By Paul Hughes
Special to Inside The Pew
If Tim Tebow never plays another down as an NFL quarterback it won’t be because he can’t. It will be because they say he can’t.
I don’t even say “because they think he can’t,” since thinking — actually assessing the data they have in front of them — hasn’t been much involved here.
And the bottom line of that data, the evidence people so often claim they “need” before they can “know” what to do, is that when Tebow plays, his teams win.
This has been the flat out facts since before high school for the man, who’s now approaching five years out of college.
But because he doesn’t play what and how they think he should play, and they are in charge, they will continue to ignore those facts.
Despite our vaunted “rugged individualism” and supposedly believing in bootstraps and quality, we Americans actually have a long history of living as if might makes right, and that whoever is in nominal, public, and visible charge has that might.
And is therefore right.
So if the New England Patriots — who just plucked the man out of oblivion — play him in a different role it will be seen as vindicating that pre-conceived, pre-judged (i.e. prejudiced), and unproven notion, that he can’t play quarterback.
Some news stories indicated that Tebow would now be open to playing a new position, where he had in previous instances apparently declined this.
Perhaps he was committed to what he wanted, to what he believed was the correct and only way to do something, and perhaps to a fault. But now fullback or tight end seems open again.
And he may get the chance: Last week, we learned police want to talk to a Patriots receiver; he’s entering some legal trouble, which would affect his availability to play football. A second player has had multiple surgeries.
Perhaps that was the team’s idea all along, since they surely would have known such a need was beginning to churn. Training for a new season, they’d seek someone who knows how to play the game.
Tebow was in Nowheresville.
The team was hedging bets.
He’d become available.
A match was made.
So Tom Brady may be throwing to Tebow — in the same division as the New York Jets and the same conference as the Denver Broncos. The Patriots have epic rivalries with both these teams.
Recent reports have indicated tight end is not an option. But when the Patriots signed Tebow, someone asked Coach Bill Belichick what position he’d play. His response was, “We’ll see.”
A more likely scenario has Tim Tebow available at the right price — no guaranteed cash and the league minimum for two years if he makes the team — simply to bolster their quarterback ranks.
Meantime the Jets jerked Tebow around all last season. They may be paying for that one — and in more ways than one — for the next couple years.
But undeniably, we live in interesting football times, my friends.
In fact, interesting times are commonly a result when one’s cherished pre-conceptions don’t jibe with truth. As Zig Ziglar used to say, we’re like a cross-eyed discuss thrower: we don’t set many records but we do keep the crowd alert.
We’ll have to endure the crowing by the naysayers, convinced they were right about Tim Tebow — when they had decided beforehand, stacked the deck against him, refused the plain proof, and now may have the opportunity to say, “We told you so.”
But we’ve endured worse.
And Tebow has lived in it.
And anyway, it will be fun to see a situation develop where what’s actually happening is what’s been said all along: that Tebow can play, and should play, and will win if he does. Because that, exactly, is what has happened when a team actually, you know, tries it.
In the little ebook I wrote when Tebow was producing the proof while playing for the Broncos, one point was that Tebow would pick up somewhere, with somebody, that could, somehow, see this — and know what no one else would even look at: the simple bottom line results that when Tebow was allowed to play by the powers-that-be, he certainly could play professional football, and his teams won.
And this is a team sport, right?
Here it is in the form of a proof:
When Tim Tebow plays, his teams win.
His team is the New England Patriots.
If they let him play, they will win, too.
Even if it’s not what anybody thought it would look like in the end.
Paul Hughes is a writer in Southern California. The ebook is Tebow: Throwing Stones.