“I Hate Tim Tebow”
I Twittered those words last night, sitting in a rain-soaked Mile High Stadium finally fed up with the 18th series of boo’s coming down and the 10th chants of Tebow that started no sooner than halfway through the 2nd quarter of the first game of the 2011 season. So I posted the following to Twitter:
I hate Tim Tebow – and it’s because of all you jackasses at this game that chant his name. What about him drives you to boo your own team?
So I rang that bell – and I can’t un-ring it. Since then I’ve engaged in some Twitter discussion with Tebow supporters – some of them friends & family – about my comments and what spurred them. While I can’t put this toothpaste back in the tube, I feel like I need more than 140 characters to explain what I said, and why I wrote what I did:
“I Hate* Tim Tebow**”
* ”Hate” is a strong word, but it’s important to understand Sports Hate vs. Real Hate. Because of the affiliation nature of sports, you have the ability to hate a player for what they do on the field, or you hate that they’re on a team that you rival. You don’t hate the person personally, or want anything bad to happen to them or their family – you just don’t want to see them do great in sports at that moment.
** In the case of Tim Tebow, I don’t have a problem with Tim as a player or as a guy. He’s a charismatic athlete who has found success in a conventional game through unconventional ways – it’s easy to understand why people gravitate to him and root passionately for him. At the same time, Tebow has (unintentionally) bred an aura of mal-content and distrust amongst Broncos fans against the coaches, management and team in general. Over the years as we have watched the team suffer some fallbacks, it seems that fandom has taken a turn for the worse. Once unconditional supporters, Broncos fans have now become fickle, ready to turn on their team with a series of boo’s after every bad play.
This is nails on a chalk-board for me. There are very few exceptions, but generally you should never boo your own team at home! Last night when the game started, I commented to my wife that there was a great sense of energy in the stadium that hasn’t been felt for some time – that all lasted all of 1.5 quarters, when the boo’s rang down amongst the stands after an interception was thrown. A steady stream of boo’s persisted for the rest of the game, much like the rain that fell throughout the night. The boo’s then degenerated into chants of “Te-bow, Te-bow” throughout the third and fourth quarter. In the storied South Stands, fans started to turn on each other, with one fan profanely ripping into a guy for saying Orton should get the benefit of the doubt.
I hate to say it, but last night the Raider fans showed more class towards their team. It was no surprise that they egged on Broncos fans that chanted for Tebow. Why not root for the continued fracturing of fanbase of your rival?
I realize Tebow didn’t ask for this (at least not directly – Tebow has no shortage of endorsements, public appearances, and has written memoires at the age of 23). Tebow didn’t ask to be drafted in the first round. Tebow didn’t ask to play for John Fox and John Elway. Tebow didn’t ask to sit on the bench while his team is struggling – I get all that. What I don’t think Tebow fans get though is that putting him in isn’t going to solve all of your problems. John Fox and his staff have forgotten more about football than most fans know. As fans we have a right to second-guess the coaches, but in the first game in the first season: the coaches deserve the benefit of the doubt. They feel Tebow isn’t the right guy to play in this situation, we should accept that. If you don’t agree with that – fine, then don’t cheer Orton – but to boo the guys that put their health on the line to ultimately entertain you – that’s classless.
The problem I have with Tebow is that his presence is turning a segment of Broncos fans into Tebow fans, who couldn’t care less about the state of the team. All that matters to them is to see their guy play. Nevermind the other 44 players on the team. Nevermind that Tebow is currently the 3rd-string QB after a training camp where he seems to have regressed in his performance.
Orton shares in some of the blame for last night’s loss, but there’s plenty of it to go around. Orton didn’t make the running backs anemic in their 38 yard performance. Orton didn’t commit 6 holding penalties on the offensive line. Orton didn’t drop passes. Orton didn’t let the Raiders rush for nearly 200 years last night. Tebow is not going to make all of this better.
I realize that I’m extremely fortunate to be able to attend home games, and that there are people far more deserving than I that don’t get to go, but it’s not fun going to the games anymore – not because we’re losing, but because being completely infatuated with a single player, the fans have lost sight in what it means to support their team.