March 19, 2012
Should Tebow-Mania Head Our Way?
BY: Bob George/BosSports.net
The Red Sox have Kevin Fowler. Do the Patriots now have Rich Mullins?
Fowler became an unwitting symbol of the decline of the 2011 Red Sox after a C&W video of his came out which featured the entire starting rotation in brief snippets. The now-infamous song, Hell Yeah, I Like Beer, seemed to encapsulate the mentality of the Red Sox clubhouse, which became more known for drinking beer and eating fried chicken on the clock than anything else, including clutch September baseball. The Red Sox jettisoned Terry Francona, brought in Bobby Valentine, and now alcohol is banned from the Red Sox clubhouse.
Now the Patriots have a chance at "their song", and we don't mean The Hey Song or Beautiful Day.
Peyton Manning, the erstwhile quarterback of the Colts and the most heralded free agent in the sporting world this side of LeBron James, seems to have chosen the Denver Broncos as his next landing spot. If this becomes official, as it appears to be (five years, $95 million is the supposed value of the contract), then Tim Tebow, arguably the most talked about NFL player of the previous season, would become instantly expendable.
Tebow would perhaps do very well to head back to the state of his collegiate years, and both Jacksonville and Miami would welcome him with open arms. But there are also rumours out there that have Tebow heading to New England, as Bill Belichick reportedly coveted him when he was available in the draft, and Josh McDaniels, the returning Patriot offensive coordinator and the previous Broncos head coach, was the one who drafted him.
And this is where Mullins comes in.
In what has become an NFL Films sound byte that is right up there with Vince Lombardi's "Grab, grab, grab!", Lou Saban's "Why do we do that?!" and Jerry Glanville's "This is the NFL, as in Not For Long!", Tebow was caught singing along with a stadium recording of Mullins' cover of the classic gospel song Our God Is An Awesome God. Many Boston media outlets now play this recording, along with Tebow singing along, when the subject of the former Florida Gator quarterback comes up.
For most people who believe in Christianity, the song is both uplifting and refreshing. But for Joe Average Patriot Fan, it may engender adverse thoughts and feelings. Like, for example, is Tebow being groomed as the successor to Tom Brady? Or, will Brady finally get the peace and quiet he perhaps craves off the field because all the spotlight will be on Tebow no matter what?
Do this. Go to your computer, open YouTube and find the Mullins song. Play it. Let it clear your mind. Then sit down and figure out how badly you want Tebow in a Patriot uniform. We already did, and without having to play the song to do it.
Let's be perfectly clear: If Tebow comes to New England, it should not be with the intent to become quarterback of the Patriots. He should be the next Dan Klecko. Or another Aaron Hernandez (the backfield version, not the receiving version). Or maybe even the next Ronnie Brown, the Miami running back who sprang the Wildcat on the Patriots in that infamous 2008 game at Foxborough.
But he cannot be the next Tom Brady, not that there ever will be. Ryan Mallett is the successor to Brady, not Tebow. Period.
If Belichick and McDaniels bring in Tebow to groom him to replace Brady and then deal Mallett, the Patriots are taking a huge gamble. Maybe Belichick can actually transform Tebow into a prime stud NFL quarterback. But getting lucky and grabbing a few wins in 2011 does not guarantee a long and prosperous career in the NFL for Tebow, who has bad NFL mechanics and succeeds only because defenses have to account for his ability to run with the football.
The Patriots tried to make a fullback out of Klecko some years back. It partially succeeded, but Klecko didn't fully assimilate all the aspects of the position. Hernandez showed a ton of promise late in the 2011 season as a halfback, and torched the Broncos in the AFC Divisional Game with runs out of the backfield the defense could not account for.
The Wildcat, something the Patriots have never really run in the past, is intriguing if Tebow is at the helm. Tebow, who unsuccessfully tried to bring the option offense to the NFL, might work well in a Wildcat package if the Patriots can set it up properly with men in motion and good blocking packages.
In any case, Tebow best suits the Patriots in an offensive package which utilizes him as a runner, especially to the outside, an area where the Patriots usually don't excel. The Patriot rushing attack, or what passes off as such, usually is a between the tackles deal based on power, and end runs are usually not the right way to go. With Tebow in there, it could spread the linebackers to the point where short in-cut routes open up if they have to respect Tebow in end runs.
But to anoint Tebow as the successor to Brady and then deal Mallett is not prudent thinking and a bad gamble based upon incorrect assumptions regarding Tebow's NFL potential. The option offense works great at Florida and all throughout college football, but it stinks in the NFL. Defensive players are simply too fast and can get to the edges much quicker than most college defenders can. College football is littered with halfbacks and wideouts who can fly through slow defensive linemen and linebackers. In the NFL, that simply does not happen.
Mallett, who like Brady has Michigan pedigree (he was forced to transfer to Arkansas when Lloyd Carr retired and Rich Rodriguez came in), will eventually slide in and assume the offensive throttle. That will be some years from now, as Brady, who will be 35 this August, shows no signs of ending his career. Tebow will not start here for some time even if he was going to supplant Mallett as the next quarterback of the Patriots. If that does not sit well with Tebow and if he does not agree to tailoring his skills to fit the Patriots, then Tebow needs to be shipped off to Florida and not here.
But it is nice whimsy for now. Tebow, a devout Christian who is unabashed in his expression of his faith, adds a nice spice to the mix with his religious angle. But lots of athletes are overtly dedicated to their Almighty, and tell you such in television interviews all the time. Still, Tebow getting caught singing Awesome God is classic, and media outlets will be all over it for the foreseeable future.
But having Awesome God as the new area sports anthem? Heck, this region is still loyal to the Dropkick Murphys and is still mad at Fowler with that summer neck ditty last year which featured Josh Beckett and John Lackey in front of the Green Monster, among others. Most folks would rather listen to Mullins than Fowler, but not because of Tebow as their quarterback.
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