Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has been in the national spotlight since his days at the University of Florida, where his on-the-field accomplishments made him one of the greatest college football players of all time.
Now entering his second season in the NFL, Tebow is under intense scrutiny by the media, sports analysts and his own peers who feel that he’s not capable of making the transition from college to the NFL.
According to USA Today, former NFL quarterback and CBS analyst Boomer Esiason said at a press event, “He can’t play. He can’t throw. I’m not here to insult him. The reality is he was a great college football player, maybe the greatest college football player of his time. But he’s not an NFL quarterback right now.”
Former NFL player and ESPN analyst Merril Hoge, one of Tebow’s most ardent critics, spares no punches when it comes to critiquing Tebow’s abilities on the field, expressing on numerous occasions that he’s a terrible quarterback.
There is certainly merit to the criticism analysts have given Tebow, considering he is still a young, inexperienced quarterback. But there is a difference between criticism and simply wanting a player to fail.
The sports media is notorious for building players up to the point where they seem larger than life, giving them coverage that may be unwarranted. Expectations were high for Tebow, who was taken 25th overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2010 NFL draft. His jersey set a draft-weekend sales record. When players such as Tebow don’t live up to unattainable expectations, the media tears them down, dehumanizing them in the process.
Analysts will try to add a little controversy into their shows to boost ratings. While this attempt at showmanship can certainly entertain, it also denies viewers a fair analysis of the game.
There was a time when fans just watched the game to root for their favorite teams and players they grew up with, as well as to obtain bragging rights with their co-workers Monday morning. Now it’s all about fantasy football, stats, massive egos and sports media that reward controversy rather than players’ ability and character.
Tebow does not fit into the stereotypical NFL mold that most fans and players have grown accustomed to watching. Tebow’s faith, symbolized in the gesture of kneeling and praying before a game, now called “Tebowing,” has been immortalized by fans and mocked by opposing teams, including some Detroit Lions players Sunday who mimicked him by kneeling after making big plays.
Tebow, at least in front of the cameras, is a down-to-earth, humble individual who shouldn’t be disrespected for possessing an old-fashioned, winning attitude that is a rarity in today’s egocentric sports landscape.
Frank Nuez is a senior majoring in accounting.