Tebowmania's dead, so deal with it - NBC Sports

Tebowmania's dead, so deal with it
The QB's faithful need to realize that their hero will never start in the NFL
Tim Tebow didn't start a game for the New York Jets this season.
January 16, 2013, 11:01 am

Notice a trend?

I read with amusement how Tebow's brother Tweeted how happy he was that the team that let Tim go in favor of Peyton Manning - the Denver Broncos - was ousted by the Baltimore Ravens this past weekend. Classy move, bro.

What Tebow Nation - that bitter corner of the globe characterized by perpetual unrest and dissatisfaction - fails to recognize is that its boy is not a factor. Never has one football player been so lionized out of proportion to his meager accomplishments.

He was a great college player. Granted. But he couldn't beat out Mark Sanchez on the New York Jets even when Sanchez was awful. And when it came time to replace Sanchez, the Jets elevated Greg McElroy over Tebow.

New Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell came out a few days ago and silenced speculation that Tebow was Jacksonville-bound when he said: "I can't imagine a scenario where he'd be a Jacksonville Jaguar." Can't imagine it, which is quite a statement. After all, I could at least imagine it; I just know it won't become a reality. Caldwell can't even imagine it, using his imagination. Talk about a diss.

Here's the real difference between Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow: Manning has been one of the top three to five quarterbacks in the NFL since he came into the league in 1998, he has one Super Bowl ring, and he's a certain Hall of Famer, whereas the Jaguars GM can't imagine Tebow on his team.

I imagine Tebow's brother has yet to accept that cold reality.

Bad strategy by Armstrong
The only surprise that could possibly come out of an interview with Lance Armstrong is if he came out and said, "I'm taking my talents to South Beach."

Otherwise, Monday's taping of an interview with Oprah is a misguided lunge at career resurrection. And I don't mean Oprah's. I understand completely why she would consent to it. It's television after all.

But is this the best course of action for Armstrong after years and years of lying to the public? He finally got nabbed, so now he figures one high-profile TV interview with a celebrity host is going to restore the old magic and remove the stain he imposed on a positive organization like Livestrong?

Armstrong needs less spotlight, not more. He should drop out of sight, embrace a new pursuit - preferably something with a completely altruistic purpose that doesn't have his name emblazoned on it - and rebuild his life.

Instead it seems his ego is far too gargantuan for that. There was too much damage done for any damage control now. And he can't help himself. He still thinks he can charm people into believing him.

In the case of Lance Armstrong, "The Decision" to confess to Oprah on TV is a mockery of a travesty of a sham, to quote Woody Allen. Armstrong can still pedal. But this he can't peddle.

Lakers are becoming unwatchable
I don't really have an answer to cure the Los Angeles Lakers from a basketball standpoint. Their problems are too numerous. Sometimes a natural disaster encounters problems with looting, disease and scam artists. The Lakers' situation isn't exactly like that - other than the natural disaster part - but they do have many issues and few answers, despite beating a lame Cleveland club on Sunday night to end a skid at six games.

But in terms of marketing the Lakers, that's a little easier. They can just take a tip from their neighbors, the Clippers.

Today the Clippers are 28-9, the second-best record in the NBA behind the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kudos to the current Clips. But there was a time not long ago when they were an incompetent clown show and had to practically plead with people to buy tickets and attend their games.

One way the Clips did succeed in putting fannies in seats was to sell the other team. "Come see Michael Jordan and the Bulls play in person!" Or: "Buy a package of three Texas teams and see some real gunslingin' basketball!"

Most of the time it worked. Fans who couldn't get Laker tickets would jump at the chance to see exciting basketball - played by the opposing team.

This is where the Lakers find themselves now. There's really no reason for fans to go see them. In fact, superfan Jack Nicholson, along with pal Adam Sandler, even walked out with over seven minutes left in Friday night's blowout loss against OKC.

Mobile QBs are on a collision course
There's a fascinating evolution going on in football, involving contradictory elements.

On the one hand, you have Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III and college counterparts like Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota who are changing the game with spread-option elements and athleticism. The game of football seems to be headed behind these pioneers offensively, and defenses will have to change and adapt in order to deal with them.

On the other, you have a greater emphasis on preventing injuries, especially head injuries.

So you have quarterbacks more inclined to run, creating more opportunities for collisions at a time when football is trying to prevent them.

Yes, many of these upwardly mobile QBs have both the skill and the sense to avoid getting hit. But accidents happen, and the more chances they take running with the football, the more likely it is they'll take a serious blow.

What figures to happen eventually is that, because there is so much money invested in star quarterbacks, defenses will be de-fanged. It won't be flag football, but it'll be close.

When free-wheeling signal-callers and predatory defenses meet face to face, something's got to give. And it will.

A game of pepper:

  • Why is it that when Bill Belichick really should hold one of those giant play cards in front of his face when he's about to say something, he doesn't?
  • The Philadelphia Eagles have officially interviewed enough head-coaching candidates to quality as a job fair.
  • Before Sunday's game, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans reportedly spit on the Patriots' logo during warm-ups. I bet that served as bulletin board material in the groundskeepers' lockerroom.
  • Manti Te'O's father is miffed at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and threatened to withhold interviews and urge others to unsubscribe because it printed a photo showing his son on the ground as Alabama RB Eddie Lacy romps by with the headline, "Bowled Over." In defense of the paper, I'm sure they wanted to use a shot of Te'O standing up and making a tackle in that game, but just couldn't find one.
  • The trick in Washington D.C. later this year is to see if Robert Griffin III returns to the Redskins before Stephen Strasburg gets shut down by the Nationals.
  • For years now I've been doing that move every time I finish a column. I didn't know it was called "Kaepernicking."

Michael Ventre is a regular contributor to NBCSports.com. Follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/MichaelVentre44

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