By Jason Keidel
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The Tim Tebow — well, what do you call it? — has become so distorted that the contrasting commentary runs like watercolors all over his face. Tebow has somehow become the dual emblem of sports and idolatry, the good and the bad.
There seem to be two distinct sides, like the presidential election. Either you thought George W. Bush was a warmonger or Barack Obama was a socialist. Likewise with Tebow, who is viewed as either a rampaging, crusading hero or a Jesus freak who needs to shut up and play football.
And, unlike too many things in America, the lines are not drawn by or along color lines. I’ve heard a myriad of white people say that they’re sick of Tebow and black people say that he deserves a starting job. (There are several reasons for this, but the tangent isn’t worth losing the larger point.)
If people dropped their agendas for just a moment they would realize that nothing really happened on Tuesday other than a minor football transaction, a slightly cosmetic endeavor with no downside. The conspiracy theorists say that this was some elaborate ploy to antagonize the Jets, which makes no sense. Why would an eternally successful team with an iconic quarterback worry about a Jets team with no wings, radar or seats?
Just as we were when the Jets chartered a jet to bring a backup to Broadway, where he held a press conference to share his brand of bleeding gratitude, the world is aflutter and a-twitter over the NFL’s antihero, Bill Belichick, signing Tebow to a two-year deal sans a dime of guaranteed dough.
Maybe you’re fascinated by the contrast in characters between Belichick and Tebow, the yin and yang of football and life, or maybe you just love the Patriots. Maybe you think that Tebow is dreamy or a dummy or … who cares anymore? Clearly, his significance stretches far beyond the football field, which make his movements take on fun-house exaggeration.
Rare is it that yours truly is the voice of moderation, but it’s just time to get a grip. We need to adjust the national lens and just see Tebow for what he is: a swell chap who deserves at least a shot at some playing time. He indeed won a playoff game in Denver, something that Peyton Manning failed to do.
The peripherals, his religion, regal looks and charm are what get the paparazzi drooling. But what’s your excuse? You wouldn’t be reading this column if you weren’t at heart a sports fan first, and a Tebow devotee second.
Try to keep his merits to sports, if you can, rather than make Tuesday’s signing a watershed moment or view his successes or failures as a census on class, race or religion in America. Beyond or below all the hyperbole, he’s just a man, and just a football player.
At least to most of us.
He’s gone. The Jets botched his stay like they have so many since Joe Namath. Let the Patriots do with the pious player whatever they like, and get back to sports for sports. As my favorite philosopher astutely stated, “Flavor Flav got problems of his own.”
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