Back in April, I had a great time with the totally over-the-top reaction Yahoo Sports scribe Les Carpenter to the Hunk of Burning Awesomeness that is Tim Tebow. Or as Les put it, "A man whose life is filled with stories of a goodness so rare and pure in an athlete it is hard to imagine that he could be for real." That's a real quote, ladies and gents.
In August, in dedicating an entire column to what ended up being a very minor injury, Carpenter wrote, "There is something hypnotic about Tim Tebow that makes otherwise sensible football people grow weak. He stands poised, shaking hands with palms that could break granite. He smiles, never using first names. It’s always “Mister” and “Ma’am.” It makes them want to believe."
It seemed at that point that one of those sensible football people could well indeed include the author himself.
It continued today, with an article entitled, "Tebow Draws Fans Like No Other In NFL". I can't think of the last time a non-starting quarterback who has never taken a snap in a real NFL game had this much ink spilled over him, and it is ridiculous. Carpenter is hardly the only offender, but he's producing some of the most effusive material; to the point where it almost seems like very subtle satire.
And the fans he interviews--well, I've been sitting here reading it again and again, and I don't know whether Carpenter is picking up people specifically for my derision and/or pity, or whether he really finds these stories redeeming in some way.
There's the woman who apparently sums up the rest of the NFL as full of "gunfights and murders and dogfights." Hey lady, Kyle Orton is the starting QB, and he's never done any of that stuff. He's been known to drink some booze, but so was Jesus!
There's the guy who apparently met some folks from Colorado while hiking, and decided that was a sign from God to fly to Denver and get a job working at Tim Tebow's foundation. He doesn't have the job yet, but somehow this is held up as not completely insane behavior. But it totally is.
My favorite quote is about the big tent of fandom that Tebow is creating: "But Tebow’s fan base goes beyond those who share his faith. “I’m Catholic and he’s Christian. We couldn’t be farther apart,” said Don Tehan of Denver."
Couldn't be further apart? I can come up with a few hundred million Hindus who might disagree with that sentiment. And again, the quote is just offered up as if it is obviously true and not at all strange. I honestly can't tell whether Les Carpenter agrees with me that these stories are ridiculous, and he's just passing them on with a straight face, or whether he believes as this woeful collection of folks seem to--that there's something just that special about Tim Tebow. As far as I can tell, he's the Sarah Palin of the NFL. Les Carpenter might think that is a compliment, but I'll be clear--I don't mean it as such.