For the past few weeks, as criticism of quarterback Tim Tebow from beyond the organization grew, the team didn’t say much of anything. Instead, the new coaching staff’s actions did all the talking, with Tebow sliding from No. 2 to No. 3 on the depth chart. Coupled with a biting item from ESPN’s Rick Reilly, who has a pipeline to Broncos football czar John Elway, there was an unmistakable sense that the Broncos had begun the process of distancing themselves from the final first-round pick of the two-year Josh McDaniels regime.
In the wake of a report from Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports claiming that, according to “one highly knowledgeable member of the organization,” Tebow actually would land behind Adam Weber on the four-deep quarterback depth chart, the Broncos are finally pushing back.
Asked about Silver’s report on Wednesday, coach John Fox gave Tebow a boost.
“First of all, I would like to say that nobody in this building that is in the decision-making process — coach, official, or I don’t know, maybe they heard it from the cook,” Fox said. “I’m not sure, but we hold Tim in high regard. I think he’s got a bright future in this game. He’s playing maybe the hardest position I know in the NFL there is to play, and maybe in all of sports. He’s progressing fine. He’ll get more opportunities in games as we go; those are great opportunities. Last week, he was cut a little short based on how the game went. Defensively, we didn’t get them off the field, and by the time he got in, it was a four-minute situation.
“Everybody in this building has high regard for Tim Tebow, and Tim’s doing just fine. There’s no update on where his ranking is at this point by any official.”
So who could be the “highly knowledgeable member of the organization”?
“I don’t think, if you read it correctly, that it said anybody in the organization,” Fox said. “It just said a knowledgeable football person — that could have been a wide range. Like I said, it could have been the chef; he sees the players every day.”
Meanwhile, Broncos V.P. of Public Relations Jim Saccomano, whose department has done little to counter the take-downs of Tebow, has taken to Twitter to complain indirectly about Silver’s reporting.
“All media, all types and levels, desperate for headlines that will move product,” Saccomano said. He added that, due to the pressure to generate headlines, “sometimes the tabloid mentality overtakes objectivity, at expense of some great journalists.”
Saccomano thinks that the work of “[h]it and run journalists” will “speed development of team-only media.” But that isn’t the answer, either. The fans know that they’ll rarely, if ever, get truly objective assessments of a given team from media bought and paid for by that team.
Besides, the NFL as a whole benefits from intense coverage of the sport, regardless of whether a given story is fair or unfair, biased or unbiased, true or untrue. As long as folks are talking more and more and more about pro football, more and more and more people will want to watch or attend the games. That’s why every personnel controversy regarding a given team, while likely bad for the team in question, is good for the league as a whole.
UPDATE: A source with another NFL team explained it far better than I ever could. “This guy has a job because of the media,” the source said of Saccomano. “Tell him the worst news a team can get is none!”