Friday, November 18, 2011

Jordan Schultz

In case anyone is still out there, I'm back.

Not that I ever left, really. The end of baseball season has given me plenty of interesting things to write about but, unfortunately, school has not given me lots of time to do so. Hopefully this can be remedied because, as I said, there are loads of things going on out there right now. How did I chose what tantalizing topic to discuss today? Not surprisingly, I picked a topic while watching ESPN. It wasn't a specific game or player who caught my eye, though; it was a commercial. And while it might not have succeeded in convincing me to go out and buy FRS health drinks, it did give me an idea and it's something I've been thinking about for a while now so I'll share it with you.

The accuracy of this commercial is really astounding. A little history, for those of you who don't know what I'm getting at. Tim Tebow played for Urban Meyer's Florida Gators football team from 2006-2009, starting as quarterback in his second season. He was the team captain his junior and senior seasons and the only Florida player to ever win 3 team MVP awards (2007-2009). The Gators won the National Championship twice with Tebow - his freshman and junior years. In 2007, Tebow became the first ever sophomore (and the first previously home schooled student) to win the Heisman Trophy. Amongst other awards won in college, Tebow was a 2 time winner of the Maxwell Award for the nation's top college football player, winner of the James E. Sullivan Award for the nation's most outstanding amateur athlete in any sport, 2 ESPY's for best male college athlete, the LOWE's senior class award winner, and Sports Illustrated's college football player of the decade. Just to name a few. He was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Denver Broncos, the 25th overall draft.

This season, the Bronco's started off 1-4. In the 5th game of the season, coach John Fox replaced starting quarterback Kyle Orton with Tim Tebow in the start of the 2nd half against the San Diego Chargers. Despite the two touchdowns (one thrown and one run) by Tebow in the 4th quarter, the Broncos still lost. Fox made the decision after this game to start Tebow. That was five weeks ago. In the last five weeks, the Broncos are 4-1 (and that one loss was to the Lions. I had a hard time deciding who to root for.)

So here's the question: why is the world so determined to watch Tim Tebow fail? Make no mistake, everyone is determined to see him fail. Going back to that commercial from the beginning of this post, Tebow has proven that he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. This week, Tebow led the Broncos to a stunning victory over the Jets. This morning, I listened to sportscasters now debate whether he can continue to win long-term or whether this is some fluke. The show (which was First Take on ESPN, if you're curious) showed an interesting set of statistics, comparing Tim Tebow to legendary Broncos quarterback and NFL MVP John Elway at this point in their careers: Tebow has more passing yards, more rushing yards, more touchdowns, a far superior touchdown to interceptions ratio, and more wins.

Now let me share a little bit about Tim Tebow as a person. He was born in the Philippines, the youngest of five children of Pamela (the daughter of a U.S. Army colonel) and Robert Tebow, a pastor. While pregnant, Pamela was infected with a life-threatening pathogenic amoeba, the drugs of which treated her led to a placental abruption. Expecting a stillbirth, the doctors recommended she have an abortion rather than risk her life. She refused. As I mentioned, he was home schooled for high school but a 1996 law allowed him to play for Nease High School in Florida. His home schooling was heavily influenced by his mother's Christianity, which has in turn influenced most of his life, including his football career. During college, Tebow frequently wrote biblical verses on his black eye paint (which often led to numerous google searches after the games. During the 2009 BCS championship, John 3:26 was searched by 92 million people.) This is banned in the NFL, so he doesn't do this anymore, and, coincidentally enough, it's now banned in college football too. The unofficial "Tebow Rule" prohibits the use of writing on black eye paint as of 2010 in order to reinforce the intended use of black eye paint, shading the sun from one's eyes. Tebow starring in a controversial abortion commercial during the 2009 Super Bowl. Recently, the newest Tebow-related fad is "Tebowing" - kind of like planking, but not as stupid. Tebow often kneels down in a prayer-like position on the field; now others are doing it too.

Here's the answer to the main question (remember? Why do people want Tebow to fail?): it's because he's different. Tim Tebow is not a typical NFL quarterback, i.e., he doesn't view the game or himself as bigger than anything else in this world. Sure, the analysts can say they're concerned about him because he can't pass, he won't stay healthy, he doesn't have the right personnel to make his offense work; maybe those are legitimate concerns, but why is this question still being asked? Why are analysts still searching for a way for him to fail rather than praising his accomplishments thus far? As Skip Bayless put it, "Tim Tebow is the most over-criticized young quarterback in the history of the game." These people want Tebow to fail because they don't know what to do with him. Give them someone like Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, or Brett Favre, someone who is arrogant, who does place themselves higher than the law; those kind of quarterbacks, people can handle because it's so common. It's so easy for athletes to take that route and so it's easy for reporters to find a story or for analysts to to stir up some controversy by overlooking their obvious character flaws because of "what they've done for the game". But give them someone moral, someone humble, someone who is not only a good football player but a good person as well, and they're all lost. There's no story. There's no controversy. So they have to make one. And if the only way they can do that is by his failure, then that's what they're going to hope for. As for me, I've become Tebow's #1 fan. Except when he plays the Lions.

Today's blog is named after Jordan Schultz, #12 for the Oklahoma State women's basketball team. She's a 5-10 freshmen guard from Claremore, OK and, being a freshmen, doesn't have a lot of statistics to show yet (but just wait, I'm sure they're coming). Mostly this entry is dedicated to head coach Kurt Budke, assistant coach Miranda Serna, and Olin and Paula Branstetter, all of whom died yesterday in a plane crashed in Perry County, Arkansas. Budke was the youngest coach ever inducted into the NJCAA  Hall of Fame. Since 2005, when he came to OSU, he was 99-68 and appeared in 3 NCAA tournaments. This was Serna's 7th year with the team. RIP.

Gotta go!
The Sports Nerd

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