"Thank you so much for coming to see me lead my team to victory. So how did Tim look on the bench?"
In answer to Alfie’s question: I care that Tim Tebow is coming to town.
The frustration and anger is completely justified and not lost on me. I had the misfortune of sitting next to an older woman wearing a Tebow Broncos jersey at the final preseason game against the Falcons and I began to rage internally as soon as I saw her (There is nothing I find more puzzling than wearing the jersey of a team which isn't playing.) It reminded me of Steve Spurrier’s visit as coach of the Redskins years ago. A woman sat in front of me with a sign stating "Go Spurrier" on one side while the other had "Go Jaguars". Midway through the second quarter I’d had enough and showed her my uglier side.
But this is different. Tim is not a polarizing figure beyond those who resent either his faith or his media over saturation. This is a good kid with a good heart who has done great things both inside and outside of football. The fact that he is a local product only magnifies his popularity here in Jacksonville.
In my opinion, the football gods couldn’t have manufactured the draft to play out any better such that the 2010 schedule would facilitate the story and the drama. It may look uneasy but strap in kids because the ride will be fun!
To start I feel a need to make a distinction. I expect children to latch onto Tebow Mania because it is at that age where your idols take on great significance: so I will not group them into what I call the "New Bronco Fan" (or NBF) category. Being around such youthful passion only serves to remind us of our own inner child.
However, I refuse to let the idiocy of the adult NBF to tinkle in my Cheerios. Year two of Gene Smith’s house cleaning begins this weekend and my blind hope for success weighs more than the misguided masses who worship at the altar of the player and not the team. It is the adult who tries to justify the treason which makes us all nauseous.
That being said, if the only problem is the NBF, then you are too weak skinned. Take another look at that glass folks: it is half full. You should care Tebow is coming to town and here are three reasons why.
The media attention: The most unpopular franchise with the least media coverage, along with the least media respect, is on center stage. These journalists and bloggers have made a living off Tebow while he was in Gainesville and will continue to feed off his popularity until they’ve decided all the meat is off the bone. It will be discussed on the NFL Network, ESPN and every single sports website. You’ll see speculation related to how Denver will use Tim along with how he would have "saved" the Jacksonville franchise. The old saying will ring true: "There is no such thing as bad publicity."
Rallying the fan base: Coming off a season of fan apathy and lethargy, the legend that is Superman has done more to rally the actual fan base than all the great work from Team Teal. Reading Alfie’s article along with the comments shows there is a passion to negate the Tebow Effect. Think the stadium won’t be loud? Think the players won’t be sick of the Tebow attention? Without #15 this is just another opening game. With him, the setting is us against them. Even greater is that this game is not blacked out and may border on a sellout. I am very confident in saying that the Broncos alone would not have garnered such a fervor.
Show the world "I told you so!": When I was in college I learned a valuable lesson about ideas. If they are suppressed they can never be challenged and rebuked. When Reggie Nelson was taken instead of Brady Quinn there was enough crap thrown around to fertilize the entire California farming industry. At least the Jaguars got a playoff run out of their decision. Sunday will find Tyson Alualu starting while Tebow sits the bench or becomes a specialty player. If and when he does take the field the opportunity will present itself, through action, to validate early on whether the appropriate gun was pulled from the armory. The future is yet to be harvested, but the present can feed us. There can be continued speculation, but if Tyson plays a role in victory, Gene can add another line to that resume.
Yes, it is easy to give into the distraction or get carried away by hostility one held while Tim was a Gator. I think you must look beyond the first impression to see the long term benefit. By not playing the victim to the circus you can become the ring leader. Both player and fan, take the moment and use it to your advantage. I believe this gives us all an amplified common goal which makes us even stronger. Because of that, I care.
But it always comes down to
what to do when it's all around you.
- Brian Fullford