Tebow reporting sparks ESPN-on-ESPN crime

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Lost in the reports and debates regarding Tim Tebow’s Wildcat tap out is the fact that the situation sparked the latest case of ESPN-on-ESPN crime.

Actually, it was more like an ESPN Battle Royal.

It started when Rich Cimini and Jane McManus of ESPNNewYork.com jointly reported on Sunday that Tebow asked to be omitted from the Wildcat package in Week 16 because the coaching staff had skipped over him when benching Mark Sanchez.  (You know, the same way the Broncos skipped over Brady Quinn when benching Kyle Orton in 2011.)

In an effort to control the damage, Tebow provided his version of the events to Adam Schefter of ESPN.  In exchange for the exclusive scoop, Schefter obviously had no choice but to pass along Tebow’s tale as he told it, without scrutiny or skepticism or cynicism.

And Tebow didn’t say that he had asked out of the Wildcat package, necessarily putting the spirit if not the letter of the two ESPN reports at odds.

But the conflict didn’t become obvious until Schefter, Merril Hoge, and Ron Jaworski appeared on the air to discuss the situation, via USAToday.com.  Schefter started by dutifully repeated what he had reported, without comment or opinion or editorial.

Enter Jaworski and Hoge, both of whom pressed Schefter for clarity as to the notion that Tebow told coach Rex Ryan that he didn’t want to play in the Wildcat package.  Schefter reiterated the guts of his report, skipping over the most important piece of information, apparently because either Schefter didn’t ask or Tebow didn’t tell.

“To me, it smells like three-day-old fish, OK?” Hoge said of Tebow’s story, which came only from Schefter’s report.  “I think he’s phony as a three-dollar bill.  Because at the end of the day, what have I heard?  That he will do anything at any time.  You ask me to do it, I’ll do it.  And all of a sudden now that’s unacceptable?  That’s all of a sudden, ‘Now I want to play quarterback or I’m not gonna play Wildcat?’ . . .   Tim Tebow, being the teammate he says he is, accepts that.  Because he says I’ll do anything for the team.  That’s all I’ve ever heard about him.  Well I think this sound shows really what he’s about.”

Jaworski then tried to suggest that Tebow never said he wouldn’t play Wildcat quarterback, citing derisively (and with air quotes) that it’s merely been “reported” via “sources.”  And in so doing, jumping off the top rope and landing on the work of Cimini and McManus.

Enter Schefter, who then explained that it was a “culmination of a full season of frustration and disappointment,” and that “somehow it’s morphed into ‘I’m taking myself out.'”

Hoge then made an observation that Schefter and Jaworski arguably ignored when subtly pile-driving the reporting of their colleagues, Cimini and McManus.  “If you are for the team and that is what you do care about,” Hoge said, “then guess what?  Whatever that coach makes, that decision, sure you can be upset, but you still do what you can for the team.  You don’t make a rift, you don’t sit there and argue.”

Next, Jaworski revisited the question of whether Tebow said what Cimini and McManus claim he said.  “I want Tim Tebow, if this was said, to say on Tuesday, ‘I told Rex Ryan I don’t want to take the Wildcat snaps,'” Jaworski said.  “We’ve got a lot of hearsay here.”

And in that one swing, Jaworski again questioned the veracity of his colleagues’ original report and indirectly chided Schefter for not asking the obvious follow-up questions when talking to Tebow.

Either way, it should be no surprise that the implosion of Tebow’s 2012 season created chaos at the network that was devoted to covering it.

69 responses to “Tebow reporting sparks ESPN-on-ESPN crime

  1. For guy who tries to do the right thing all the time, allegedly, Timmy seems to piss a lot of people off. Enjoying every minute of this, time for another scotch…

  2. Never in the history of sports has anyone gotten so much attention for doing so little …
    OK. Leon Spinks doesn’t count.

  3. The Jets organization and Rex Ryan are looking more and more like inept bufoons.

    They went out of their way to disrespect Tebow, and for no reason. It’s shameful. They made him believe he would have an opportunity to play and perhaps start. Then they publicly humiliate him, then spread lies about him.

    Hopefully available free agents think twice about signing up in NY. Rex has now proven himself to be two-faced, less than honest, and self serving, willing to throw anybody under the bus to protect his BIG FAT…backside

  4. hoge just hates Tebow; he rails nasty on him every chance he gets and needs to have his teeth checked because he grinds them when he talks about Tebow. Cam Newton bumped a ref and nobody at ESPN is railing on this, but some unconfirmed story about tebow makes them go crazy.

  5. Nobody was out to get tebow. I swear some people have martyr syndrome. The jets owner wanted tebow. His yes men got him. They thn realized how terrible he is at QB. (He really, really is terrible…stats and plays don’t lie. The broncos won despite him sat year not because of him). Once they saw how terrible he is they then couldn’t use him.

  6. Not a fan of the Disney Tebow legend, but the guy has done everything that has been asked of him. How many #2 QB’s in the league are in punt coverage? How many back up QB’s get on the field unless #1 goes down? No team wants their #2 doing anything but be ready if #1 goes down. Tebow got passed over just like Fredo, and we all know what Fredo did and how it turned out for him.

    Tebow is forced down our throats because he is some made up idea of a throwback 1950’s athlete . Sports fans/ paying customers don’t care about any of it, only what you do on the field gamedays.

  7. Agree, Hoge hates Tebow for whatever reason. Hoge is probably tired of being the third banana on every show he is on and wants to move up by trashing him.

    The screwy thing here is that Tebow has done NOTHING wrong since going to the NFL. ESPN is responsible for all this stupid hype about Tebow since the beginning, and losers like Hoge want to flip the situation to make some noise for themselves as if Tebow created this mess.

  8. Merril Hodge is as phony as a 3 dollar bill. I wish he would get fired already due to lack of production. Every time he comes on I just change the channel.

  9. The one question/topic I have not heard anyone discuss this year regarding TT is the size/weight he became. When his coaches had him go up to 260 lbs., did Mr. T. think that ANY other QB in the league not named Ben typically plays at that poundage? My Lord, he is as big as Brandon Jacobs!! Shouldn’t his size been a clear enough message to all that he was not going to be a QB for the bulk (ha, ha ) of his snap assignments?

  10. bobzilla1001 says: Dec 25, 2012 12:34 PM

    Never in the history of sports has anyone gotten so much attention for doing so little …
    OK. Leon Spinks doesn’t count.
    Leon Spinks defeated Ali, the greatest of all time.
    Tell us, what have you accomplished?

  11. wow, you tebow supporters really are clueless, this guy has you all duped…and he doesn’t have the talent to play QB in the NFL

  12. I don’t know why Merrill Hoge feels the need to protect the Jets or to pile on against Tebow. Does he have an ax to grind against Tebow, who has reacted as any human being would after being treated like a freak show by the Jets?

    Tebow wants to play and the Jets promised him he’d get a chance to compete for the starting job after Sanchez did his Ryan Leaf imitation. The Jets lied to him. They only got Tebow to sell jerseys and tickets and to pump up media coverage. They never envisioned Tebow competing for the starting job. Perhaps Tebow should have been made aware of this fact before he chose NY over Jacksonville.

    Tebow owes the Jets nothing after players and coaches have backstabbed him all season long and treated him like crap.

  13. Once again Hoge puts his foot in his mouth and TMZ, Err……ESPN ruins a good mans reputation with shoddy reporting. They should go to politics. They’re that bad. Btw, When the Steelers played a preseason game in Canada way back when, I remember Hoge getting held up at the border for not having any identification. Asked why he didn’t bring any, he told the press he didn’t know Canada wasn’t part of the US.

  14. Hoge is having a different conversation than the other two. He’s giving his analysis of what he thinks of Tebow saying he wouldn’t play wildcat, when Schefter and Jaworski don’t even think Tebow said that.

    Get a life, Hoge. I’m beginning to think Hoge has appeared on ESPN to give analysis of Tebow as a quarterback one time and now they just play that tape everytime they want him to analyze Tebow.

  15. Why is this such a big deal? Seems to me the jets misled/lied to tebow about how much he would be used and in what capacity, and after almost a full season of getting jerked around he had had enough. Although it goes against his “team first” persona, i don’t blame him.

  16. Hoge is at about half the I.Q. of Jaworski, and Schefter seems pretty smart too. This is just an example of that playing out.

  17. People are sick of Tebow mostly because the media won’t shut up about him, not because he intentionally draws attention to himself. Skip Bayless and others TOTALLY overdid it this season, constantly talking about a guy who wasn’t even getting playing time.

    I don’t think Tebow asked for this mess and I don’t think he deserves it. He’s been mostly quiet all year. He would be at a very low profile if ESPN wasn’t constantly building him up and tearing him down which is really more about social issues than football.

  18. It would be hilarious if the Patriots signed him, but told him honestly: “You won’t be starting QB, but you can learn from Brady, and we will make you a tight end. You will be Gronk 2″, AND you get to beat on the Jets twice a year.”
    He would sign in a nanosecond just to waste the Jets and Ryan. I bet the Pats could make him great at some position.

  19. I’m with Hoge. Tebow is a trouble maker on the sidelines and in the dressing room. Lets remember why Denver dumped him, he wanted to play hero running QB and not drop back and pass. It was his way or the highway and Denver showed him the road. So this crap he will do whatever is asked is bull.

  20. The word all year is that Tebow was so bad in practice -as leaked by team members, the coaching staff couldn’t use him. His play was awful. Must be true they let Sanchez play all year.

  21. Why is this still a story? I guess we will beat this down until we are once again tired of hearing or reading Tebow. Its bad enough we covered him when he was not playing. Now we have to cover him because he is not playing. I know, reads stupid, I know but that summarizes the entire situaiton.

  22. teambring:
    At that stage of Ali’s great career, even I could’ve eked out a split decision against him…
    How about you?

  23. I don’t care about the Jets. Always overhyped, rarely meeting those expectations. I’m also rather indifferent to Tim Tebow because I think his impact is almost exclusively off the field. Sure he won a playoff game last year. At home in a stadium with a huge home field advantage. With a team that looks like one of the most complete teams this year with a better quarterback. But people seem to be forgetting that the much reviled Mark Sanchez took the Jets to two straight AFC title games and is still 33-28 in his career. As for Tebow being “screwed” or “lied to”, that’s nonsense. What rationale would the Jets have to “screw” Tebow? Trade two picks for him and then not use him? For what reason? Spite? No matter what promises are made to a player, he has to produce whether in practice or a game if he wants playing time. Matt Flynn went to Seattle to be a starter. Got beat out. This is a mercenary league. If a team or coach think a player will help them, they will be on the field. Is the whole league intent on keeping Tebow down? If any team thought Tebow was a legitimate long term starter, it would have been more than the Jets and the Jags making an offer for him.

  24. “If you are for the team and that is what you do care about, then guess what? Whatever that coach makes, that decision, sure you can be upset, but you still do what you can for the team. You don’t make a rift, you don’t sit there and argue.”

    That’s a load of bunk! No one ever asks why Terrell Pryor isn’t running routes or playing DB. No one asks why Vince Young or Tyler Thigpen weren’t covering kicks. No even expects QBs to attempt to make a tackle when they throw an interception … but Tebow is expected to slam his head into defensive linemen and linebackers, and gets criticized if he won’t.

    Tim Tebow is a QB. Not a RB, not a TE, not a personal punt protector or a LB/DB. He should demand to be treated like a QB. His one big mistake was the same one Kordell Stewart made years ago when he became “Slash”. He agreed to do something other than play QB in order to help the team, and as a result he allowed himself to be pegged as something other than a QB.

  25. I am not a Tebow fan…but Meril Hodge has honestly got to be one of the most annoying blabbers on the ESPN and their pompous network.

    Remember Trev Alberts on Gameday a few years ago? Equal level with Hodge.

    I mean did that guy really go nuclear on Tebow and call his entire career and character into question???

    The guy freaking played upback on Punt Team.

    Tebow sure isn’t the Jets problem…it is Sporano, another Bill Parcells legacy (I point this out as a bitter Dolphins fan).

    Good Luck with that…I love seeing the Jets stink!

  26. Hoge is just jealous the tebow was ten times the player he ever was in college and the nfl! like golic,he was a 4th rate player that basically did nothing but eek out a living as basic thrid string/special teams player,and oh yeah,he also sued the jets and bears for his concussion problems! he cares what he whines about?!

  27. If the point of this article was to prove that ESPN is full of frauds, don’t bother posting more like it. We know they’re frauds, thats why we’re on this site instead of ESPN’s NFL page.

  28. Why do so many people get so angry at Tebow because he won games? It appears like they feel it was unfair that someone with poor passing statistics would win games. That really seems the chafe their buns.

    First off, the Broncos didn’t win “in spite of Tebow”. The personnel they had – and the addition of talented Brandon Marshall, this year’s #1 receiver, went 4-12 and 1-4 before Tebow became the full-time started. Gosh, I wonder why people give him the credit?

    He also won several games, including the Jets game, with incredible 4th quarter comebacks under tremendous scrutiny. The Pittsburgh playoff victory was literally a miracle.

    Guys like Hoge looking to hate on him any chance they get really make me smh. It’s clear there is something religious going on in a case like that. Hoge has some spiritual problems.

  29. Bottom line is this…

    The Jets have never recovered from the Cruz 99-yarder last year. The Giants then beating the Pats to win it all was a kick in the gut with steel-toe boots. So Woody tried to regain the back pages by first going after Eli’s brother (and we all knew Peyton would never work the same city as Eli, especially coming off a Super Bowl), then traded for Tebow. But they had no legitimate plan for using him – he was just there to get buzz – and that’s all he has done.

    It’s all about publicity for the Jets – this is straight out of the George Steinbrenner “How To Stay Relevant in New York” instruction manual. Except, even in the 80s and early 90s, the Yankees still had a past they could point to… the Jets have Super Bowl III and nothing else.

  30. Hoge was already annoyed Tebow’s Broncos knocked out his pet Steelers in the playoffs lastt year, and now he finally realized there won’t a chance for revenge this year.

    Tebow may not be a first rate quality QB, but he’s the pawn in this case, and Hoge is Exhibit A in the cumulative effect of concussions.

  31. Tebowmaniacs just get mad at Hodge because he speaks the truth. Plus his career was much better than Tebow’s was.

    Can you name the 46 qb’s who had a higher passer rating than Tim Tebow in his “great” year last year?

  32. Love the way Tebowmaniacs are so dismissive of two different ESPN NY reporters who say Tebow quit on the Jets. They didn’t make it up, they reported it. Independently.

    Kind of like the way three different NFL coaching staff (plus the John Elway and the Jags) have studied and worked with him and concluded he can’t play.

    Apparently Tebowmaniacs are just smarter than everyone else.

  33. I have zero respect for Merrill Hodge as a person, no matter what his credentials as an analyst. He has found a good publicity gambit in hating on Tebow that he can go back to again and again.

    I don’t know if Tebow can succeed in this league, but these knee-jerk haters of him are getting as tiresome as those who thinks he walks on water. He did succeed last year, albeit unconventionally, and that seems to irk the multi-concussed Hodge because he doesn’t fit into his cut-and-paste image of what a quarterback “should” be.

  34. Cuda1234,

    No, they did not report it independently, as you claim. They reported it jointly, as stated above for you. And they used the always credible “unnamed sources”.

    Look, if the Jets thought he couldn’t play qb, and he was really refusing to play in any other capacity, they wouldn’t have activated him on Sunday. It’s not too tough to dismiss a report like this.

  35. A nice double whammy article with ESPN bashing and Tebow baiting together. Merril Hoge is not much of a journalist or analyst and should be regulated to a National Enquirer hack. If he could tell me how many other backup QBs work as a special teams player other than holder. NONE. If the coach asked them like Aaron Rogers,Colt McCoy,Jake Locker or Matt Flynn they would have all said no I play QB not block on punts. Since sports journalism seems like an oxymoron in stories like this. Jets made big promises for Tebow to play for them and broke all their promises putting out lies probably that he isn’t doing this or that to cover their butts. He made it clear like every single other QB in the league that I play my position and nothing else. Why stop at wildcat? Make him play nose tackle. Make him play place kicker. Makes just as much sense as the opinions that spew out of Merril Hoge. Just move on there is nothing here to see except muck racking at it’s worst by everyone reporting this story.

  36. Sporano with his bad play calling along with Rex Reed are the problem. As a Dolphin Fan I hope Jets keep both of them and Sanchez for years to come. They define Football Follies!

  37. The Jets are a terrible organization. All Tebow is doing is making sure he gets shipped out of that football wasteland.

  38. I wonder about Sporano as a possible source of “off the record” comments and I wonder how big a part he played in the fiasco this year with Tebow.

  39. nesuperfan says:Dec 25, 2012 1:58 PM
    “It would be hilarious if the Patriots signed him, but told him honestly: “You won’t be starting QB, but you can learn from Brady…I bet the Pats could make him great at some position.”

    I think Tim would do well as Brady’s understudy while playing other roles in the process. If you read Brady’s scouting report it sounds a lot like Tebow and Brady cannot have many more years.

    Some think Josh McDaniels it going to the Cleveland Browns as HC and will take Mallett with him, leaving his spot at the Pats for Tebow.

  40. It seems like Tim was promised he would start if Sanchez failed to perform, but they never dreamed that Sanchez would fail so badly. I don’t believe that Tim’s performance was the reason he was not played. The Jets are hugely financially committed to Sanchez and needed him to succeed. Second, they feared fan reaction if Tebow played and did well; they would never be able to take him off the field. That, I believe, is why Rex dug his heels in so firmly, he was determined to not be entrapped by Tebowmania and equally determined than Sanchez had to succeed.

    I suppose it is likely that Tim Tebow will play elsewhere next year, but there is a part of me that thinks Sporano could be gone and Tebow could be the starting QB for the Jets with a new spread option OC.

  41. I agree with Merrill hoge on this one entirely. I watched him on espn just ripping on tebow and everything he said was true. He IS the most overrated player in all of professional sports, yeah mark Sanchez sucks but do you honestly think tebow is a step up? God no! The only reason the broncos had so much success with him was because their defense picked up the slack. Tebow literally couldn’t hit a target ten yards down the field and the only time thier offense was working was when he ran it and they could only do that so much.

  42. Hoge comes off as a bitter guy. Don’t know if it is lack of success as a player, the concussions, the divorce, etc.?

    Regardless, there is an extreme lack of a professionalism on display every time he is in front of a microphone. It is one thing to dissect a player’s performance, but it is another thing to get personal. This is his bad habit and he has done it with Rogers, Warner, Young, etc. in addition to Tebow.

    Does anyone remember him recognizing he was being a jerk and saying the following:

    “I’ve been wrong on a lot of levels with [Tebow]… I’d lost the ability, or the opportunity to shed light on what an amazing story on how he has worked, persevered, worked, his diligence…all those things you try to teach young people…I’ve become a big fan.”

    I guess that all of that is now out of the window because of an anonymously sourced story with zero back up.

    The national title, the Heisman, the turn around in Denver, the OT victory over the Steelers, all of the charitable stuff….GONE, he is a phony based on one story from an anonymous source?

    No doubt Tebow isn’t going to be confused for Andrew Luck anytime soon, but there is no reason for the personal crap from someone like Hoge.

  43. I love it when reporters get all pissy with each other. I remember when, during NFL Network draft coverage, Adam Schefter broke into the broadcast with the news that the Pats acquired Randy Moss in a trade with the Raiders and Mike Mayok was livid because it was stealing all the attention away from the draft coverage and his guru analysis of all the players. Draft day is his big day in the spotlight and all of the sudden the spotlight was being taken away. He was PISSED and took a few snipes at Schefter. It was hilarious.

  44. Merril Hoge is an idiot w a hatred towards Tebow so whatever he says I would definitely believe the other side. Besides if Tebow begged out he would not have been active. Seems like Jets spin to me.

  45. merrill hoge is an a$$hole. plain and simple. thats why no one respects him, values his opinion or takes anything he says seriously.

    he couldn’t hold tebow’s jock for 1 day and yet hoge calls him a phony for one story that was reported by “sources”.

    this is obviously the doing of the jet’s front office trying to save face by dragging tebow’s name through the mud. and the fact they couldn’t even do that right shows the incompetency of this franchise.

    this is why i stopped watching ESPN and watch the NFL network. they may play the same things over and over again but at least they dont have has-been NFL players trying to generate ratings by dragging good people’s name through the mud.

  46. All this over a back-up QB. BTW, where was ESPN’s indignation over the Mendenhall debacle; also conveniently missing was any voracious debate when Carson Pumulled… Palmer publically quit the Bengals. Easy to blame management on that one, but clearly this is personal to Hoge and the rest of the carnival barkers on that show.

  47. All the facts on this story are not fully known at this time so why did Mr. Hoge attack Tim with such Venom calling him a phony and saying that Tim had shown his true color. I have news for you Mr. Hoge, You are the one that has shown your true color and that is the color of a Hater! Everyone knows how unselfish Tim has been on and off the field with his time and money. Tim has been involved with numerous charities and events to help the underprivileged. There’s the Tim Tebow Foundation Wish program, created to fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses. There’s the Tebow Cure Hospital that will serve the underprivileged in the Philippines. If you want to learn more about the type of man Tim is I would suggest paying a visit to his website and giving a donation if you so wish, I know Tim would greatly appreciate it. A message needs to be sent to ESPN and their First Take program that these kinds of unfounded personal attacks will not be tolerated and I for one will also not watch any programs that I see Mr. Hoge on.

  48. Tebow literally couldn’t hit a target ten yards down the field and the only time thier offense was working was when he ran it

    cept maybe for that perfect touchdown pass to beat the Steelers in OT in the playoffs..

  49. ESPN deserves the in-fighting anyway.. It’s their own fault that Tebow coverage got so out of control when he was in Denver! The national papers did a good job too but ESPN always trends towards overloading us on whatever player they can expose and choke us with details after detail after detail..

    Think about this, guys like Ray Lewis are media darlings on ESPN (and now all over other networks too) yet he was involved (more so than what he was accused and got away with) in a manslaughter case.. Now he’s all over the place, doing commercials, even doing a contest where a “Special Someone” can spend the day (or some such nonsense) with him! A guy involved in a murder and it doesn’t matter because he’s an NFL player and he’s being overexposed by networks like ESPN.

    ESPN is Garbage… They play the sarcasm angle and make people look bad (or good depending on their agenda with said players).. Do we REALLY CARE if there’s infighting? Do we?

  50. So sick of hearing about tebow. All anybody needs to know is he’s a crappy Qb and any team that uses him as a starting QB doesn’t want to be a winning franchise

  51. Tebow will never be run out of the league, the sports shows and sports columist will run out of crap to tell us.

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