Tim Tebow and the concept of losing face

You have to be living under a rock as an American if you have never heard of Tim Tebow and not be aware of the mounting criticism and ridicule leveled at him as the current starting QB of the Denver Broncos by many different factions.

Having witnessed this growing phenomenon, you may wonder why this is occurring and my answer to that is, they are afraid of LOSING FACE. For those not familiar with the concept, losing face dominates the Chinese culture in that what you say or do can bring embarrassment or lasting shame to an individual or to one's family if you are proven wrong or commit wrongheaded actions and in so doing destroy their personal credibility or cachet or permanently diminish the influence or power of that individual or the family.

In the West, the concept of LOSING FACE is not so pronounced and is mainly confined to the individual but nevertheless it is present among several different factions. So with that in mind here are the various factions and the reasons for their continuing and mounting criticism and ridicule of Tim Tebow:

a) Broncos management

It is clear from the outset that John Elway and John Fox did not want Tebow to succeed as a starting QB for the NFL. Quite honestly I believe that management was completely embarrassed that Tebow was chosen by the Broncos in 2010 as a first round draft choice and would rather not have played him. Having said that management was in a really tough spot. It is caught between ownership and the fan base, between a rock and hard place.

The owner is paying all this money to Tebow and wants to get its money's worth while the majority of the fan base is pro-Tebow and believes he should have started over Orton.

This is where occasionally the concept of SAVING FACE takes over and LOSING FACE becomes less a factor in changing course. Imho, after Orton took the Broncos to a 1-4 record and the season looked very bleak only one-third way into the season, Broncos' management realized that they had to change their strategy towards Tebow. They would still express reservations about Tebow's ability to be a starting QB in the NFL to SAVE FACE if Tebow bombed out but allow Tebow to show what he could do in order to get both ownership and the fan base off its back. Once the Tebow experiment failed they would then save more face by telling both management and the fans that it was simply not working out. At that time they had no desire whatsoever to tailor the offense to take advantage of Tebow's skills.

Now to the present day. The Broncos are now 4-5 and a game out of leading the division. With a win on Thursday, the Broncos can tie the Raiders, pending Oakland's game on Sunday against the Vikings in Minnesota.

The interview by Coach John Fox given to the NFL Network is very interesting. Because of Tebow's recent success, Fox appears to no longer to be worried about LOSING FACE by playing Tebow and running the zone option but is now more concerned about losing face among his peers, the coaching fraternity, for completely transforming his offense into 'back to the future". In other words Fox imho is trying to cushion the blow to the other coaches that they do not have to consider it a major loss of face if they lose to Tebow and the Broncos going forward.

As for Elway's recent praise of Tebow, I agree with a poster than ownership has talked to him and told him this was not the time and the place to dump on Tebow. In addition Elway may have decided that he may not be losing face after all by playing Tebow. Remember who Elway ultimately answers to.

2) Sports/beat writers

These are folks who write regular sports' columns on the NFL, football strategy, and players and over the years have gained a reputation or cachet for their musings. And for those scribes who remain steadfast that Tebow cannot succeed as a starting QB without being a "traditional" dropback QB who does not run, these folks continue to attack Tebow despite Tebow's 4-3 win-loss record in his career and Tebow's other favorable QB stats. To these folks the fact that Tebow is winning is beside the point. For them it is more important not to lose face, become embarrassed and to be forced eventually to eat crow and admit they were wrong about Tim Tebow. Thus they dig in and refuse to acknowledge reality despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

3) ESPN and other national networks, media pundits and football analysts

Sure these folks also do not want to lose face by being proven wrong about Tebow but I believe there is a more overarching reason that there has been and still is a concerted effort by the national media to deny Tim Tebow "legitimacy" as an adequate starting QB in the NFL. And that is to maintain the status quo in terms of what a NFL QB should look like and to act on behalf of very powerful and prominent forces in the NFL who are determined to maintain the status quo. Tim Tebow is unconventional and in terms of the NFL power structure there is no greater sin. 

4) The management of the other 31 teams

If Tebow succeeds as an unconventional QB and these other teams fail with traditional QB's then management will be assailed by local sports writers and the fans for not considering drafting a QB like Tebow and/or be criticized for running a pro-style offense that is not working. And it is quite possible scouts, coaches, general managers and even owners could lose face in the process. Thus the decision has been made to take down Tim Tebow if they can with (3) being their instrument in doing so.

Unfortunately in football, football games are won and lost on the field of play. They cannot prevent Tebow from winning games in what they consider in a very unorthodox fashion. And that fact is making a lot of powerful people very, very nervous indeed.

5) Opposing coaches, players who play the Broncos and Tim Tebow

Have you noticed that Hue Jackson of the Raiders and Todd Haley of the Chiefs have gone to great lengths to make the point they "prepared" for the zone/read option all week? The main reason: to save face or to not to lose too much face. The facts are the Broncos rushing attack dominated both teams and really embarrassed the defenses and therefore the coaches of the Raiders and the Chiefs as well. Both the Raiders and the Chiefs looked ill-prepared for what the Broncos threw at them.

Has the thought crossed your mind over the last couple of weeks why no beat writer or reporter has asked these coaches why the Broncos had succeeded despite their preparation or to question the coaches to whether their preparation was adequate? Reason why: because they would then become susceptible to even losing more face and imho the writers and reporters have been told by their bosses not to add fuel to the fire and make them look worse than they are already viewed.

And think about it: If the coaches admitted they had not prepared adequately for the zone option, then their credibility as competent coaches would have been called into question causing them to become more embarrassed and lose even more face.

Imho, there are many coaches in the NFL who loathe Tebow for this one reason. He exposes their flaws as coaches and they frankly don't like it one bit. And as members of the coaching fraternity, they hate Tebow for causing them to lose face among their brotherhood of coaches.

As for opposing football defensive players, they know if the Broncos run over their defense as they did to the Raiders and the Chiefs they will become subject to criticism and ridicule as well, become extremely embarrassed and finally lose face in the fact they could not stop Tebow and the Broncos and end up losing the game.

Football players have pride. They definitely don't want to be taken to the woodshed by Tebow and the Broncos. They would be the butt of jokes for years to come. The fear is that they would never be able to live it down and that a loss to Tebow could haunt them for the rest of their lives. Losing face on a permanent basis is not something these players ever want to entertain. Thus players like Revis today make comments that the success of zone option is only temporary, that NFL teams will eventually stop it. But bottom line will the Jets and Darrelle Revis be able to stop it on Thursday?

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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