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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  Why so much fuss over a third string TE? Because that’s who we are
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Wednesday, June 2,2021

Why so much fuss over a third string TE? Because that’s who we are

By Mark Tudino  
One of the benefits of writing this column the way we do is that it allows me the opportunity to be somewhat current in my choice of topics – as current as a monthly publication can be. So I had every intention of devoting this June column to a celebration of our dads, and how they influence our sporting choices, both big and small.

Then came April 29. The day the sporting world stopped. Was it because the NFL draft was to take place and the newest golden child, Clemson’s QB Trevor Lawrence, was set to be the face of Jacksonville Jaguar football for the next decade?

NO! It was because a retired, 33-year-old former QB was granted a tryout to play tight end for the same team. Mind you, he had not even made the team, but had just worked out, yet you’d think the earth had stopped spinning on its axis. Why? Because this 33-year-old happened to be named Tim Tebow. Suddenly every sports talk show, online column and TV broadcast was engulfed with pressing questions:

Why is this happening? Is this fair? What about the others denied a chance to play? Will Chinese rocket debris fall on us? (Ok, I made up the last one) But everywhere sports fans, and even nonsports fans looked, opinions spewed. And for the most part the consensus opinion was the same: he shouldn’t be allowed to do it. It made a mockery of the league; Jags Head Coach Urban Meyer was in over his head; Tebow is getting preferential treatment. In other words IT WAS BAD!

Now, for the life of me I couldn’t understand the vitriol. Why were so many people worked up about a tryout for – at best – a thirdstring tight end? Why did they care? Why so much hatred? Then it hit me: the reaction to Tebow’s decision has more to do with us – and our current state of affairs – than with him. Full disclosure: I am a proud alumnus of the University of Florida, love the Gators and am a Tebow fan. Yet I greeted the news with a shrug and really didn’t give it much thought. But Tim’s decision to make a comeback generated a backlash, almost a resentment, that he dare do this. Why? Because like few other modern athletes, Tebow stirs the embers of a lot of separate fires presently burning in this country. Religious.

Political. Moral. Talk show hosts know he’s a topic that will draw listener (or viewers); columnists know he will draw eyes and clicks, even if their objections are generally laughable.

There’s not enough time to take apart every argument, so I’ll focus on the most obvious: he knows the coach. Guess what? Favoritism in the league is nothing new. Don’t believe me? Check out the number of fired head coaches – college and pro – who now have jobs in the league. Today’s fired coach is tomorrow’s offensive coordinator.

What – all of sudden they got smarter after getting canned? Of course not. Those guys have friends in the league who look out for them. Nothing wrong with that, so why is it wrong for Tebow? Answer: it’s not. It’s just a lot of bored, hateful people who have nothing better to do with their time than stir up cheap, emotional responses among the masses.

Do I think he deserves a shot? Sure, why not? In a league where you either produce or you’re gone, we’ll know soon enough if he’s going to stick. Just remember next time some blowhard with a microphone (or a keyboard) spouts garbage about Tebow, he or she may be saying more about themselves than about Tim.

 

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