ESPN’s new Tebow feature creates a stir

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On Monday, Tim Tebow’s employer in his new industry trotted out a feature aimed at getting him another chance in his former industry.

Many in the media industry didn’t like it.  The various criticisms and complaints have been collected by the folks at SportsBusiness Daily.

ESPN televised a three-minute, thirty-eight second feature regarding the efforts of the former NFL quarterback, with the help of former NFL quarterback and current ESPN colleague Trent Dilfer to become a current NFL quarterback again, notwithstanding his current employment at ESPN.  Dubbed by some as a conflict of interest, the effort actually conflicts with ESPN’s interests in keeping Tebow on its roster of analysts.  If, after all, Tebow becomes an NFL quarterback again, he won’t be available to work for the network.

“I’ve been able to understand over the course of the last four or five months what it means to have mechanics, what it means to have footwork, what it means to be able to control your body,” Tebow says during the piece, without addressing why he hadn’t been able to understand in nearly a decade before that of pro and college football these key aspects of the position he plays.

It’s been an ongoing theme throughout his NFL career.  Before the 2010 draft, Tebow spent weeks working on improving his mechanics.  And his mechanics were indeed fixed, as long as he had the ability to concentrate on them.  Thrust into the stress of game action and forced to retreat to muscle memory, Tebow consistently reverted to his slow-motion Byron Leftwich catapult delivery.

Still, he won’t give up.  And that’s the message ESPN really wants to convey.  Wearing an unintentionally ironic T-shirt that reads “I am set free,” Tebow goes through off-field and on-field workouts while talking passionately about his extreme motivation to get back to the NFL.

That’s fine, but the NFL already has moved on from Tebow.  The Broncos traded him after a run to the final eight.  The Jets cut him after a worse-than-lackluster year.  The Patriots eventually gave him a chance to save some face, surely due to the presence of former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels on the coaching staff.  But even with McDaniels in his corner, the Patriots didn’t regard Tebow as good enough to be one of the eight weekly inactive players and an insurance policy against quarterback injury.

Even now, as 24 teams can add extra players via “futures” contracts, it’s not Tim Tebow who is being signed but quarterbacks like Trent Edwards and E.J. Kinne.

So it’s over (unless McDaniels gets the Browns job and the front office lets him bring Tebowmania to town, which is highly unlikely).  But ESPN and Dilfer are helping Tebow continue to prop up a dream that has come and gone, and Tebow continues to be Bruce Willis in every scene of The Sixth Sense except the first one and the last.

As it relates to Tebow, ESPN’s motivations are obvious.  They surely don’t fear losing him to the NFL because they know it’s not happening.  Instead, it’s a way to make their newest high-profile hire, who remains one of the most polarizing figures in sport, sympathetic, inspirational, and ultimately likeable.

Let’s also not overlook what the feature does for Dilfer.  Presumed by many to be the in-house successor to Jon Gruden, Dilfer’s role as quarterbacks coach helps give him the credibility to slide into both the Monday Night Football booth and the Quarterback Camp feature that precedes each draft.  While Gruden isn’t leaving this year, it’s just a matter of time before he returns to coaching.

So it’s a win-win for ESPN, especially since everyone knows that Tebow’s effort to get back to the NFL eventually will lose.

Everyone, that is, except Tebow.

79 responses to “ESPN’s new Tebow feature creates a stir

  1. Take away his status as religious icon, and we wouldn’t be talking about him.

    There’s no two ways around it.

  2. What credibility does Dilfer have as a “quarterbacks coach”? He was a mediocre QB propped up by a stellar defense.

    Why, the only thing he could teach Tebow is how a stellar defense can make you look med–ohhhh, I think I get it now.

  3. I am so tired of Tebow. So tired of hearing about it. I’ve seen him throw more balls in the dirt than to receivers’ hands. I am, like many NFL fans, hoping that my team doesn’t decide to pick him up because he just is not a good passer. He seems like a good guy, but a lot of good guys are free agents. I don’t need a good guy, I need a good QB, and he just isn’t it.

  4. The Broncos only have a few days left to swap Tebow in for Manning and give themselves a chance to beat the Chargers.

  5. Man, this guy really is a polarizing figure. He sure has my dad fooled, you know who you are Mike. My dad was a lifelong Broncos fan and really started following football again when Tebow was drafted. Now after the Broncos traded him, my dad no longer roots for the Broncos. I am a huge Broncos fan, and have suffered through the Jeff Lewis, Brian Griese, and Bubby Brister days. Yes, it was inspirational to watch Tebow play in the fourth quarter, unfortunately, it is the other 3 quarters that pained me to consistently watch 3 and outs. I wish Tebow the person the most luck with the rest of his life, however, it probably will not be as a QB in the NFL.

  6. Well, if Jamarcus Russell can have his occasional “I’m making a comeback” tours then so can Tebow.

    We all read the story (or in this case watch it on ESPN), laugh, make a few jokes, and move on with our lives.

  7. Never ceases to amaze me….with all the bad people in sports, how Tim Tebow of all people, is such a despised person by some….(insecure wanna be’s that need someone to poke at). BTW…I have seen no less than 100 football players thank god as often as Tebow this year…as well as a Florida State player go down and do a “Tebow” like bow after scoring a TD last night…….WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE FOR ALL OF THEM?…..oh yea, that GIANT double standard we have in this country.

  8. Why kill a man’s dream? Even if he does have flaws as being a NFL QB, one has to have HOPE…
    I think he needs to follow the rest of the former college players and analyze the collegiate games.

  9. If nothing else, I support keeping him around just so I can get a good laugh everytime Florio gets butthurt and writes a novel about it. You DO realize that this massive overanalysis of an unemployed QB is exactly what fuels the very thing you’re complaining about, right?

  10. monkeyhateclean says:
    Jan 7, 2014 10:11 AM
    “What credibility does Dilfer have as a “quarterbacks coach”? He was a mediocre QB propped up by a stellar defense.

    Why, the only thing he could teach Tebow is how a stellar defense can make you look med–ohhhh, I think I get it now.”

    Ummm he played the position for over a decade. That means, for over a decade, he was one of the best 32 people at the position out of over 6 billion. All great Qb coaches had to be great QBs? See Jim Harbaugh. And then think before speaking.

  11. monkeyhateclean says:
    Jan 7, 2014 10:11 AM
    What credibility does Dilfer have as a “quarterbacks coach”? He was a mediocre QB propped up by a stellar defense.

    Come on…look at all these guys that never made it past playing in college but turned into elite coaches. It’s like 80-90% of the coaches in the league.

    If Trents sub par career is a indicator that he has nothing to teach young players than the sucessful coaches in the league can only be explained by an act of god.

  12. I am in no way whatsoever a fan of Tebow but Im a Broncos fanatic and have been for many years. Anyway I remember a buddy of mine jumped on the Jets bandwagon back when they were appearing in AFC championship games and what have you and the Broncos were completely terrible. I remember the day he condescendingly asked me “isnt it about time you gave up on those Broncos??? theyre putrid” The smugness in his voice killed me
    Flash forward to Broncos v Jets the next season when led by wonderboy Timmy Tebow we handed them a nice big fat Loss. I literally went hoarse from screaming in his face “Isnt it about time you gave up on those Jets???”
    So Timothy, despite your dreadful qb mechanics and completely dorky persona….I thank you for that game from the bottom of my heart.

  13. I don’t understand all the hatred for Tebow. In reality, he’s probably one of the nicest, most genuine players in football. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe jealousy? People hate on Tebow, but worship delinquents like Ray Lewis, Michael Irvin and Warren Sapp..

    Bottom line: Tim Tebow should have a job… SOMEWHERE. There’s more than enough shoddy QB play in the NFL, and most teams, when put in a pinch to win a game or 2 when their starting QB is hurt, would have no better option than Tim Tebow..

  14. Dilfer is more obnoxious these days than most sports analysts on TV.

    He was a bust, gone medoicre. and got saved by a great defense.

    The Ravens won a Super Bowl DESPITE TRENT DILFER.

    If there is any example of the outlier of “Super Bowl Winning Quarterbacks” it is Trent Dilfer.

    His stats were TERRIBLE.

    He was so bad, that the next year, Billick never wanted to re-sign him. They didn’t, and Dilfer floundered as a back-up for several teams.

    I don’t hate Dilfer…….he is allot like Tebow.

    He is a good Christian man.

    My problem is he just is very full of himself with his “knowledge”, too opinionated, not humble like Tebow.

  15. Gives Dilfer credibility??? I saw him on SPV & Russillo yesterday trying to defend it and he came off as Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character from The Master. He was one step away from giving an infomercial.

  16. i love the thought process that dilfer inst a hall of famer therefore he couldnt possibly be a good qb coach.
    remind me how many nfl passes guys like gruden, homlgren, wisenhunt etc have thrown.

    and the ultimate irony, the commentors who seem to think they know more about coaching than actual nfl coaches (see andy reid villification), yet havent even read a high school playbook, or know how to break down film

  17. Any chance Tebow had to return to the NFL as a legitimate QB were gone the second he took advice on how to play from Dilfer.

  18. For anyone that doesn’t somehow get it, why people comment and shake their heads about Tebow’s unrelenting campaign to become a starting QB… HE CAN’T play the position, just that simple. He’s like the embodiment of the ‘Rick Roll’– “Never gonna give you up, Never gonna let you down, Never gonna run around and desert you..”

  19. I swear this kid is naturally right handed and got talked into being left handed. It’s the only explanation I have for his weird throwing.

  20. None of us are football coaches or GM’s, but I’ve got to tell you…I think Tebow could flourish if given the chance and the right situation. Granted, his mechanics blow, and he’s often inaccurate. But there is something about him…he has “it” to the Nth degree. He is relentless about improving, about winning. His mentality infects everyone around him..even the defense. No one has been willing to take on the risk, but I’ve got to wonder if a desperate team might give it a whirl.

  21. It’s not about Tebow the person – it’s about Tebow the idea. Tebow the idea has to do with repeatedly forcing a decidedly mediocre player back into the spotlight for something other than football under the false pretense that it’s about football.

    The “why do you hate Tebow?” crowd’s criticism is disingenuous.

  22. Dilfer didn’t throw a single tight spiral or successful touch pass in his entire career. It’s laughable that’s he’s coaching/critiquing QBs.

  23. funny, nobody is trying to fix kaepernicks mechanics and his are as bad as tebows.

    the hate for tebow amazes me, he is a genuine kid who is only being himself, it’s not his fault the media has thrust him into a position of fame, he has not changed who he is, and people hate him for it. i wish more guys in sports had tebow’s heart and character.

  24. I remember when they said the same stuff about Flutie…cant play, too small, blah blah blah …and all the guy did was win 2 out of every 3 for my Bills… he was a winner, when used properly, so is Tebow, and I would take Tebow for my Bills in a heartbeat…..

  25. Go watch Tim throw the ball in person. It will be obvious to anyone that he cannot release the ball quickly or with enough zip to play in the NFL. Mechanics matter but it is only part of the package.

  26. Regardless of the obvious history & odds here it would be a pretty amazing & a kinda cool thing if an NFL team gave him a chance and Tebow made something happen with it proving all the sports pundits, naysayers & detractors wrong.

    Unless the guy is doing it just to market his ‘brand’ & ‘message’ which could be the case, its actually kind of inspiring to see the guy still at it with that much work. I don’t see anything wrong with someone striving to achieve something against all odds. Stranger things have happened….

  27. This kid needs to play… The teams that need a QB could do much worse than Tebow. Honestly, Tebow can’t do what the jags QB has done?! Are you worried that you would be laughed at? People that love this guy are not all to blame for this… The hate against this kid is just as religious as any of these fans… Mostly because these guys don’t like that their women wish they were dating Tebow instead of him.

  28. You’re a fool if you believe Tebow being out of the league is due to inability. If Tebow were “just another guy”, you don’t think any team would take a chance on a squeaky-clean former 1st round pick with playoff experience? Please. The ultimate irony is that Tebow now works for the network that’s 80% responsible for him being out of the NFL in the first place.

  29. Tebow is completely delusional. Doesn’t he get it? The NFL train has come and gone. Even Belichick and McDaniels couldn’t work their magic with Tebow. If they can’t, no one can. If he was willing to change positions, that would be one thing. I don’t know why he has been so stubborn through this whole process.

    And it’s the height of hypocrisy for ESPN to be involved in a video hyping Tebow to the NFL. Dilfer has been killing Tebow for years on ESPN and suddenly he’s promoting him? This doesn’t pass the smell test at all.

  30. “I’ve been able to understand over the course of the last four or five months what it means to have mechanics, what it means to have footwork, what it means to be able to control your body,”

    It took that long?

  31. I don’t know whether some of you folks are not watching Tebow or just don’t have a clue what to look for – his mechanics are the worst I’ve ever seen in the NFL, and that includes worse than Kaepernick. By a LOT.

  32. Thanks for the completely unbiased article about Tebow, ESPN, and their motives. It is astounding that any sports writer could review the NFL’s actions toward Tebow and say that they were completely motivated by Tebow’s lack of skills. Obviously, the NFL has “moved on,” but not before sabotaging Tebow for the last two years.
    Look at the QB situation in the NFL this year: team after team lost their QB to injury, yet instead of signing or even trying out a QB who had led his team to a playoff victory in Denver, teams signed guys off the street; who for the most part were very poor QB’s.
    If you do not like Tebow, just say so. And before you say it’s because of his lack of skills, please explain how Jon Kitna, Thad Lewis, Christian Ponder, and Brady Quinn are clearly better than Tebow.

  33. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: “You’re a fool if you believe Tebow being out of the league is due to inability.”


    Apparently, I’m a fool.

    I’m okay with this.

  34. There should be an opening in Cincy – after all, Dalton singlehandedly made the AFC north the laughingstock of the entire NFL.
    Nobody can do worse then he did – NOBODY.

  35. Here is my take on Tebow:

    Putting everything else aside, the guy is 8-6 as a starter. And many of the games he did NOT start in Denver, he led some pretty exciting comebacks. He won in High chool, College and the NFL. He has NEVER had a losing record in his career. Never. Period.

    And again, the guy is 8-6 as a starter in the NFL.

    You can argue till the cows come home that his wins weren’t pretty, and that his mechanics are lousy.

    But again, the guy is 8-6 as a starter.

    You can argue that his defense helped him out a lot. I would argue that he motivated his defense. Many of them said as much. Confidence breeds success.

    And again, the guy is 8-6 as a starter.

    And I am tired of reading about him being a “failure” with the Jets. Really? Based on what? Based on blocking on punts? Based on going in on every 18th down?

    My take on Tebow is that he looks lousy in practice and preseason games. And his mechanics aren’t pretty. But somehow, some way… he finds a way to win.

    As a lifelong Browns fan, I would KILL to have a QB right now capable of winning 60% of the games. And I wouldn’t care how he did it.

    Tell me that season in Denver wasn’t amazing. That Steeler’s game was one of the craziest, most exciting games I have ever seen. Yeah… I know. they lost to NE the next week. But a few other teams lost to New England that year too.

  36. scmems07 says: Jan 7, 2014 10:51 AM

    funny, nobody is trying to fix kaepernicks mechanics and his are as bad as tebows.


    Kaepernick has a quicker release and better footwork. If you don’t want to look at that look at the #’s.

    Kapernick almost 60% completion
    Tebow 47% completion

    You can’t play in the league if you can’t complete half your passes. Not hate, just facts.

  37. It’s laughable that people are still using Tebow’s 2011 performance against the Steelers as a shinning example of his ability.
    Those ’11 Steelers were the most overrated 12-4 team in the history of the league. Their offense tanked 22nd in scoring, and they qualified for the playoffs as a wild-card team, having beaten just two teams that entire season that finished with winning records. Against winning teams, those Steelers were 2-3, which means they played 11 other teams that were pathetic.
    As a Steelers fan, I’ll always remember 2011 as the season the “standard” took a serious nosedive.

  38. The idiots that say Dilfer has no credibility or can’t coach because he was only a mediocre quarterback need to stop. Unless you can tell me what positions Bellichick, Walsh, etc. were HOF players at, your arguments against Dilfer are just dumb.

    However, they are no where near as dumb as the statements comparing Manning’s Bronco playoff record to Tebow’s record and suggesting the Broncos would be better with Tebow.

  39. so tired of espn, been done with these fools long before they signed the clown named tebow!

    use to watch this network a ton, not anymore……………

    and at what point will this clown realize that he SUCKS AS A QB!!!!! give it up dummy!

  40. Tebow continues to suffocate us with his false modesty, phoney humility, and plastic humbleness. This guy is a complete meglomaniac who can’t stand not being talked about. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so unworthy of attention getting so much…

  41. So Tebow tries to get into the NFL and we are told here that no team will ever give him a shot. His ship has sailed, the NFL has moved on.

    That may be true.

    But when teams hold tryouts PFT wonders why JaMarcus Russell doesn’t get a try out compared to the desparate cast of characters involved.
    His ship has also sailed, the NFL has moved on.

    Why the different approach?

  42. dwoofer – you are correct when you say “before you say it’s because of his lack of skills, please explain how Jon Kitna, Thad Lewis, Christian Ponder, and Brady Quinn are clearly better than Tebow.”

    However, they problem with having Tebow as a backup is unless they starter is playing great, the fans and sportswriters would be constantly calling for the coach to bench the starter and put Tebow in. No coach wants to go through that.

  43. Gruden isn’t going back to coaching. Why would he? He’s got a cushy gig with good pay & way less hours. Those are hard to come by. And no one takes dilfer seriously outside of the espn bubble.

  44. Let me first say that Tim was a favorite of mine when he was at Florida. I saw Tebowmania first hand in Denver and watched every minute of his play time this summer as a Pats fan.

    That said – the top problem for Tim is not his mechanics, it is his ability to mentally process where to throw the ball. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong, or is just not paying enough attention. The amount of people who can survey the field, predict the defense, remember your own play, move around your players and make a lightning-quick decisions on where to properly throw the ball is very small, even minute. Tim routinely takes in excess of 7-9 seconds to release the ball and that is the #1 issue. No one has a worse throwing motion than Philip Rivers, but because his brain works in hyper-space, it isn’t an issue.

    I am glad he continues to train because I do believe he is a motivational force on a team and if he would try to be a fullback, maybe it could work for him. However, what is so interesting about QB’s is how few people can actually do that job and Tim is proving that if you cannot do the job, no amount of training is going to help. It is a talent business, and he simply does not have the talent to play NFL QB.

    That year in Denver was amazing at times and incredibly frustrating at others. He proved he is the best “backyard” football player in the country and that is all he proved. So, that is where his 8-6 record came from – Backyard, improvised play.

  45. is this how pathetic espn has become? they have to resort to putting the guy on their network and letting him beg for a job? are they in that much need of something to talk about? are they in that much need of ratings?
    pathetic is the only word that describes this

  46. Tim Tebow is being purposefully black-listed from the NFL because Roger Goodell does not want a eternally blessed, super-Christian, starting QB, talking about God & faith all the time – period, end of story. I know many players are Christian but they don’t have near the following that Tebow has and Goodell is uncomfortable with him. Tim’s time with the Jets & Patriots were farces, actually designed to keep him off the field.

  47. It appears that the biggest problem the haters have for Tim Tebow is that they can’t stop criticizing him.

    His success on the field so frustrated them because it ran contrary to their theories about his success. There have been a lot of successful players with poor mechanics..I believe Joe Montana said half the QBs in the league have poor mechanics. Accept the results, quit hating on him…and don’t use his popularity as an excuse to blackball him.

    To say coaches are intimidated by the fans desire to have him play is a cop out. If he wins, it won’t matter. If he loses and it’s his fault…that’s your job to coach. Geno Smith was a joke this year and Rex Ryan had no problem sticking with him…or sticking with Mark Sanchez. It’s hypocrisy, plain and simple.

  48. Never has one man been given so much for doing so little.

    Ironically, conservatives freakin’ love this guy.

  49. “’I’ve been able to understand over the course of the last four or five months what it means to have mechanics, what it means to have footwork, what it means to be able to control your body,’ Tebow says during the piece…’

    Well, I’m glad he’s getting around to figuring that stuff out.

  50. So…. If Tebow were allowed back into the starting lineup of an NFL team and won, it’s because he was a great QB who was blackballed because of his Christian beliefs in an overwhelmingly Christian league. If, by some freaking miracle, Tebow were allowed into the starting lineup of an NFL team and lost, it’s the coaching staff’s fault?

    Got it. Sounds fair.

  51. How the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars feels they are better off without Tebow than with him is beyond me. All he does is win and sell tickets neither of which they do. But hey I am no football expert like all of these folks on TV who have it all figured out.

  52. If memory serves me correct Dilfer won a Super Bowl and Tebow has won a playoff game. What has Dalton won? Oh ya nothing. Yet he is QB for the Bungles.

  53. kimjesamax – still with the “winner” argument? Really?

    The guy was never on a winning team in his short three-year NFL career. Not once.

    He’s 8-8 as a starting qb, 1-1 in the playoffs. Not a winning record.

    At Florida he started for three years and won one championship. ONE.

    If that makes Timmy a “winner” what do you call a guy like Rex Grossman who’s been in the league for 10 years and started a Super Bowl?

  54. Cuda1234:

    Tebow is 8-6 as an NFL regular season starter, and 1-1 in the playoffs. That makes him 9-7. Since 9 is a bigger number then 7, then yes… he is a “winning” qb.

    A couple things:

    He only won ONE National Championship? Wow. That’s terrible.

    And in Denver he took over a 1-4 team and they finished 8-8. That means he had a winning record. Are you blaming him for the 1-4 start?

    And since Rex Grossman is 25-23, then yes. He is considered a winning QB in the NFL.

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