officially against the law not to — you know the most compelling story of the season is the emergence of Tim Tebow as the ultimate comeback quarterback. After taking over as QB for the Denver Broncos after the Broncos got off to a 1-4 start, Tebow has directed the team to seven wins in eight games and now has Denver in first place in the AFC’s Western Division.
Yes, Tim Tebow. The guy who, when Denver fans clamored for him to replace Kyle Orton as the team’s starting quarterback, the aformentioned experts quickly condemned those fans for their misplaced loyalty.
One ESPN shouter — I forget his name, but it’s the guy who talks real loud and makes his every prognostication as if it is stone-cold fact ... oh, wait, that’s all of the people on ESPN — made this statement: “You people have no idea what you’re asking for. Tim Tebow is not a professional quarterback. Furthermore, he will never be a professional quarterback. He does not have the required skills.”
Even the team’s coach (John Fox) and its vice president for football operations (John Elway, who’s transitioned nicely into a blowhard since he’s left the playing field, no surprise there) have gotten in on the act, assuring fans when the change was first made that Tebow’s promotion was a “temporary solution.”
Even after the former Florida Gator won two of the first three games he started, Fox and Elway centered post-game comments around how the team had “won ugly,” and they again assured anyone who would listen that if Tebow didn’t start performing “like an NFL quarterback,” his tenure would be a short one.
But to everyone’s complete surprise, Tebow’s two wins became three, and then four, and then five, and now seven. With the once last-place Broncos now in first place, talk about the miracle in Denver goes in one of two directions: “I’m a believer and have hopped on the ‘Tebow Train,’ ” or “Let’s just see what he does when he lines up against a real team.”
Last I checked, though, NFL teams don’t get more “real” than the Chicago Bears. And, besides, what’s this guy so lacking in the requisite skills to be an NFL quarterback doing winning any games, much less seven out of eight and six in a row?
Sadly, when Tebow was first elevated to starting QB, much of the criticism that swirled around him centered on his willingness to openly discuss his Christian beliefs. It’s OK in the NFL for a guy who was arrested on drug and/or domestic violence charges the week before to kneel as if praying and point reverently to the sky after scoring a touchdown, but let a guy who has always professed a strong faith offer genuine praise, and he’s condemned for being “too soft” to play in the NFL.
(Personal note: I am not particularly a Tebow or Florida fan, but I read his book “Through My Eyes” earlier this year, and I think it’s pretty clear to even the most cynical reader that the man doesn’t shy away from espousing the beliefs that he credits with helping him pick up a Heisman Trophy, a couple of national college football titles and a then-presumed pro career. Like him or not, the dude truly walks the walk.)
Even after turning a fan base that had written off their team into a pack of Tebow-mad fanatics, Denver officials — particularly chief hypocrite Elway — have only recently, and reluctantly, hinted that they might have to “consider” Tebow their future quarterback. That is, “if he continues to improve.”
Here’s an idea, Elway. Why don’t you and Fox pull the trigger and trade Tebow to a team like Jacksonville or Miami — his home base — and draft Luck or RGIII to be your “quarterback of the future?” Then you won’t have to re-assess the guy who’s only gone 7-1 as your starter after every improbable miraculous comeback victory.
Maybe instead of all those “ugly wins,” you’ll start piling up a whole lot of good-looking losses. Ask Carolina and Cam Newton how those feel.
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.