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CBS’s newest Tebow hater

A writer at CBS Sports hates Tim Tebow. I’m shocked, shocked!

Why the written rage? (Hint: it isn’t about football…)

Tebow has agreed to speak at a hateful Baptist preacher’s church, an evangelical cretin named Robert Jeffress…

Pump your brakes there, sports boy: “Hateful” and “cretin” don’t go with “evangelical.”

What follows is the real reason for the writer’s angst: all writing, including sports writing, is autobiographical.

Tebow’s religious views are not mine…

So the real reason for the Tim Tebow hate—the same sort of “hate” sports writer deplores—is this: Tebow will be a speaker at a church where the pastor doesn’t hold the same values the writer.

Since sports writer doesn’t approve of the pastor’s thoughts, by extension, Tim Tebow is worthy of all derision. (And by further extension, were Tebow to appear at a prison, sports writer would think he’s a criminal.)

The left tells us tolerance and diversity based on race and gender is a good thing. However, by their words, we can see tolerance and diversity based on differing religious views is a bad thing (unless one is a member of the religion of peace). Opiates of the masses and all that. The left believes the people only need the welfare state as their true opiate and our “free press” as the opiate delivery system.

I would imagine if Tebow had only picked his engagements and issues in a more politically correct manner, sports writer would by good with it. A more PC manner would include (for example) consorting with a domestic terrorist, condemning waterboarding, hanging with Al Sharpton for some fun with smoke and fire, advocating for gun control, homosexuality, abortions, and pre-marital sex, and/or speaking at a Scientology temple.

This sort of diversity—the rigid and disingenuous “diversity” of the left—would make Tim Tebow OK.

Why? Because it would mean he’s one of their own.

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Bronco Fail

You have your Broncombama and he’s a failure.

You have your Denver Broncos, and as it regards their epic loss to the Baltimore Ravens, they’re failures as well. Why? It seemed to be a classic case of poor performance and the dreaded playing-not-to-lose syndrome (PNTLS) causing a team to lose. PNTLS causes winning teams to revert to the mean.

Best observation so far:

… Manning had to make a desperate move, because the Broncos had become a desperate bunch. The very things that turned them into the NFL’s hottest team were the things that disappeared Saturday night. There was no confidence, no risk-taking and definitely a shortage of options. The Broncos had become a team very similar to what they were with Tim Tebow under center, one hoping to find a miracle in the middle of mediocrity.

Yes, last season the Broncos had so few options and such little trust in Tim Tebow that the coaching staff kept him on the shortest and most predictable of all leashes and still, all he did was win, despite the PNTLS. This year, with plenty of Denver offensive upgrades, with the defense on the field far less, and with special teams making far more big plays (combined with the hard to believe ever-worsening of the AFC West), the regular season results were stunning. Meanwhile, on offense, some guys (like Eric Decker) performed far better this year than last, with fewer drops and more big plays.

Manning had an excellent regular season and yet I must ask: would Tim Tebow have made a worse decision/pass on the overtime interception than Manning made? Would Tim Tebow have suffered the ball security issues we saw with Peyton Manning?

Had Manning been playing in a 72 degree, hermetically sealed dome, the possibilities of such indignities would have lessened. But the Broncos lost to the Ravens in the Denver cold. And I believe next year, the Super Bowl will be played in the outdoors, at the Meadowlands.

For the Broncos, they lost at the divisional playoff level, just like last year, and nearly as bad, there are no longer any still-playing teams worth rooting for, only teams to root against.

(Note to the reader: please excuse any typos. I have a layer of ash on my keyboard and it’s difficult to type while wearing sackcloth.)

Tim Tebow, John Fox, and Rex Ryan

Last year, I sensed John Fox had little confidence in Tim Tebow, but he knew Kyle Orton wasn’t the answer and took a chance (that and the massive public clamoring for Tebow). The rest is history.

With the arrival of Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow became as disposable as yesterday’ news and he departed Denver for the bright lights and vague promises of New York. Chances are that John Elway didn’t have much confidence in Tebow either given his desire to sign Manning and therefore, See ya Tim. Good luck and you’re a great guy and all that…

However, with the Jets, Tebow hardly takes a snap (punts excluded). Why is this? Even a blind man could see Mark Sanchez isn’t the answer.

The difference is in coaches. Fox gambled on Tebow and won. Rex Ryan gambled against Tebow and is losing. In fact, Ryan has doubled and tripled-down with Mark Sanchez, hoping against hope that he’ll become a quality NFL quarterback. While the house would normally exercise a margin call on Ryan’s bets, so far it hasn’t happened.

As Lisa Olsen says, the Jets don’t deserve Tim Tebow, perhaps because all he does is win.

Let him play on Sunday. Please.

Why I just became a New York Jets fan

The obnoxious fat guy who’s the Jets’ coach? Forgiven (or better said, ignored).

All he does is win.

Peyton Manning: The Guy Who Destroyed John Elway’s NFL Front-Office Career

If it’s true the Denver Broncos will sign Peyton Manning to be their 2012 quarterback, it will be the move that marks the demise of John Elway’s front-office career.

Restated, Peyton Manning will be to John Elway as Carmelo Anthony was to Mike D’Antoni, only in Elway’s case, the career killing wound will have been self-inflicted rather than top-down directed.

Why?

First, ask what the Colts, who let Manning go, know that the Broncos don’t. The Colts will be casting their lot with Andrew Luck rather than Manning. Was the money an issue? Of course, the money is always an issue. But still, Peyton Manning was the face of the Colts (why he even possesses a bit of a horse head, as does John Elway—the teeth, you know) and the Colts felt more comfortable moving ahead with Luck.

Second, and related to the first, Manning’s neck. How will it hold up, literally?

Third: expectations. This season, the Broncos had a first round playoff win. Think the Manning-led Broncos will do better next season? I don’t.

Fourth: the NFL is known as a copy-cat league, so perhaps Elway views Manning as a copy of himself. But Elway was a gunslinger (when he was good) and Manning was a sniper (especially when working the weather-free confines of Lucas Oil Field, or whatever it’s called). However, John, there’s this thing called time which takes its toll on all things, except, it appears, nostalgia.

Finally, the Broncos will be compelled to end the Tim Tebow experience. And that’s nothing but sad.

John, you may want to begin working on your CV right now for the time (maybe about two years from now) when a collegiate AD position opens up.

The Jeremy Lin Problem?

David Brooks writes an article entitled The Jeremy Lin Problem. The problem with Brooks’ title—and article—is that there is no problem.

The issue (as I’ll call it) according to Brooks’ hypothesis, is that Lin is “a religious person in professional sports” which leads to the “moral ethos of sport” being “in tension with the moral ethos of faith.”

The moral universe of modern sport is oriented around victory and supremacy. The sports hero tries to perform great deeds in order to win glory and fame. It doesn’t really matter whether he has good intentions. His job is to beat his opponents and avoid the oblivion that goes with defeat.

The modern sports hero is competitive and ambitious. (Let’s say he’s a man, though these traits apply to female athletes as well). He is theatrical. He puts himself on display.

He is assertive, proud and intimidating. He makes himself the center of attention when the game is on the line. His identity is built around his prowess. His achievement is measured by how much he can elicit the admiration of other people — the roar of the crowd and the respect of ESPN.

His primary virtue is courage — the ability to withstand pain, remain calm under pressure and rise from nowhere to topple the greats.

That’s where Brooks’ athletic analogy goes off the rails. Rather, an athlete’s primary virtue is an ability to perform the skills required for the sport being executed.

This is what we go to sporting events to see. This sporting ethos pervades modern life and shapes how we think about business, academic and political competition.

But there’s no use denying — though many do deny it — that this ethos violates the religious ethos on many levels. The religious ethos is about redemption, self-abnegation and surrender to God.

At this point, Brooks’ theology has also departed the building. Without attempting to cherry-pick Scripture (emphasis added below), there is 1 Corinthians 10:31: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I think sports fall in the “whatever you do” category.

How about Colossians 3:17? And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Again, sports can be considered under the umbrella of “whatever you do.”

Or 1 Peter 4:11? If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. Yes, “in all things” does include sports.

Ascent in the sports universe is a straight shot. You set your goal, and you climb toward greatness. But ascent in the religious universe often proceeds by a series of inversions: You have to be willing to lose yourself in order to find yourself; to gain everything you have to be willing to give up everything; the last shall be first; it’s not about you.

For many religious teachers, humility is the primary virtue. You achieve loftiness of spirit by performing the most menial services. (That’s why shepherds are perpetually becoming kings in the Bible.) You achieve your identity through self-effacement. You achieve strength by acknowledging your weaknesses. You lead most boldly when you consider yourself an instrument of a larger cause.

The most perceptive athletes have always tried to wrestle with this conflict. Sports history is littered with odd quotations from people who try to reconcile their love of sport with their religious creed — and fail.

Ah, I like that part better but Brooks still fails to grasp that sports is not life, nor is it “religion” (except perhaps for SEC football. I also suspect one of the NFL’s goals is to make itself as much a religion as SEC football).

Jeremy Lin has wrestled with this tension quite openly. In a 2010 interview with the Web site Patheos, Lin recalled, “I wanted to do well for myself and my team. How can I possibly give that up and play selflessly for God?”

Lin says in that interview that he has learned not to obsess about stats and championships. He continues, “I’m not working hard and practicing day in and day out so that I can please other people. My audience is God. … The right way to play is not for others and not for myself, but for God. I still don’t fully understand what that means; I struggle with these things every game, every day. I’m still learning to be selfless and submit myself to God and give up my game to Him.”

The odds are that Lin will never figure it out because the two moral universes are not reconcilable….

I disagree. It seems Lin (along with Tim Tebow and plenty of others) has figured it out quite nicely.

Jeremy Lin is now living this creative contradiction. Much of the anger that arises when religion mixes with sport or with politics comes from people who want to deny that this contradiction exists and who want to live in a world in which there is only one morality, one set of qualities and where everything is easy, untragic and clean. Life and religion are more complicated than that.

“Anger”? Where’s the anger we see in ‘mixing’ religion with sports or politics, David? The anger I see is that aimed towards Biblical Christianity, Jews around the world, and Israel by secularists and other religions. It may have a lot to do with politics (and power), but it has nothing to do with sport.

Tebow Mania

Tebow fevah: catch it!