Preps Talk

Tebow-verload

Tebow-verload

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

You never can get too much of a good thing can you? After all, we are in the season of over-indulgence. Yours truly is in the middle of it on different fronts. There are the gifts for the kids, which make me wonder if this is a holiday or a reason for the wife to see how much credit we have. Also, theres the work holiday parties. As Ive said many times, there is a reason why certain people dont socialize together -- because they shouldnt! The uncomfortable feeling that one gets from being forced to spend time with people that they normally wouldnt spend time with, should not make them drink until they cant see straight. You should save that for the family gatherings! (Kidding, of course! Sort of.)

Aside from feeling like you got hit over the head by a two-by-four when you wake in the morning, the endless snickers that you are going to hear in the workplace cant be much fun, unless that was the problem in the first place, then its the same-old, same-old. None the less, dont be that guygirl! Remember people, when you are at a bar, there is a professional behind that bar to make sure that you know when to say when, so listen!

The thing that seems to be getting to the saturation point though, at least with the customers at the bar, is the Tebow-mania that is gripping the nation. Not that I can blame them with the way the game played out on Sunday, they got Tebow-ed when they never saw it coming. But then thats the point. From what weve all been told, this never should happen. Ever! Especially not in the NFL.

Tebow broke into the national scene as a backup quarterback on the Florida Gators national champions in 2006. He passed for a touchdown and ran for one in the title game against Ohio State. In a harbinger of things to come, he was also the teams second leading rusher for the season. In 2007 he was truly ridiculous as he accounted for 55 touchdowns, 32 passing and 23 rushing. Are you kidding me? He easily won the Heisman and led his Gators to a bowl victory while wearing a cast on his right (non-Tebow-ing) hand. To say that he created a mania in an already crazed SEC, would be as understated as I can get. He also started the whispers from the non-believers.

Football experts questioned his limited NFL skill-set, while even more pointedly, a lot were put off by his personal beliefs of which he was, and still is, a little too willing to share. Wearing biblical verses on your eye-black, is not about being shy, and pardon the pun, is about as in-your-face as you can get, thus started the lovehate emotions that he has stoked on a national level. The next year was when it became over-the-top. After a shocking 31-30 loss to Ole Miss in week four, he went on a post-game rant on how hard he would work not to let something like that happen again. Of course, Florida did not lose another game that season, winning the National Title Game against Oklahoma. It was during that game, that I personally became nauseous with broadcaster Thom Brennamans constant gushing over Tebows almighty qualities.

That is the game and event that drew the line-in-the-sand for Tebow followers and detractors. Folks can accept most things, as long as it isnt shoved down their throats. Its nice to be able to make up your own mind, but when you are constantly told how great someone is, doesnt it annoy you? All right already, I get it! I could spend three days talking about the divisiveness that can be created by religion, but we arent here for that. Like the bar, I also try to avoid the religion and politics here in cyberspace. Try. But almost any conversation about him includes mention of his beliefs, in part because he cant seem to utter ten sentences without mentioning them. So now like religion or politics, the Tebow conversation is eliciting a ton of emotion in the discussions that I listen to, or participate in.

My take though, is that I tune that part out. While I dont have a problem with his beliefs, I just dont know that I should know every inch of them while I watch a football game. I also understand in the socialviral media world that we live in, that is never going to happen. I mean, are blogging bartenders out there for crying out loud! So, when he talks, I just use earmuffs and he can say whatever he wants! (Think Will Ferrell in Old School.) Honestly, theres nothing we have to listen to, or read, if we dont want to.

That aside, what really fascinates me is the venom that seems to possess some in their football analysis. In the premiere issue of the NFL Magazine, they decided to capitalize on the phenomenon and booted Cam Newton from the cover so that they could feature their new fair-haired child. In a typical move, contributor Boomer Esiason, took this opportunity to take umbrage with Tebows quarterbacking skills. I guess he didnt learn from his Marinoville comment of a few years ago. But in a rush to be the definitive voice, why wait until the votes are in? Who cares if hes 7-1 this year?

While Ill admit, his throwing motion is beyond awful, especially when viewed from behind, when are we ever going to learn that it isnt always about form. Ever watch Jim Furyks swing? Even Joe Montana had to listen to the naysayers when he entered the league about his lack of velocity on his throws, although I doubt he could hear it over the racket caused by his four Super Bowl rings.

Now Im not even about to go there with Tebow, or any other QB after 11 career starts, but Im not about to say he cant either. Not when this kid has done nothing but win his whole life. I get it that the age where a Bobby Douglass clone can achieve long-term success is probably long gone, but this is a bigger, stronger Bobby Douglass whose strength and toughness would make Steve Austin feel like a wuss. (No, not the wrestler, somebody people my advanced age remember!) (Did I just go over the Brennaman line?!) I keep hearing that the league will figure him out, but did Rex Ryan? Lovie? When the game was on the line, both of those gurus defenses wilted. (Lovies team had many other issues, but I digress.)

So while I agree some of this has gotten out of control, Im just going to be an NFL fan and enjoy it for what it is: An improbable, fun, cool ride. The future is guaranteed to none of us. This includes Tebow, since John Elway, the Broncos V.P. of Football Operations, has refused to discuss his QB plans for the future, and has only recently, grudgingly gotten aboard the Tebow Express. And because of these people not believing in him, (His own front office!) makes me enjoy it even more. (Yes, even here, I can find a cynical slant!) This has been the year of the improbable. From the Packers in the Super Bowl, to the Cardinals in the World Series and Tony Stewart in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, (A NASCAR reference?) weve watched champions come from the depths where they were considered afterthoughts. But something they shared with Tebowlicious is easy to see: Belief. Belief in themselves, and in those around them to achieve beyond their, and the non-believers, wildest dreams. In a season of over-indulgence, I think thats something that all of us could use more of.

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

High School Lites had a busy show as it was the final week of the regular season for IHSA boys basketball Class 3A and 4A. The Class 1A and 2A playoffs also tipped in boys basketball as the show has some thrilling regional titles that were decided in the final minute. And finally, the girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals were played on Friday as the state's top teams played in Bloomington.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for the latest news and scores for IHSA basketball.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Richards wrestler Mia Palumbo

Saint Xavier Team of the Week: Simeon boys basketball

Highlights

Marshall shocks Leo in Class 2A regional final

Aurora Christian runs past Harvert Christian for 1A regional title

Buzzer-beater lifts Monticello over Gibson City for regional title

Jacobs goes unbeaten in Fox Valley with win over Dundee-Crown

West Aurora gets by rival East Aurora

Yorkville completes season sweep of DeKalb

Lemont escapes past T.F. North

Marshall needs OT to get past Teutopolis in girls 2A semifinals

Harlan takes down Eureka in 2A semifinals

Stockton runs by Okaw Valley in 1A

Schlarman races by Lebanon

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. One big reunion.

The Blackhawks will square off with the Blue Jackets for the first time since Oct. 7, which was the second game of the season. In that game, they won 5-1 led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, each of whom scored a goal and added an assist.

Of course, that was the first game since the offseason trade that sent Artemi Panarin to Columbus and Saad back to Chicago, along with Anton Forsberg. Artem Anisimov, of course, was part of the original deal that sent Saad to Columbus in 2015, so there are a lot of emotional ties between the two teams.

Forsberg didn't get a chance to face the Blue Jackets in the first meeting, but there's a chance he will this time with it being the second of a back-to-back and Jean-Francois Berube getting the start in Friday's 3-1 win over San Jose.

2. Panarin and Kane bromance.

The emotions of a difficult break-up have probably died down by now, but Panarin and Kane gave us this moment at center ice during pregame warmups in their first game against each other and it hit Chicago right in the feels:

Panarin has spent enough time apart from Kane for people to realize how big of a star he is in his own right, leading the Blue Jackets in all three scoring categories: goals (17), assists (32) and points (49).

He hasn't gone more than three games this season without recording a point, and is looking to extend his point streak to four games, which would tie a season high.

3. Struggling Blue Jackets special teams.

The Blue Jackets got off to a great start but are barely clinging onto a wild card spot going into Saturday's game, and a big reason for that slide is their lack of success on special teams. Usually one can pick up the slack for the other, but they've been brutal in both departments.

The Blue Jackets are 0-for-9 on the power play in their past five games and are ranked 31st overall, converting on only 14.1 percent of their opportunities. They also have own the 27th-ranked penalty kill with a 76.3 percent success rate.

So if there's an area the Blackhawks can exploit, it's that. But, you know, still be mindful of that Russian winger's one-timer from the faceoff circle.