January 18th, 2012
I’m two weeks late to everything and the next full game of tackle football I watch this season will be my first. But I’m still digesting the awesomeness of Denver’s Tebow 3:16 game in the first round of the playoffs, which will probably be part of sports lore in that town for a really long time.
The Tebow hype phenomenon is a little strange and I understand why people push back against it. But that said, the Tebow itself is kind of interesting. He’s a gimmick quarterback, and gimmick quarterbacks tend to do poorly in the NFL over time. That said, if you don’t root for gimmick quarterbacks (like Jake the Snake, Jeff George, or the great Randall Cunningham), then you don’t have a heart. Tebow isn’t Tom Brady. He isn’t Alex Smith, even. But it would be neat if someone devised a way for non-traditional quarterbacks to succeed over the long-term.
But the most exciting thing about Tebow is that he is positioned for the greatest heel turn in the history of professional sports. Tebow going heel would be like Christian Laetner’s stomping married to Tiger’s downfall, then cubed and times a million. Just close your eyes and picture it:
It’s 2013 and the Detroit Lions have made it to the Super Bowl. The Motor City is awash in good feeling and Michigan’s favorite son, President Mitt Romney, is presiding over the game, decked out in Lions gear. There’s talk about how a Super Bowl win could signal a comeback for Detroit the way the Saint’s championship did for New Orleans. The only thing standing in their way: The Denver Broncos.
It’s a hard-fought game that begins to get a little chippy when, during a kick-return, a Lions player is pushed out of bounds and clotheslined by a waiting Tebow. Mysteriously, the referees miss it. Then, with the game winding down, and Detroit up 6, Tebow runs the option and scores after Ndamukong Su falls to the ground with a ruptured Achilles’. Tebow sprints out of the endzone to where Su is writhing on the ground in pain, the crowd and the announcers cooing about his great sportsmanship when suddenly, someone on the sideline chucks two cans of Coors to Tebow!
Tebow stands over Su, shakes the cans, then mashes them together and pours Rocky Mountain refreshment all over the downed Detroit player! He looks into the camera as a nervous Leslie Visser approaches him and snarls, “Tebow 3:16–I just whupped your Nigerian ass.”
In the booth, the announcers go nuts.
Chris Collinsworth: “Son of a bitch, Bob!”
Bob Costas: “This is a disgusting act! Su isn’t even Nigerian–he was born in Portland!”
“Tebow going heel would be like Christian Laetner’s stomping married to Tiger’s downfall,”
I don’t know what that means, but I just wet my pants this was such an awesome post. Grantland needs to hire you yesterday and make this a weekly feature.
You guys are all too young to be familiar with the archetypal heel turn. C 1966: Mark Lewin, he of the devastating sleeper, was tag teamed with the beloved Bobo Brazil, and after being body slammed by (maybe) Blassie or the Destroyer, he suddenly went crazy and turned on Bobo, putting the sleeper on him. Poor Bobo. Only Lewin knew how to administer the antidote to the sleeper. If it wasn’t administered in 120 seconds, the wrestler would die. The crowd screamed for Lewin to wake Bobo, but he’d become a ranting madman and refused. Bobo lay there, motionless. Oh, the drama.
I like this because of some of “Tebow’s wins” last year seemed like scripted sportsertainment anyway. Though I did really enjoy the wild card game, which more resembled an especially haphazard Little Caesars or Meineke Bowl.
Heel turns aside, technically Plummer and George weren’t “gimmick” QBs, by which I assume you mean QBs who overachieve in college and during their initial professional years because of their running ability (i.e. Daunte Culpepper, Michael Vick, and . . . cough, Cam Newton) before they lose their legs in their late 20s. Plummer was more of a mobile scrambler, a la Montana or Elway, only with half the talent, and George possessed an ungodly cannon of an arm, but no head or heart for the game (see also Ryan Leaf). Tebow’s problem is that despite being a gifted athlete, he played in an offensive system at Florida, aided by a vast disparity in talent (see also Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerfel) that masked the fact he has horrible mechanics and couldn’t read complex pro defenses quickly enough before 4.5 40 LBs were on top of them. It is possible that he could develop the skills and evolve similar to the late-Steve McNair (he certainly has the character for this . . . Tebow, that is), but the learning curve is very steep.
More likely than the heel turn is the 40% chance Daniel Snyder will sign/trade for Tebow in 2013 after the Redskins go 4-12 next year and replace the Shanahans with Bill Bellichik or Nick Saban. (Sigh).
“And that’s the bottom line, ’cause Tee Bow said so!”
Although I have to wonder if mocking the villainous Suh would really be that much of a heel turn.