Klosterman on the people who hate Tim Tebow

Chuck Klosterman has a strong piece on the people who hate Tim Tebow. I liked this piece because it inverted the usual structure of the Tebow discussion, which I can summarize as “TEBOWTEBOWTEBOWTEBOWHARFHARFHARF”. (Or, as Spencer Hall has accurately put it: “YOUR STUPID NON-COLLEGE-FOOTBALL-WATCHING RELATIVE SAYS: ‘Oregon has the uniforms and the colors and the things, don’t they? What’s with that? Hey, what do you think of Tim Tebow? ‘Cause I’ve got some real strong opinions I’d like to share.’”) From Klosterman:

The crux here, the issue driving this whole “Tebow Thing,” is the matter of faith. It’s the ongoing choice between embracing a warm feeling that makes no sense or a cold pragmatism that’s probably true. And with Tebow, that illogical warm feeling keeps working out. It pays off. The upside to secular thinking is that — in theory — your skepticism will prove correct. Your rightness might be emotionally unsatisfying, but it confirms a stable understanding of the universe. Sports fans who love statistics fall into this camp. People who reject cognitive dissonance build this camp and find the firewood. But Tebow wrecks all that, because he makes blind faith a viable option. His faith in God, his followers’ faith in him — it all defies modernity. This is why people care so much. He is making people wonder if they should try to believe things they don’t actually believe.

There’s lots here, but I do think it’s right, especially the point about the statistics crowd. The statistics crowd wants everyone to understand just how unlikely it is that Tebow is winning or that he will continue to win; how unorthodox this whole thing is versus the typical pro quarterback; and most of all they — and I really wonder if it is because understanding football requires knowledge on multiple levels and the stats guys don’t really “get” the things that Tebow does well — have a difficult time both appreciating a guy’s performance and results without having to feel like he’s the greatest quarterback ever and will inevitably “change the game” or whatever (Cam Newton and maybe Robert Griffin III are more likely to “change the game” than Tebow).

In any event, I don’t really understand why Tebow is so polarizing, on both sides. As Klosterman says, “Equally bizarre is the way both groups [in the Tebow debate] perceive themselves as the oppressed minority who are fighting against dominant public opinion, although I suppose that has become the way most Americans go through life.” I do know that the stats guys all seem to think Tebow is terrible, while there are almost no coaches I know that don’t respect and root for Tebow. With that group, you hear a lot of “that guy could lead and quarterback my team any time.” Tebow has an awful lot to improve upon if he wants sustained success, but the success he’s had so far is not exactly a mystery.

  • Anonymous

    “raging…immature..reactionary…off the deep end…acquint yourself with the apostrophe…” 
    While your in your English class I will be on the football field.  Stay there-your certainly better suited there than on a football field.  Ooopss…I guess Im acting immature again.  Yeah, Im real “worked up” over Tebow.(look at how many apostrophies Im missing!-thats right!)  Go back and read my post-I was no more worked up than others on here but you try to blast me.  Well,  old men like you should just be content to sit there and be comfortable in your recliner-with your dictionary in your lap of course.  Hows my English on this one teacher? 

  • Jwallace0317

    I think you’re mistaking me for someone else.  I’m not old, I’m 36.  And I played the game in college and coach high school ball now.  Yes, I can be involved in the game of football AND write a correct English sentence, at the same time.  Believe it!  :)

  • Chang

    The great play of the defense? You mean since Tebow took over, right? Because in the first five games of the season they allowed an average of 28 points a game.

  • Chang

    Daniel–please–don’t confuse us with the facts. You’re spoiling the groupthink narrative.

  • srp

    I dislike the modern NFL offenses because they are highly stylized minuets made possible by ridiculously detailed rules. “He was outside the tackle box, so it’s okay if he intentionally grounds the ball.” “No touching that receiver–he’s five yards downfield.” “No fair faceguarding even if you never touch the receiver.” “No hitting that receiver below the waist as he releases.” “Offensive linemen can use their hands–it’s all about wrestling and judo technique.” “You can only hit the quarterback on the arm or torso even if it’s only a millisecond after his release.” (Not to mention the routine non-calling of offensive pass interference even when it is blatant–often on those cheap “back-shoulder” throws where a low push-off to the hip facilitates the receiver’s comeback move.)

    Basically, if you could bring back the 1972 Dolphins defense as they were then, and let them play by the 1972 rules, they would completely stymie today’s NFL offenses. Receivers would be knocked off their timing routes (you sometimes get a taste of this in the playoffs when the officials swallow their whistles on illegal contact), while modern running games are mere vestiges of the sophisticated stuff that used to be routine.

    Offensive linemen all used to have to be able to execute traps, pulls, scoops, cut-offs, drive blocks, power blocks, etc. Time was spent on developing varied techniques. Now we hear about teams that are “zone blocking” teams or “man blocking” teams–they don’t have enough practice time devoted to running to thoroughly learn their trade. 

    Teams rarely fake to one back and hand it off or pitch to another, which I find entertaining and used to be a staple. The passing game is less entertaining to watch on TV because the action unfolds “off-stage.” You don’t see how pass routes work against the defense unless you get an instant replay from a wide-angle view.