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Vanity, Thy Name is Tebow

You wouldn’t think it from his demeanor: calm, unassuming, upbeat, always the perfect gentleman and always quick to spread credit for team success.

By media standards he’s a pleasant encounter.

To most gridiron gurus he’s a coach’s dream, provided the team’s starting QB is on terra firma and the club’s in need of a tight-end with a good pair of hands.

This is the Tim Tebow we all know. The home-schooled, prep football vagabond whose on-field exploits at the University of Florida made him a Southern fold hero.

That’s the good book on Tim.

But there’s another book on Mr. Sunshine. Not an exposé mind you, the kind Mr. Woods keeps suffering through as others cash-in on their association with the former golf great.

Rather, it’s a figurative book on his darker side and those vexing character traits you won’t normally perceive in someone as Tim but which we all possess to one degree or another: personas like vanity, banality, credulity, selfishness, insecurity and insincerity.

Recent reports lead me to believe this son of a preacher man craves attention on par with the likes of Mark Cuban, Terrell Owens, Danica Patrick and “Neon” Deion Sanders. One difference: those four knew where to land their egos. Tim, well, he picked a real doozy of a destination touching down in Jetsland, The Young & the Restless of the NFL.

Opting for the bright lights of Broadway and passing on an invite from hometown Jacksonville (Jaguars) was clear indication of Tim’s alter ego. Jags’ owner Shahid Khan and fans must still be perplexed, dumbfounded by the rebuff.

With the Broncos contented (Peyton) and the Jags ready to deal (“Khan“ / SI-FN / 3-27), I see no good reason why Denver brass would deny the man who brought Tebowmania to Mile High a chance to “weigh-in” on like-trade options (ESPN ticker / 3-21). As such, I give no weight whatsoever to Tebow’s implication that he had no involvement in the decision (“Tebow” / Strauss / Fox / 3-23), thus making him appear like so many other self-promoters.

Not that there aren’t plenty of reasons to reside in the Big Apple. New York City is a grand metropolis in many respects. Whether Tim has the inclination to partake in its myriad of enlightening and intoxicating diversions remains to be seen. Suffice to say, there’s no better place to sell yourself and your line than the media mecca of the world.

And there in lay Tim’s two-pronged mission in New York: selling the faith from the second biggest pulpit in America and selling thyself for the biggest payday possible.

It’s true that Tebow would get full exposure if he commuted to work from Nome, Alaska. ESPN interns dig the dude more than Tiger and LeBron combined. But there’s something about living, working in NYC that energizes the coverage. He’s their guy, you might say.

“Hoy-day! What a sweep of vanity comes this way (Shakes-speare / Edward de Vere)!”

I don’t begrudge anyone the freedom to pitch himself or his religion. Both endeavors are as American as apple pie and late Friday rallies on Wall Street.  Old-time ball-player turned evangelist Billy Sunday comes to mind (Cubs / 1880s).

But if I’m a follower of New York Jets’ football, I’m not a happy camper.

Tebow isn’t in NYC to play football. Sport is just a vehicle for his agenda: “My goal is to create a brighter day for as many people as I possibly can by being on this earth” (ABC / 4-13).” If he were focused on the game he wouldn’t be getting detail-work in Hollywood (curing / 4-6 / ESPN) and pass up a chance to help put Jacksonville on the NFL map.

As for Jets’ agenda: “It’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” (Churchill).

Ryan’s lost cachet with players, new OC Sparano brings a failed gimmick (wildcat) and owner Woody Johnson appears detached: “I’m very confident Mark can develop into a winning quarterback” (“Johnson” / N. Gay / Fox / 3-25). Where’s he been the past three years? Sanchez is 4-2 in the PS. That’s more playoff wins than Romo, Ryan & Rivers combined.

I’ll say this for Jetsland, the circus atmosphere looks downright harmonious compared to the cry-babies in Beantown (Red Sox Nation v Bobby). Oh my god! Just roll with it, Youk. “Whatever happened to Gary Cooper, that’s what I’d like to know (T. Soprano)!?”

And even if Timbo is a divo in disguise, he still might give the Jets a spark they need, wherever he’s positioned. Key is whether Rex & staff can get the roster to embrace, or at least shake hands with, Tim’s biggest asset: his sometimes infectious exuberance.

In spring, football musings are all high speculation. As that NYC philosopher Herm Edwards would say, “That’s why…you play…the game.”

Ahead of the Curve

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A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.

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In response to “Vanity, Thy Name is Tebow”

  1. Corey Rioux Apr 16 20128:48 pm


    Once again another great read. Keep it coming, Steve.


    P.S.- Completely agreed, Tebow isn’t there to play football, he’s there for other reasons, ones that are very noticeable.

    1. Steven Keys Apr 17 20122:31 pm


      Corey: Yes, Tim’s a best-seller and a pretty easy read.

  2. captain s. Apr 16 201211:07 pm


    Tebow didn’t seek out the Jets, the team sought him. He had good reasons to choose that team over the Jags. Only its owner wanted to sign him, and Tebow would still had to compete for the starting QB position. Meanwhile, on the Jets side, Sparano and Ryan already had something laid out for Tebow, one that could best utilize his strengths. Tebow was not lying when he said, he chose the Jets because the coaches knew him better and he knew them, or at least Sparano who had worked with Tebow in the past. It was a no-brainer, accepting the Jets offer. Why would he and anyone else choose a team whose coach and offensive was not interested in what he had to offer?

    1. Steven Keys Apr 17 20122:32 pm


      Captain S.: You raise some good points, CS. And Blaine Gabbert looks to be a fine prospect in Jacksonville (some injuries late, I think). I’ll bet he breathed a sigh-of-relief when Tim opted for NYC. You gotta’ feel a bit for Mark Sanchez, though. It’ll be interesting. It could move Mark outta’ NYC or rally the troops around the starter if they sense he’s gotten short shrift.

  3. boswell Apr 17 201211:15 am


    THANKS for giving Edward De Vere credit for the quotes he made while using the pen-name “Shake-speare”… Very classy of you, Sir~~~

    1. J Shapiro Apr 17 20121:04 pm


      Agree sir!

      Classy attribution!

    2. Steven Keys Apr 17 20122:39 pm


      Boswell & J. Shapiro: I was enlightened to the Stratford-on-Avon “spoof” (Enich Powell) watching a “Frontline” (PBS) episode in 1996. The Ed de Vere / Shake-speare theory? In sporting terms, it’s a slam-dunk!

  4. captain s. Apr 18 201212:44 am


    Deep inside, I get the feeling that many of the most vocal of Tebow’s detractors are scared that he may very well succeed as a NFL QB….Other QB may post better individual stats overall, but their respective teams flounder. I’ve seen other statistical measures of QB performance that place Tebow at a much higher level, and that seemingly explains his success. All that talk about how the defense consistently carried the day does little to explain why Orton didn’t seem to benefit much. Oh, we’ll hear the same arguments over and over…that this guy or that guy came back from injury, and bolstered the defense, etc…Yeah, but ever wonder how Tebow could have performed in 2011 if Brandon Lloyd had not been traded the year before? Now, he’s with the Patriots….

    I also find it laughable, to even bring up this notion of Tebow’s other agenda, whose success of course, hinges in large measure, to how well he performs on the field, in leading the Jets to victories….In attaching all sorts of sinister connotations to Tebow’s personality and character, reveals more about the author of the article, rather than the subject in question.
    Incidentally Steve, how well do you know about Tim Tebow, his background, his family, his upbringing? How many people close to him did you interview? None? lol Judge him all you want, but that still does not translate into a thoughtful, well-written piece.

    1. Steven Keys Apr 18 20122:50 pm


      You spend an awful lot o’ time on a piece you find neither “thoughtful” nor “well-written,” CS.

      And I’d dig a little “deep(er).” What you may be fearing yourself, CS, is discovery that your man’s as human as the rest of us poor souls. What you oddly term “sinister connotations” (“vanity, banality, credulity,” etc.), I call “personas,” which, if recognized & controlled, necessarily help to comprise a normal, well-rounded personality. Nothing to fret over.

      If writers were required to “interview” every subject-person for valid opinion there’d be as little to read in America as I’d guess in N. Korea & Iran. Though TT’s very popular I don’t find him interesting enough to interview, found the necessary background on the Web (Wikipedia, etc) and have no desire to bask in his glow (Wade). Besides, I’d feel compelled to push for a clear answer on the Jacksonville / New York decision.

  5. captain s. Apr 18 201212:50 am


    Correction: Brandon Lloyd was traded in 2011, before Tebow began his first game as the starting QB after replacing Orton…..

    1. Christopher Rowe Apr 21 201212:14 pm


      DeVere, Churchhill and Tebow… one of these things methinks is unlike the others … Tebow is a poster boy for the self-centered, sheltered, home-schooled, Facebooking, Twittering, public diary-writing, reality-TV devouring, anything-to-get-to-the-spotlight society in which we live. Despite seeking the pulpit rather than a Sarah Palin reality show, Tim Tebow masques his charade in religion – and phoney-sounding religious conviction at that. His faith may appear admirable but it is a sham, or rather a show not unlike the convictions of a five-year-old certain that he wants one toy for Christmas and will never ask for another if only he can have the one… Have fun in NYC Tebow. The city and the media will eat you for breakfast and you shall be reposited upon the streets as so much fodder for the masses (VinnyBagadonutz)

  6. Steven Keys Apr 22 201212:32 pm


    Tebowmania, Rex Ryan, New York City: Holy Toledo! It’s gonna’ be something to watch, Chris. And nobody’s talking about the champion Giants. Fickle, thy name is mainstream-media.

    While I’m open to the duel-QB system in the right hands (Waterfield / Van Brocklin / 50s Rams), I have no faith in the wildcat offense. I still think TT’s an asset as a TE, his original HS spot. He loves the contact. If Tebow can help the Jets get off onto the right foot in 2012, watch out America! Tebowmania, Phase II.

    1. Christopher Rowe Apr 22 201212:58 pm


      Waterfield/VanBrocklin reference gets you bonus points, but no dual-QB plan has worked in the modern NFL (Super Bowl Era) for a damn good reason. It doesn’t work. Wildcat doesn’t work either. Tebow could be useful on the two-point conversion team which is an underused, undervalued trick play possibility!

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