The Tim Tebow criticism, at times, gets out of control. When the media piles on, it’s kind of expected, but when Tebow is so bad, that his opponents outright mock him during the game (as seen by Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch Tebowing Tebow after Tulloch sacked Tebow on Sunday), it’s clearly time to think about pulling back.
But if you were in the Lions locker room following Detroit’s 45-10 pounding of Denver, the criticism wasn’t close to ending. In fact, it was rather harsh.
“Can you believe ‘15’?” one Detroit Lions defender told Yahoo Sports’ Michael Silver. “Come on -- that’s embarrassing. I mean, it’s a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn’t do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, ‘Come on -- that’s your quarterback? Seriously?’”
Which, frankly, is some stunning disrespect. While we try to criticize Tebow in a way that’s playful -- I certainly don’t have anything against the man, and I think his character and goodwill are a credit to the NFL -- we try not to be outright mean. That anonymous Lions player was outright mean.
Clearly, he’s not ready. Clearly, that’s not all his fault. But the criticism continues, and considering he’s on a $9.7125 million contract, he’s ripe for it. But not all of it is fair.
Why, though, such vitriol from his fellow players? Well, Silver has a theory.
However -- and this is a big however -- there’s a glaring disconnect between many fans’ assessment of Tebow’s status as a wholesome winner and the way many NFL players process his presence. To some, the notion that Tebow somehow pushes harder or taps into a higher power than they do is insulting. The NFL is full of maniacally driven grinders who’ve overcome incredible odds to reach the pinnacle of their profession, and many of them are clean-living and well-mannered, too.
While few NFL players seem to have a problem with Tebow on a personal level, I know plenty who are put off by the mythology and the holier-than-thou fan base that lionizes his every accomplishment and perceives negative depictions of his ability through a persecution-complex-tinted prism.
Silver makes a good point, and with the way Tulloch and Lions tight end Tony Scheffler, who mocked the Tebowing phenomena by posing after a touchdown catch, mocked him, that hypothesis can’t be off base.
Yet, it’s unfortunate that his players have to be so mean. After all, most of them haven’t faced the kind of national criticism and ridicule Tebow is currently experiencing. It’s just too bad that Tebow’s grace has been turned against him.
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