By Paul M. Banks
In the modern age of media, no college athlete has ever been as unjustly deified as Tim Tebow. The only other collegiate jock the press has come even remotely close to undeservedly lionizing is Tyler Hansbrough. And on Tuesday night, in New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel, the University of Florida quarterback recognized the way college football networks have fawned over him these past four years.
Tebow was awarded (like they were going to give it to anyone else?) the 20th William V. Campbell Trophy, formerly the Draddy Trophy, given annually to the NFF’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.Tebow took time in his acceptance speech to thank both ESPN and CBS for their coverage of college football, and made special mention of the dedicated efforts of CBS’s Craig Silver and ESPN’s Chris Fowler (two of Tebow’s biggest de facto PR flaks).
“What you do does not go unnoticed,” Tebow said. “I want to thank you for all you have done for me, for the University of Florida and for all of college football.”
I could not agree with Tebow more: the work of Chris Fowler (who emceed the event) certainly does not go unnoticed. Especially his LSU-Florida postgame report. Fowler literally referred to Tebow as “Superman” on the air and devoted what seemed like 90% of his game coverage to telling us what a model American Tim Tebow is. Or pretty much the exact script for every CBS and ESPN broadcast of a Florida Gators football game these past four years. However, Fowler took it up another notch that night stating, “I know some people out there are having Tim Tebow fatigue…” and I got excited thinking there was finally going to be some balance in Tebow coverage, but instead Fowler lightly and subtly implied that anyone with Tebow fatigue is football sac-religious, and a heretical heathen in their gridiron fandom.
What Fowler needs to realize is that the Tebow fatigue comes LESS from Tebow himself than from people like HIM!
The legions of people sick of Tebow, that borderline HATE him, don’t do so because he’s such a bad guy or annoying. It’s because of the media’s over-the-top and pathetic man-crush on him. Tebow was just simply expressing his gratitude for all the favorable press he’s received during his college career. The University of Florida Sports Information Department themselves could not gush over Tebow as badly as the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network has.
Tebow has won so many games because he’s had arguably the best defense in the nation on his side these past four years. In April, four starters on Florida’s defense will likely go in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. That’s right, more than a 1/3 of his defense will likely not just get drafted by the NFL, but the first round! And how many of them can you name? Can you name any?
And the reason college football fans (who are not quite college football geeks) know so little about Carlos Dunlap, Joe Haden, Brandon Spikes, and Jermaine Cunningham is because hearing about them would detract from the media’s Tebow lovefest.
On this same day, at this same event, the College Football Hall of Fame inducted it’s 2009 class. It included former superstar quarterbacks Major Harris and Gino Torretta. You may not have heard much about the professional football careers of Harris and Torretta. Today, they’re in the same group with names like Jason White, Josh Heupel, Major Applewhite, Tommie Frazier, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke, Craig Krenzel, Ken Dorsey. At one time all were bigger-than-life collegiate quarterbacks. All of them went on to do nothing of note in the professional game.
Mr. Tebow, your seat at this table will soon open up.
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