Fears of Cheers: The Tebow Effect

20170405_205755I have been arguing for the last few weeks that Colin Kaepernick remains a free agent mainly due to his on-field performance combined with the fact that his market has yet to be determined just like a few other names in free agency who are still without a home.  I continue to make the point that the protest isn’t the reason, but it is a reason.  It might not be the reason you think.

It has nothing to do with being afraid of the President’s Twitter handle or the fact the NFL is mostly a club of older, white conservative owners.  These are the same owners that had no interest in Rush Limbaugh joining their fraternity after it was mentioned he was considering making a bid for the Rams several years ago.  Roger Goodell made the statement that someone like Limbaugh and his “divisive comments” were not welcome.  Goodell works for the owners.  He was simply their mouthpiece on this one.  There is fear, but outside of certain markets it has little to do with political ideology.

Kaepernick is not a “distraction”, but his following is.  Is Kaepernick’s potential upside worth the media sideshow that will follow?  It all looks too familiar.  By now Tebowmania seems like it was decades ago (unless you’re a fan of minor league baseball), but for similar reasons it is why some NFL GMs and coaches cringe at the thought of signing Kaepernick.

Teams don’t want extra persuasion from the press and fans in regards to who will be their starting QB.  This is what happened with Tim Tebow.  He wasn’t good enough to start for the long haul.  John Elway had to pull off the unthinkable and land Peyton Manning in order to satisfy the media and the fans who would’ve buried the Broncos otherwise.

Tebow went to the Jets via the owner’s decision (ironically Woody Johnson who has been outspokenly critical of Kaepernick) and it was a headache gang green didn’t need.  Tebow regressed as a passer (never started a game), Mark Sanchez continued to struggle (had his infamous butt-fumble), head coach Rex Ryan was heavily scrutinized for mishandling the quarterback situation and the Jets finished a disappointing 6-10.  Ryan, who never met a headline he didn’t love, loathed Tebowmania and immediately cut ties with the faithful fan favorite following the 2012 season.  Tebow would never play another regular season game in the NFL.

Let’s say Kaepernick is signed by a team that isn’t settled at quarterback.  If he doesn’t start his proponents will argue it is related to his kneeling from last season.  There are a lot of people that won’t buy the narrative that “he hasn’t grasped the offense” or “the other quarterback on the roster gives us the best chance to win” even though those could be legitimate scenarios.

Tebow fans and Kaepernick fans/haters are alike in the sense that they are ignorant when it comes to the football logistics on why these guys don’t have jobs in the NFL.  The good news for Kaepernick is he is a much better quarterback than Tim Tebow and should land a gig this fall.

Kaepernick would be wise to accept a backup role for less money in 2017.  An ideal landing spot for him would be a team that has an established starting quarterback with a solid coaching staff that will help him resurrect his career.  This will benefit Kaepernick down the road and should quiet a lot of the noise that will follow him.

Here are the best destinations for Kaepernick:

Seattle Seahawks- Kaepernick is familiar with the Seahawks and they are familiar with him.  He would be an excellent backup for Russell Wilson and he would mesh well with Pete Carroll’s culture in Seattle.  There would be no outcry to bench Wilson, one of the better starting quarterbacks in the league, in favor of Kaepernick who played for the rival Niners all those years.

Oakland Raiders- The Raiders were having a dream of a season until Derek Carr got hurt.  The Raiders already feature a talented supporting cast on offense and could use a better backup plan.  An organization historically known for sheltering castoffs and misfits seems like a match made in black hole heaven for Kaepernick.  If the fans in Oakland are upset about it who cares?  You’re moving to Vegas.

Carolina Panthers- Since Cam Newton takes a beating it would be wise for the Panthers to upgrade the second-string roster spot.  We saw what happened when Derek Anderson made an appearance last year.  Yikes!  Kaepernick would join an organization that has talent and stability.  It might not be popular with the fans in Charlotte.  Kaepernick knocked Newton and the Panthers out of the 2013 playoffs which probably upsets the Queen City citizens more than his kneeling.

Kansas City Chiefs- Hall of Famer and star of FS1’s Undisputed Shannon Sharpe believes the Chiefs are the best destination for Kaepernick.  Many feel that KC can only go so far with veteran Alex Smith and they might need to start looking at other options for seasons to come.  Andy Reid is a QB guru and who better to take on the Kaepernick reclamation project than the Kool-Aid Man himself?

Pittsburgh Steelers- Big Ben has taken his share of licks over the years and has hinted the end is near.  I’m not sure if the Steelers think Landry Jones is the future or even feel he is there best option at backup.  In Pittsburgh, Kaepernick would have a talented supporting cast around him if he had to play and if he did well who knows?  Maybe he could be the answer for life after Roethlisberger.  The only concern might be the circus-like atmosphere that the Pittsburgh locker room has been in recent years.  They might not need another non-football headline grabber.

New England Patriots- This is a long shot and it would depend on Jimmy Garoppolo being traded.  No one drowns out the echos like Bill Belichick and company.  If this were to happen Kaepernick would really have to prove himself worthy of making the roster.  Belichick likes to experiment and won’t hesitate to cut a proven veteran.  But if he were able to land a spot on the team what better place to turn his career around as Tom Brady’s understudy and working with an offensive mind like Josh McDaniels?  Given Robert Kraft, Belichick and Brady’s support of Trump could you imagine the head explosions it would cause?

LaVar Ball Says, Kaepernick Waits, NBA Solution and Wife of the Year

20170322_001600.pngMy Three Sons

LaVar Ball is the new “cash me ousside” girl.  I am not ragging on Ball as a parent so don’t get it twisted that I am calling him a bad dad.  The father of UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and two younger sons with a future beyond high school basketball, has become the latest poster child for sports memes on social media.  A man, who once averaged 2.2 points per game during his one season of college ball at Washington State, has been critical of NBA legends Michael Jordan, LeBron James and continues to have a war of words with Charles Barkley.  To sum it all up Ball is basically claiming that he and his sons can beat all these guys.  It doesn’t stop there.  He also went after their parenting skills.  The elder Ball has more in common with Danielle Bregoli than those basketball gods.  My news feed is full of hashtag “LaVar Ball says” just like it was with “how bout dat” a month ago.  The comparison to the troubled teen from Dr. Phil isn’t all negative.  Bregoli is cashing in on her unconventional path to fame.  Ball makes a lot of head turning statements, but is there a method to his madness?  Lonzo Ball is often considered to be the biggest star and top NBA prospect in college basketball. The longer UCLA stays in the tournament, the more headlines LaVar can grab, the larger the payout will be for a shoe contract.  15 minutes of fame is over in 5 minutes nowadays.  Anyone heard from the Jersey Shore kids lately?  Like Bregoli, Ball knows he has to strike while the iron is hot.

Checkout the LaVar Ball says Twitter page

Protesting to Play

Colin Kaepernick, once a promising young quarterback, has become a cautionary tale.  If you stink on the field you can’t afford non-football extras.  It is believed that Kaepernick, who remains a free agent, is still searching for a contract due to his kneeling during the national anthem last season. His protest plays a factor, but it is far from the main reason why he is currently unemployed.  Where is the guy who started in the Super Bowl and shredded the Packers in the playoffs?  Seems like a lifetime ago.  Since 2014, Kaepernick is 11-24 as a starter and has seen three of his head coaches canned in the process.  NFL front offices aren’t lining up to throw money at a potential coach-killer who was benched at the beginning of the year in favor of Blaine Gabbert and went 1-10 as a starter in 2016.  Sure the less accomplished Mike Glennon got a contract he probably doesn’t deserve because the Bears can sell his potential to their fan base while they figure out what they want to do long-term at QB (still looking for Sid Luckman’s replacement).  The whole social justice warrior thing is just baggage on top of Kaep’s poor play. It is no different than Tim Tebow, another man with good intentions, but draws too much attention to himself without the on-field production to compliment the media hype he’s receiving.  Kaepernick fans should be patient.  Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III and in a sense Tony Romo are all in search of a new home.  If Sam Bradford keeps getting inked to big deals there is hope for Colin yet.

Sitting Not So Pretty

Last month a buddy and I attended a game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia between the Sixers and the Heat.  To say the game lacked star power was an understatement.  All the big names such as Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Ben Simmons and Chris Bosh did not display their talents on the hardwood that evening.  Despite the noticeable absentees it ended up being an exciting atmosphere with great game action and minimal sloppy play.  That is a rarity combined with Phildelphia’s uniqueness as a sports town.  Last year we went to Madison Square Garden and Kristaps Porzingis didn’t play.  The MSG experience was memorable, the basketball being played not so much.  Those games didn’t feature teams that would or will be competing for an NBA championship and the guys that didn’t suit up were truly injured.  If we were going to see the Cavaliers, the Spurs or the Warriors and all of the star players were healthy and sitting I can tell you right now I would ask for my money back because this is a players league and fans pay top-dollar to see All-NBA talent. For the league it not only hurts future attendance, but it also puts the networks in a crunch who televise these games.  The solution is simple and it is called reduced minutes.  If the purpose of sitting superior talent is to save their mileage for the postseason then why not let them make a cameo in the game (that they would otherwise sit out) before they call it a night.  There could be the risks of an unwanted injury or they might have to play more than expected if their team gets in foul trouble, but it could go a long way to prevent damage to a product whose revenue is primarily driven by the world’s best players presence on the court.  Even if it is just for half a quarter the fans still get to say they saw LeBron James or Steph Curry make a bucket or two, more folks tune in at home and the only people left unhappy are the odds makers.

March Madam

The Kentucky Wildcats controversially defeated the Wichita State Shockers this past weekend in the NCAA Tournament, but that’s not the story.  Lynn Marshall, the wife of Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, was seen wearing a basketball jersey in the stands while she appeared to be passionately cheering on her husband’s team.  Her passion may have gotten the best of her since it has been reported that arena security had to confront Mrs. Marshall about her behavior in the stands multiple times during the game and was eventually escorted from her seat (after the game was over) because she was allegedly shouting obscenities.  I’m sure this has caused headaches for Coach Marshall and the athletic director at the university and Lynn is receiving her share of heat which is probably justified.  To me her tantrum is a breath of fresh air.  I’d like to believe Mrs. Marshall’s tirade was out of love.  In a country where nearly half of marriages end in divorce it’s great to see the occasional spouse go bonkers in full support of what her husband does for a living.  My wife has used a few choice words about my former employer after I lost my job.  I’m probably more like Gregg and will say all the politically correct things about where I used to work, however I saw my wife’s venting as love for me more than I did for hate of my old company.  I do appreciate the fact that my Mrs. didn’t use any kind of social media or public platform to say what she felt she needed to say.  For Gregg’s sake I hope Lynn will contain her future enthusiasm as necessary.

Click here to catch some of Lynn Marshall’s antics

LET’S HAVE THE TEBOW TALK

Chip Kelly has been no stranger to headlines this NFL offseason. He has gutted the Eagles roster and brought in “his type of guys”. Still no one really knows what the plan is and Kelly won’t necessarily reveal it either. The man has one heck of a poker face. Whether you like the signing of DeMarco Murray or not it was pretty incredible how he pulled it off and robbed him away from division rival Dallas. A move no one saw coming.

So again we don’t know the plan, which means we are not 100% sure why Kelly brought in newly acquired Tim Tebow. The consensus is he’ll be competing for the third-string quarterback position.

Here are pressing questions regarding Tim Tebow’s status in the NFL and the answers should end the debate as to what Tebowmania was/is all about.

Why was Tim Tebow signed by Philadephia?
Tebow was signed by the Eagles for two reasons. One he is a great locker room guy. Third-string quarterbacks rarely see the field and if they do get frequent playing time it usually means the season is a wash. Have you seen the other third-string quarterbacks in the league? It’s putrid to watch them play. Did you watch Ryan Lindley in the playoffs? So why not have a guy that can have a positive impact on those around him?

The second reason is Tebow can actually succeed in Chip Kelly’s system as a backup. It is a simple offense for quarterbacks and his unique athletic talents can open things up for their perennial Pro Bowl running backs.

Why has Tebow had trouble finding a spot on an NFL roster?
Most quarterbacks with a record of 8-5 and a postseason win with over 300 yards passing which included throwing the winning touchdown wouldn’t have trouble finding work. Tim Tebow is the exception. He throws a nice deep ball, but his short to mid-range accuracy is terrible. Denver had to revamp their whole offense to adjust to his style. He’s not the type of quarterback that you can plug into different systems which automatically makes him a potential coach killer. Also if you factor in the media attention he brings (it’s much tamer than a couple years ago) it isn’t worth the headache.

Will Tim Tebow make the Eagles 53-man roster?
Tebow has a good chance to win the third-string job behind Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez mainly for the reasons I listed above. I don’t believe he is there as another body for camp like Sanchez suggested. If that were the case why not bring it someone who wouldn’t make a lot of noise? Of course all this could change if Philadelphia dumps Bradford and acquires Marcus Mariota.

What is the story behind Tebowmaina? The love? The hate? Will it continue?
Tebow is a polarizing figure. It all started with his incredible career at the University of Florida. Tebow is loved because of his intense play on the field, passionate leadership, his off the field demeanor, and his marketable clean-cut image. There are people who love Tebow because of his Christian faith, which I find odd since there are tons of other athletes that are openly Christian yet they don’t nearly garner the attention that Tebow does for it.

People hate Tebow because they don’t feel a player with his limited skill set should be taking up so much time as the main topic on multiple sport media sources. I’m sure there are some militant atheists who gag at his love of Jesus, but at the end of the day it’s no worse than Russell Wilson or Ray Lewis. There are also people who hate simply just to hate.

Tebowmania has likely reached its peak and unless he actually plays it will never resurface as the phenomenon it was just a few years ago.

What happens if Tebow gets cut?
Kelly runs the Read-Option more than any other coach in the league. This just happens to be Tebow’s biggest strength. If he can’t win a job in this offense that is the friendliest system to his skill set then I think it is pretty safe to say that he is done as a player in the NFL.

He will have several other options though. He could play in the Arena League or Canada. The door is always open for him to go back to broadcasting. Coaching perhaps? Why not? The guy is a great motivator. With his squeaky clean image he could even run for office. The next Mayor of Gainesville? Stranger things have happened.

PRETZEL