How Lin-sanity Helped Me Understand Tebow-Mania

There has been no love lost between the purveyors of this site and one Timothy Richard Tebow. Living in Denver, I’ve been harsh on the man himself, his handlers for overexposing him, and mindless hacks like Woody Paige and, frankly, the rest of the Denver media for making one player — who isn’t even good yet — bigger than the entire team.

I know he’s a big story, but before we claim he’s the second-coming, can we see him play a good brand of quarterback for our team?

I get it: The story of Tim Tebow the person is bigger than Tim Tebow the football player. I understand and accept this as a fact.

However, as a fan of the Denver Broncos Football Club, as a former season-ticket holder, as a person has spent autumn Sundays watching this team for a quarter of a century, I’m extremely wary of over-hyped stories about my team. Which is why I give such a hard time to the media — local and national — for hyping Tim Tebow’s Tale.

It was all put into perspective for me this week, as the national media completely dropped Tebow as a story when their new darling, Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, burst on to the scene. This Economics major from Harvard had come from NBA purgatory, having been cut by two teams after being undrafted. The stories nearly wrote themselves, and for the last week, it seemed there was no escaping his story.

Only this time, I was riveted. He’s a true underdog, a real “holy shit, where’d he come from” story. And I couldn’t wait to know more.

Then, disaster struck. ESPN squealed, “are Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow the same?” But the fact is, these two athletes could not be more different. One went to Harvard. One went to Florida. One has been a star on the national stage since he was a Freshman. The other was undrafted, uncelebrated, and was even cut from two teams before landing in a perfect situation in New York.

One was a first round draft pick. The other was camp fodder.

“But they’re both Christians!” Imagine my relief.

Once again, it has nothing to do with their ability in their chosen sports.

Jeremy Lin, after being cut in the summer by two teams, went to work on his game. He got better. He improved as a shooter, as a dribbler, and as a passer. It was a dedicated, every-day, up-at-dawn siege on his body and mind, pushing himself to be better than he was, to be the best that he can be. Getting cut — having his NBA dreams snatched away without getting a real chance — wasn’t going to be good enough. Not for Lin. He came out of the gates fast this year and immediately contributed, and while he has intangibles and they help inform his game, the comparison is once again way off. Lin has strong fundamentals and has leadership intangibles.

Tebow’s game is intangibles. And that’s all Tebow’s game is.

Sure, Tim Tebow is the hardest working guy in sports, and he’s not going to stop until he gets to be the best at what he does, and blah blah blah. But it’s all empty talk until he DOES it. Last off season, if you’ll remember, he was supposed to be out-working everyone else, and getting better, and working on his throwing. He came into camp having gone backwards in that department.

I don’t agree with how the Denver media have handled Tebow, and I don’t agree with the team taking second billing to an unproven player on the roster. I would say the same thing if the quarterback in question was named Shakmir Muhammed and he was from Turkey. I don’t care about his religion, and I don’t care about his faith.

But I’m starting to get the hype. It’s fun to see a guy succeed who wasn’t supposed to succeed. It’s the oldest recipe for a hit sports movie: guy (or team) who nobody believes in, is dealt some manner of a bad hand, told he cannot succeed, but does, and is celebrated for not listening to the “haters,” for “proving everyone wrong.” And the crowd stands up, and cheers, and exits the theater in an orderly fashion.

Because the story is over.

I don’t think Lin is the second coming of Tebow, who was the second coming of Jesus. I don’t think that once basketball season ends, we’ll still be hearing about Lin the way we are with Tebow.

And that’s the biggest difference between the two. Forget college pedigree, superduperstardom, and all the rest. The Tebow movie is over, at least until a possible sequel later this year. So why are we still talking about him, Woody Paige?

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