I learned two important lessons in college.
#1. Never go to Meatloaf Fridays in the cafeteria. They are worse than Gunther Toody's Tuesday Tots special.
#2. Never write when you are either a) Upset or b) Drunk or C) after Meatloaf Fridays. Or any combination thereof.
To this day I still follow rule #1 to the letter.
Rule #2 is a bit more difficult. I have done my damndest to separate myself from the media firestorm that has surrounded Tim Tebow over the past three weeks. My normal morning routine on the way to work is to turn on the radio and listen to Mike and Mike or the local radio guys to get my daily fix of NFL news. Recently that drive has become near unbearable due to the constant sidetracking of perfectly reasonable NFL debate to "How much closer is Tebow to failing out of the NFL today?" I find myself constantly changing the station back and forth until I stumble onto Ke$ha and get sidetracked.
Do you ever go back and look over the old posts that were written right around the time Tebow got drafted? It's fascinating. They were football posts. They talked about Tebow's game and about his ability to succeed or not succeed in the NFL based on his game.
Or how about the old posts right around the time Tebow started for the Broncos those final three games? Tebow had his detractors, but again, they were football posts. We talked about his completion percentage, his total points scored, his comebacks, and his interceptions. Real football conversations. Excitement was palpable.There was forward movement going into the offseason.
Over the course of last year something began to change, almost inexplicably. I know you saw it just like I did. Tebow, our backup and special downs player, became headlines news all over the country. In Denver, any news about the Broncos began with "Tebow" in the headline, even if it was a piece about our defense... and by defense I mean Department of Defense.
I'm pretty sure one headline read, "Tim Tebow complains about size of airline lavatories while the Douglas County school board considers massive budget cuts."
What we missed was that Tebow Mania was changing forms. It had spread from fans into the media and once the media became Tebow Manic.... all bets were off.
So began the MSM journalistic race to the bottom.
As the phenomenon that was Tebow started to build steam sports writers began to realize that a rookie Denver Bronco, from a 4-12 team, with a 1-2 career record, was beginning to put no-name writers on the map. Has this ever happened to our team before?
But what began as mildly annoying plugs to get clicks has changed. Mainstream media has caught on and they've targeted Tebow and they are out for blood. "Reporters" are discovering if they can just say something completely outrageous about Tebow it will end up on the front page of some news site and boom, they have their half hour of power.
Do the facts need to be correct? Absolutely not. In an era of instant news, truth is so relative by the time you've reached your 150 characters the first 130 are out of date. Occupational hazard I guess.
As early as a month ago the reports were still somewhat controlled. They had a healthy respect for the player that is Tim Tebow and they avoided crossing that line into the person that is Tim Tebow. Everyone knew that aspect of Tim was out there, the question became who would be the first person to go after it. Who was going to be that guy?
Like clockwork, that line was crossed. The first reporter to get traction doing it has led to an onslaught of copycat second-rate reporters attempting to get in on the feeding frenzy. Where stories were once just annoying and a little ridiculous, they have now become venemous, hateful, and destructive to a young player in the NFL. We aren't talking football anymore. No we're talking faith, character, personality, intelligence, and everything else a man is made up of.
The things being said about Tebow right now on the radio and in print would be racist if he were black, bigoted if he were Muslim, anti-semitic if he were Jewish, and sexist if he were a woman not named Sarah Palin. In this case, they are acceptable, encouraged and lauded. Write one of these articles and you can bet your fancy new click record you'll be on the phone with some radio station across the nation wanting your new fashionably opportunistic opinion.
I've done my best over the past couple of weeks to avoid reading these stories. They really just bring me down and the conjecture is so obvious I always felt they were worthless. In preparation for this piece I realized that I had to bite the bullet and read. That pushed me over the edge.
I'm pretty pissed. I'm breaking my rule #2. I don't understand how this one person who is trying to incredibly hard to just do what is asked of him, to play the sport that he loves, and live a life that he believes is right, must also be the butt of so many venomous jokes. Well, that's actually not entirely true. I understand it, I just don't know how so many people that claim to be on his side can just sit by and let him take it alone. It's like the kid on the playground who is constantly hounded by bullies but nobody ever decides to step in and help, they just watch from the sidelines. In this case, the kid could beat the living tar out of the bully but chooses instead to keep his head down, smile, and say,
"I'm having fun." B.S. He's getting beat down and watching as his team turns a blind eye.
Reporters flock to him. Denver is a story this offseason for one reason. Tim Tebow. Without him we are an afterthought. We are the Jaguars, or the Bills, or the Seahawks. Every word, every tweet, every shred of talk regarding Tebow from himself or one of his coaches or teammates is broken down into everything except for its Latin roots. Then those words are put back together, re-arranged for effect, edited to include the now necessary Christian jab, throw in a few lines of their own to make fun of the cult fans that "pray at the temple of Tebow", speak to his catastrophic decline in skills, hit publish, crack a beer with their editor, and watch the clicks come in. Nice revenue stream. Thank you Mr. Tebow. By the way we love you and hope you prove us wrong.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a Broncos fan that is watching one of my own getting treated by the MSM in a way that no other Broncos player (at least in my lifetime) has ever been treated. How can we not as an entire group of fans feel extremely indignant as to what is happening? How is it our local newspapers and bloggers can't fight back on behalf of their own? Is it down to us?
Sure, we argue about Tebow and Orton amongst ourselves. That's what fans of a common team do. We're like family in that sense. What we say to each other as fans of our own team is one thing. This is something else. People outside of our organization are coming after one of our own and it's not small potshots from their kid's nerf gun. It's a full on blitzkrieg. This has become a battle of words. There are so few facts, so little actual gampley, that rhetoric and hyperbole have become king.
Here at MHR we've been fighting this battle on all fronts. Emotional, logical, statistical, we've got it covered on all sides. But when we are divided like this we are a small voice and we are being drowned out by no-name reporters who have the balls to sit in their dank cubicles at their second-rate news site and bite the hand that feeds by putting their piece of trash reporting on the front page of their parent website between an article about 10 ways your marriage sucks and a celebrity divorce. We've been bickering amongst each other, now we've got an outsider hitting below the belt.
To make matters worse the Denver Broncos, the very organization that is supposed to have this guy's back has fallen silent. Instead of standing up for one of their guys in the face of intense criticism they seem to have embraced the game of subterfuge, using an unnamed source to release some of the most painful criticism of all. He's not even better than an UDFA who's never seen a single snap in real season play. Slowly but surely it seems as if the one young player left over from the McDaniel's regime who was truly excited to be a part of this team is slowly being pushed aside. As fans who want so badly to trust our new FO, how are we supposed to respond? A FO that has promised us transparency gives us...
Silence... and unnamed sources.
Hey Unnamed source... 'ppreciate that.
Are we just so fed up with it we've resigned ourselves to the fact that it's time to just give up on the Tebow experiment altogether? Maybe that Beiber loving-Friday meatloaf eating-frat-boy-juco journalist was right all along. It's too hard. Time to quit. Maybe Tebow will be great someday but let's just get him out of this poisonous environment and on another team that will give him a real shot.
No. No way. This has the makings of a tough year. We just went through one of those... so that kind of sucks. But write my name down as one Bronco fan that won't ever give up on Tebow as a successful Bronco until the Broncos give up on Tim Tebow. This is only the beginning for him. These stories will continue to come out all season. Between us, here, within the scope of this blog, I plan on continuing to debate away. But as long as the national media continues to come after one of our own, attempts to question his character, and continues to write snarky comments about Tebow Manic fans while ramming half-rate Tebow news down our throats daily... I plan on pushing back. And that goes for any Denver Bronco in this situation.
I'm just one fan and I'm tired. But I'm not about to give up yet. Not while Tim's still a Bronco. I can do rhetoric and hyperbole too.
I also have a ridiculously awesome nerf gun.