|McDaniels drafting Tebow was widely panned, but two years later it looks like a smart move. (US Presswire)|
An idiot wrote the following in April 2010 while reporting from the draft: "Every year, there is a team that puts on a clown suit and makes a fool of itself in the NFL Draft. Often, it's the Raiders. This year, it was the Denver Broncos, who were bamboozled by the man with the straight smile and crooked delivery."
The idiot was me and the draftee was Tim Tebow.
Now, I wasn't alone in my buffoonery. McDaniels drafting Tebow in the first round with the 25th pick was lambasted from coast to coast. Everyone ripped the pick: NFL scouts, coaches, personnel men, the State Department, goats, sheep, those mystical creatures that live under bridges. Everyone.
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In the end, a myriad of things got McDaniels fired. He attempted to create Patriots West. He tried to be Bill Belichick when there is only one. McDaniels treated people within the organization poorly, wasn't well liked by players, and it was thought his uber-controlling ways led to horrible drafts. Tebow was supposedly Exhibit A.
But now, with years of hindsight, even the most ardent of Tebow haters has to admit McDaniels was right, and Tebow draft doubters like myself -- like almost everyone -- were wrong.
Can Tebow continue his success long term? Maybe not. But keep in mind, in Tebow's second year (along with a solid defense and running game), he has the Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs and just beat one of the storied franchises in football.
A first-round pick at quarterback is supposed to be a franchise player. We still don't know if Tebow is that, but if McDaniels had stayed as coach, he likely would have designed a similar offense (and maybe a better one) for Tebow some time ago. In other words, the offense we see Tebow running might have been run at the beginning of this season or even last season.
McDaniels likely would have allowed Tebow to throw the ball more, coached him better, and believed in him more -- because he drafted Tebow.
McDaniels was involved in a nasty videotaping scandal in which the team's video director taped a 49ers walkthrough practice. That incident, of course, played a role in McDaniels' firing, but it was the then-lambasted selection of Tebow that was one of the bigger issues.
All along, McDaniels might have been right and the rest of the football world wrong.
Amazing, isn't it?
2. One more thing on McDaniels. There are some in the NFL who have privately expressed outrage the Patriots hired the former Broncos coach the same week they played McDaniels' old team. And, of course, this is silly. Bill Belichick and McDaniels remained close after McDaniels left the Patriots. Whether Belichick put McDaniels on the payroll, Belichick would still get all the information he needed about the Broncos with a simple phone call to McDaniels. Coaches do this sort of thing all the time. Coaches and players give up intelligence on old teams to new teams every day of every week of every year in the NFL. Any notion the Patriots are cheating is silly.
"They were a mess," Mason told Scout.com. "It was a cluster-you-know-what. You don't see stuff like this, it's not the norm. Before I left, you could see it materializing. Things heated up. If I was the problem, it would have stopped. If I was the guy complaining, it would have stopped. I wasn't the cancer in the locker room."
It's not an unfair point. It's clear now the Jets used Mason as a scapegoat. In the end, Mason leaves having had a nice career: 15 seasons, 943 catches for 12,061 yards and 66 touchdowns. Not terrible at all.
4. Some in the league already believe Aaron Rodgers has passed Brett Favre in terms of skill. I don't. Not enough body of work (yet). I don't even like Favre (selfish phony), yet what he accomplished over 20 NFL season -- twenty -- remains remarkable. Among the records he holds are most career touchdown passes, most career passing yards, most career pass completions, most career pass attempts, most consecutive starts by a player, most consecutive starts by a quarterback, and most career victories as a starting quarterback. That is, I mean, good God, that is remarkable.
Nonetheless, if Rodgers wins a second Super Bowl it will be impossible to keep the Rodgers-better-than-Favre army from growing rapidly.
5. Critics of Troy Polamalu -- I'm looking at you, Pete Prisco -- received plenty of ammunition after his performance against the Broncos. I'm a huge Polamalu guy, but even I can't overlook how he was compromised during pass coverage. Tim Tebow, of all quarterbacks, burned the dandruff shampoo out of Polamalu's curls.
6. I'm guessing the NFL will change its pass-interference rules this offseason. It's rare to see team executives, coaches, players, the media and fans all in agreement on anything, yet everyone agrees the rules as currently constructed are an absolute joke.
7a. Champ of the week: Tim Tebow. Keeps proving people like me wrong. Not much more to say than that.
7b. Chump of the week: Reggie McKenzie. Will probably end up as a terrific general manager, but his first move in this capacity was to fire Hue Jackson after only one year as head coach.
7c. Tweet of the week: "thanks for the support guys!...allhailthepack!" From the probable next coach of the Oakland Raiders, Winston Moss, the current assistant head coach for the Packers.
8. Many in the league were stunned when Jay Gruden, the offensive coordinator for the Bengals, removed his name as a candidate for head coaching positions. Stunned because it was one of the few times an assistant showed loyalty to his organization instead of acting in his own self-interest. Gruden was hired out of the Arena League and is certainly grateful for being with an organization with a potential star at quarterback and a playoff team instead of watching footballs bounce off stadium walls. It's one of the few times I've seen a young assistant show this kind of loyalty.
10. I'm told, for now, that no NFL team has expressed interest in Terrell Owens. However, Randy Moss continues to get a few calls on occasion, I'm told. Moss has said no to the suitors. So far. By the way, a true sign the Mayans were right: Moss has a Twitter account, which was quickly followed by several fake Moss accounts.