(Courtesy, Dan Calabrese)
The media's obsession with Tim Tebow is a head-shaker. Who is Tim Tebow? He is a) a Christian, and quite outspoken about it; b) a borderline NFL talent who just signed a deal with a pretty good team for what will probably be a gig as a third-string quarterback.
Neither A nor B is particularly unusual in modern society, nor is the combination of the two. Surely there have been other third-string quarterbacks who were Christians and didn't mind saying so. But for some reason, the combination as it lives and breathes in the form of Tim Tebow drives the media bananas, such that they can't stop talking about every move he makes, and what everyone around him thinks of it.
Why is the media obsessed with Tim Tebow?
The media recently cornered Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during an offseason team workout and demanded answers about whether "all the distractions" that come along with Tebow will be a distraction to him.
Will it bother you that we can't stop asking questions about your backup's backup?
No. But, but . . .
They tried to bait Brady on the question of how he would react if he had to come off the field in favor of Tebow. Brady is too experienced and too smart to go there, but the question was just weird. When was the last time any other starting quarterback was asked that question concerning a backup? Every team has two backup quarterbacks. It's par for the course. Just because they're on the roster doesn't mean they represent some threat to the starter. Brady will almost certainly never be benched for a performance issue, and if he gets hurt, Ryan Mallet will almost certainly enter the game - not Tebow.
But the fact that there is really no news story here did not stop Newsday from demanding answers from no less than Bob Kraft, the Patriots' owner, only to see other media outlets obsess over Kraft's use of the world "spirituality," which they breathlessly told us he "used three times" in an interview. But ironically, the "news story" quickly devolves into nothing more than the media reporting on its own refusal to stop talking about Tebow. Here's what Newsday wrote:
The man in charge of such decisions, coach Bill Belichick, offered no clues in another evasive news conference before the second minicamp practice. What did he think of Tebow's performance Tuesday?
"I don't think evaluating players on a couple plays is really a good practice,'' Belichick said. "We will wait until we have a little bit more information and make our evaluations as a staff . . . after we've had a chance to see things.''
Then the team practiced again, and there was little more for the casual observer to go on. Tebow completed six of nine passes in drills with and against fellow reserves. Most were short throws, and three likely would have ended in sacks in a game.
What did Kraft think of Tebow's mechanics after watching him Tuesday?
"He's a lot better than I am,'' the owner said. "I was just out there for a short period, but to me he looked pretty good. It's fun having him here.''
Kraft called the addition of Tebow an example of "depth management.'' But for now Tebow is third on the depth chart at quarterback with little apparent chance of moving up. When asked specifically what impresses him about Tebow on the field, Kraft said: "I think he's hard-working and very cooperative.''
As Belichick did Tuesday, Kraft eventually tried to steer the conversation away from Tebow, saying, "He's just one of 90 people right now. I wonder if we haven't talked enough about him.''
As with Belichick, it didn't work.
It didn't work because reporters are obsessed with a player who quite possibly will never even get on the field in the 2013 season. Is that Belichick's fault? Is it Kraft's? Is it Tebow's?
When did it become so bizarre for a man to openly express devotion to Christ, so much so that when he does he instantly becomes a "distraction" and a "controversy" worthy of endless media attention simply because he gets a job sitting on an NFL bench?
The news media has decided to marginalize Christians like circus freaks. They treat Tebow's pursuit of an NFL career almost like some sort of scandal, embracing the conventional wisdom that he is a terrible player and owes it to the world to retire, then demanding answers from any team that signs him, even if it's for the veteran's minimum for a spot at the bottom of the depth chart.
Even if it were true that Tebow is terrible, ask any NFL fan if their team has ever signed a bad player for a spot deep on the bench. How much national media attention did the move generate?
If the media think the "distractions" that come with Tebow will be a problem for the Patriots, then they should stop causing the distractions. The only thing Tebow is doing is playing football.