Jaguars owner Shahid Khan was fascinated by the fascination with Tim Tebow. Khan will need to find an even more dramatic term to describe his reaction to the new fan-based push against bringing Tebow to his hometown football team.
In response to recent efforts from White House petitioners and a publicity-seeking lawyer (yes, the firm actually asked us to run a link to its website in our story about the attorney’s pro-Tebow ad), a group of Jaguars fans have launched an effort to support the team’s decision to pass on a quarterback who can’t pass very well.
More than 528,000 clicks of supposed support have been registered at EvenIfHesReleased.com, a domain name based on G.M. Dave Caldwell’s door-slamming remarks about the prospect of signing Tebow. Those comments came at a time when ESPN had reported it was a “virtual certainty” Tebow would play for the Jaguars in 2013.
“We are inspired to counter anything or anyone that chooses to attack or spread ignorance about our fan base,” John Caputo, president of Bold City Brigade, told Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “We aim to do it in a tasteful and tactful manner, which represents our mission and members.”
At the risk of becoming a target of this attack, there’s a problem with the website. In order to see the current number of clicks supporting the team for not wanting Tebow, the visitor has to click the “I Support This Message” link on the front page of the site. And the site allows multiple votes from the same computer browser, simply by refreshing the page after voting.
As a result, two of the clicks (actually, now three) have come from me.
While it’s hardly a scientific exercise, the sentiment meshes with the explanation provided by Mike Dempsey of 1010XL in Jacksonville on Wednesday’s PFT Live. Dempsey explained that the Tebow push comes from casual fans or non-Jaguars fans who are smitten with the Tebow narrative, and that zealous Jaguars fans generally don’t want him.
“Obviously it’s frustrating to be constantly bombarded by the Tebowmania,” Caputo told Kuharsky. “Many die-hard Jaguars fans feel ignored. We feel like our voices are not heard because we tend to sit back and not do anything brash and in-your-face.
“The media knows what sells. If a petition started by a random guy in New Jersey that isn’t even a Jaguars fan can get that much attention, then obviously we are fighting an uphill battle. The website is our way of saying to the national media: ‘You want something brash. Well then, here.'”
Still, the story has been a story because the Jaguars wanted Tebow last year, when he was traded by the Broncos and picked the Jets over the Jaguars. That failed effort to get Tebow necessarily made his possible return home a story in 2013. Now that Tebow is available barely a year after the Jaguars wanted him, it’s understandable for some fans to want him this year.
Especially when the current options at quarterback aren’t all that fascinating.
Fundamentally, that’s the problem. The Jaguars have given the national media nothing to talk about in recent years. So when one of the most talked-about players in football hails from Jacksonville and when the Jaguars actually wanted to acquire him a year ago and when the franchise is in the midst of a full-blown turnaround after a 2-14, the Tebow story is the only story that sells.
Indeed, the story about the flawed anti-Tebow website is a story only because it relates to Tebow.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!