A case for Tebow

tim-tebow-jets

Tim Tebow is one of the most interesting and polarizing figures in sports history. He is constantly criticized and told he is not an NFL QB and yet he also has an army of loyal fans. Fans who helped make Tebowing the biggest thing in the NFL last season. He inspires with his constant positive attitude and religious devotion. Everyone has an opinion on the man who has started just 14 NFL games in his young career. He turned ESPN, the flagship sports network, into his personal network. They covered his every move because people cared. Eventually ESPN realized how excessive the coverage had become and dialed it back.

Tebowmania is nothing of his own doing but it took the nation by storm last season. Of course he is responsible for the phenomenon but he does not seek out the media attention like Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson or Terrell “Get your popcorn ready” Owens. The media firestorm comes with the territory when you’re Tim Tebow.

If you’re an NFL fan, then you’ve heard both sides of the Tebow debate more than once. For me, Tebow should not be dismissed until he is given a full season as a starter. He is so often diminished because he doesn’t throw the ball like Tom Brady. But is that the only thing that matters? Tom Brady has won a lot in his career so I can see how people think if you’re not like Tom Brady than you’re a loser. But there are multiple ways to win – as evidenced by Tebow’s collegiate and brief pro career.

Tebow was a phenomenal college quarterback at Florida. He set numerous records, won the Heisman Trophy and was a constant presence in BCS games, including winning 2 National Championships. Here’s a list (according to Wikipedia) of his collegiate records…

“Tebow held 5 NCAA, 14 SEC, and 28 University of Florida records. He was the SEC’s all-time leader in career passing efficiency (170.8), completion percentage (67.1%), passing touchdown to interception ratio (5.5 to 1), rushing yards by a quarterback (2947), rushing touchdowns (any position) (57), and total touchdowns responsible for (145).”

He accomplished just about everything that you can possibly accomplish in college football. The only problem was that he didn’t look like an NFL quarterback. He had a long throwing motion and left the pocket to scramble too early. Tebow did it with an offense that was designed for him – that worked towards his strengths. Despite all of his winning, awards and records, the common belief was that he would not succeed in an NFL offense.

People are free to form their own opinions based on what they see when they watch him play. And they did – there was no shortage of opinions. NFL people also formed their own opinions and one opinion that mattered was that of Josh McDaniels and his front office in Denver. They drafted Tebow in the first round (25th overall) and he set an NFL Draft record for jersey sales. The interest in his NFL career, his fans and his haters were all there from the start.

In his 2+ seasons in the NFL. Tebow has 17 career passing TDs and 12 career rushing TDs to go with 9 career INTs. He has also rushed for 989 career yeards and averages over 5 yards per carry. He has started 14 games in his career, completing 162 of 341 passes (47.5%) with 2302 passing yards, 822 rushing yards, 23 TD (8 rushing) and 9 INT in those 14 starts. The passing yards are low but he makes up for it on the ground. Here’s the backbone for everyone’s anti-Tebow argument though: He has a 48.1 career completion percentage. That simply won’t cut it in the NFL, or so I’ve heard.

When given his lone extended opportunity to start games last season in Denver, he went 7-4, led his team to the playoffs and won a playoff game. Until he gets a full season as a starter – and his first run of games as a starter has at least earned him a look – Tebow deserves a chance to lead a team.

That couldn’t happen this season because the Jets needed a publicity stunt. So, they took advantage of Tebow’s celebrity and sacrificed him, wasting a year of his career on special teams and holding a clipboard. New York never had any intention of playing him (things have gone bad enough and they have had more than enough chances). Given how many bad quarterbacks there are currently starting right now, Tebow would have gotten a chance somewhere else.

We will never know the answer to the Tebow question until he gets a full season to start. It looks like that chance is coming next season in Jacksonville. There are a number of bad quarterbacks out there right now and GM’s would be smart to take a chance on Tebow over their current unsuccessful signal callers.

Just because he doesn’t win like every other quarterback in the league doesn’t mean it’s wrong. He still won those games and maybe there is more value in having an average passer who can take off and run at any time. Isn’t that what Cam Newton is? RGIII? Griffin is probably the best passer out of the three but Tebow is not Ryan Lindley when he passes. He’s not overthrowing wide receivers by 15 yards or throwing balls more than twice the height on the intended target. The guy has proven that he wins. It shouldn’t matter that how he wins goes against conventional NFL methods.

If it happens that those wins came in spite of him instead of because of him, then I’m a fool and I’ll be the first to admit it. Until then, Tebow deserves a chance as a full-time starter. If nothing else, we know it will be entertaining.

 

Giants Need Help but Playoffs Still a Possibility

Eagles Giants Football

I’m spoiled – I admit it. I expect the Giants to win every time they take the field. As a fan, I’ve never gone into a game expecting the Giants to lose.

So when they took the field last Sunday in Atlanta, I felt the way I always do before a game. I expected the Giants to win and start their string of big wins leading into the playoffs. That didn’t happen and it was a disappointing blowout loss. Still even after that, we still controlled our own playoff destiny. Just win the last two games and you’re in. Not only did they not do that but they lost to the Ravens in real disheartening fashion.

Now we enter Week 17 and we’re somehow not yet out of it. Eli and company need four different results to go our way. It’s a tall order but it’s far from impossible. Let’s look at each one individually…

Giants need to beat Eagles. Obviously if you are the team that is relying on help to get into the playoffs, you must first make sure you do your part and win. Something about this game just rubs me the wrong way. I think the Giants are going to win (as I always do) but there’s a lot of factors that worry me. First, the Giants haven’t beaten the Eagles at the Meadowlands since 2007. Philly has won 8 of the last 9 meetings overall including the heart-breaker Miracle at the New Meadowlands. It’s likely Andy Reid’s last game as head coach and although the Eagles haven’t done much of anything right this season, it would be fitting for Reid to end his rivals’ playoff chances.

Aside the recent history between the Giants and Eagles, the recent history of the Giants is something to worry about as well. We have played two pretty pitiful games the last two weeks at the most inopportune time. It’s been an up and down season to say the least. Remember how bad we made San Francisco, Green Bay and New Orleans look? That’s as bad as we looked against Atlanta and Baltimore. It can’t continue. I don’t know what happened to our pass rush or secondary or the offense but the wheels came off on all aspects of the team and they need to right the ship fast.

Finally, Michael Vick starting this game for the Eagles is a complete wild card. No matter what he says, this isn’t your regular Week 17 game when your team is out of playoff contention. Vick is wisely using this game as an audition for other teams. After getting medically cleared to play, he was benched and thought he wouldn’t get another chance this season. Now his chance is here and it’s against a team and in a building where he has had success. As a Giants fan, that scares me.

Having said all of that, I still think the Giants are going to win the game because that’s what they do and that’s what I’ve become accustomed to as a fan. (See the admission of how spoiled I am at the top).

Packers need to beat the Vikings. Green Bay is favored in this match up, which is good news for the Giants. But Minnesota is in a win-and-in scenario which makes the game a little more interesting. Also Peterson is chasing history and has been inhuman the last couple of games all season. Green Bay is playing for a first round bye which should be enough incentive. Both teams have something on the line and I feel the Packers are the better team and will win. It will definitely be a closely contested divisional contest but give me Aaron Rodgers over Christian Ponder every day and twice on Sundays.

The Lions need to beat the Bears. Here’s the good news about this matchup. The Bears are in a tailspin. Chicago did beat Arizona last week but who hasn’t beaten the Cardinals this season? That win doesn’t mean much. Prior to that, the Bears had lost 5 of their last 6 after starting the season 7-1. Their last road win was in Tennessee (another sub-par team) on November 4th. So maybe winning in Detroit is not such a sure thing. The problem is that The Bears can get into the playoffs with a win and a Minnesota loss. They will be motivated and the Lions have not proved to be too formidable of an opponent this season. Calvin Johnson is having a record season and he looks to add to those numbers on Sunday but will it be enough to win? Detroit doesn’t have anything left to play for except boosting those Johnson numbers. It won’t be easy but I’m an optimist and I can see it happening.

So far we’re 3 for 3 with Giants, Packers and Lions wins. Now onto the last hurdle…

Redskins need to beat the Cowboys. I really hate that there is a game being played in Week 17 that will decide the NFC East and the Giants are absent. Since we split with both Washington and Dallas, those teams get to play for the division and we have to rely on others. Even if RGIII is 75% I think the Skins are the better team. The Cowboys just don’t win these games and I admit to schadenfreude when it comes to Dallas (and Jerry Jones). This scenario unfolding would be fantastic (and not just because it could potentially help the Giants get in). The Cowboys have a win-and-in divisional road game in Week 17. NBC flexes that game to Sunday night and national TV. Dallas loses and misses the playoffs. That is exactly what happened last year and the Giants were the team sending Dallas to their golf clubs instead of January football. And this is exactly what’s going to happen again this year. The Redskins can beat the Cowboys and if they do (along with Giants, Packers and Lions victories) the Giants will make the playoffs and have a chance to defend their title.

Like I said, it’s a tall order but it’s not that far fetched. Three out of the four are favorites and have something to play for. We all know who to root for and hopefully the Giants return to form with a Week 17 win. I’m expecting nothing less.

What I’m Listening To

Hold On – The Alabama Shakes

I may be a little late to the party on the Alabama Shakes but they are far and away the best new band of 2012. The video needed to be the band just performing this song live – it helps capture the raw emotion and soul in the lead singer’s voice.

It’s a simple chorus but boy is it effective. “You’ve got to HOOLLLLLLLLLLLDDDDDDDDDD OOOOONNNNNNNN.” I’m very excited about the Alabama Shakes and I recommend their debut album Boys and GirlsThey’re definitely not a one-hit wonder and their unique sound is something that the contemporary music scene has been sorely lacking.

Everything I love about Sports in one clip

The crowd reaction. The stakes (these 2 games decided the Barclay’s Premier League). The call. The improbability of the situation. The side by side of pure joy and sudden disappointment. And much pretty much everything else about this clip is a great example of why sports is the best.

I don’t follow soccer as closely as I follow baseball, basketball, football or hockey. I’m more of a casual soccer fan but the fans in attendance at this game are anything but casual. Soccer fans are a passionate group (to say the least) and their passion only intensifies when it involves a ManU/Man City rivalry and a league championship.

Moments like this are another great reminder of why I love sports – and sometimes it’s nice to be reminded.

Ian Eagle Nails Call of Game-Winning Shot

A fantastic call from one of my favorite broadcasters. In the middle of calling Joe Johnson’s buzzer beater, Eagle noticed the camera cut to a reaction shot of Jerry Seinfeld in the stands. Thinking quickly, he brilliantly paid tribute to Seinfeld by playing off one of the sitcom’s most famous lines. I always appreciate a good Seinfeld reference and if you can work it in as seamlessly as Eagle does here, it will always make me laugh.

Sad to See Dickey Go

dickey-blog480

The Mets have finally come to a decision on RA Dickey – and that decision was to trade him to the Blue Jays. I’m very sad to see the knuckleballer go. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him pitch and one of my highlights of the 2012 season was attending his 20th win.

His comeback story and the way he reinvented himself as a pitcher is amazing. Mets fans really got behind him during his spectacular year and I know Dickey appreciated that. At the end of the day though, baseball is a business. When a player produces, you have to pay them (as the Mets also found out with David Wright) and the Mets couldn’t come to an agreement on an extension with Dickey.

The trade was the next best option and although I’m upset Dickey won’t be a part of the team going forward, I think we got a lot in return for our ace. Loading up on prospects is the right thing to do right now. Although it’s frustrating to a Mets fan right now and it has been frustrating for the past 5 years, there is a lot to be excited about. There are a lot of good young players that will hopefully make the Mets a serious playoff contender in the near future.

In this trade the Mets got the 11th best prospect in the game (according to MLB.com) in catcher Travis d’Arnaud, a 20-year old right-handed pitcher in Noah Syndergaard, a veteran catcher in John Buck and outfielder Wuilmer Becerra. d’Arnaud and Snydergaard have tremendous potential. Add to that the core of young arms the Mets have been grooming over the past two seasons (Harvey, Wheeler, Familia) and David Wright and you can see the formation of what looks like a contender.

Although this a good trade for the Mets, it must be noted that they are letting a Cy Young Award winner, who was willing to stay in New York for less than market value, get away. Dickey is old but since his reinvention as a knuckleballer, it is tough to determine how long he can be effective. He certainly has more value than any other 38-year old pitcher. This trade will likely be the defining moment for the Sandy Alderson regime and like any trade, it can go either way. Time will tell who got the better deal.

I’m going to miss watching Dickey pitch but I can’t complain right now. What the front office did is exactly what they should have done with Reyes. As soon as it was becoming clear that the team would not be able to re-sign Reyes, they should have traded him and gotten something in return. Instead they led the fans on even though they couldn’t even afford to make Reyes an offer. He walked and the Mets got nothing in return so at least they learned from those mistakes with Dickey.

No matter what Alderson decided was best for the team, he needed to act this season. If Dickey pitched out the final year of his contract without an extension, he would definitely enter free agency and the leave New York. When they decided an extension wasn’t in the team’s best interest (either due to $$ or risk of repeat performance), they made the right move and cashed in on his value.

Next season may not be the return to the postseason for the Mets. But given the amount of young talent we have, I feel like we’re not that far from being a relevant team again.

Knicks win thriller in Brooklyn

jason-kidd-knicks-nets

Who knew that all it would take was a move to Brooklyn to ignite of the best rivalries in the league? Last nights Knicks Nets game at the Barclays Center felt like a Game 7. The first meeting between the in-city rivals went to OT and last nights game was even better. Tied with just 30 seconds left, Jason Kidd was fouled while hitting the go-ahead three and had the opportunity for a 4-point play. Every Knicks fan was immediately taken back to 1999 and Larry Johnson.

I was at that game and I was only 10 years old but I’ll never forget that play. That shot of the Garden exploding is absolutely awesome. No other way to describe it. Johnson made his free-throw to complete the 4-point play, putting the Knicks up by one and securing the win.

Last night, Kidd missed his free throw leaving the door open for the Nets. They were able to chuck up a couple of threes but couldn’t get one to go and the Knicks, who trailed by 14 after the first quarter, won the game. Melo had 45 points and is putting together possibly the best year of his career. What a game and what a renewed rivalry. Can’t wait for the Nets to come to the Garden and I really can’t wait for a potential playoff series between the two. It’s going to be electric.