Wow, what a fantastic holiday weekend of sports!
From the NFL playoff scenario becoming all the more clearer—yet still convoluted, to the beginning of the NBA season, the weekend proved to be everything and more for every sports fanatic who needed shelter from the pangs of the holiday season. As the Jets and the Giants battled in one of the most highly publicized contests between two mediocre teams in recent memory and all the critics of Tim Tebow shouted a collective, “I told you so…” there is much to discuss, much to change, and many more rules to make in this edition of “If I Ruled the World”. So, without further ado, let us get to ruling the world!
If I Ruled the World…
Rule #1: Tebow’s Flock Would Sac-Up
Right around 1:30 MST on Saturday afternoon, an ominous noise was heard throughout Tebow camps across the country. This noise was the sound of their lives coming back to reality. I liken this noise to the image of the DeLorean entering back into the present time after a trip through the past or future (depending on which you prefer) fully equipped with flames.
Yet, even after a four interception performance, and a loss to a team that had not won a game since Halloween, Tebow was still able to avoid any type of accountability, responsibility, or blame. This, of course, is the prevailing mindset if one were to ask any member of Tebow’s flock.
Shortly after the game, I frequented some sports blog sites that I knew would be inundated with local Tebow talk. Many of them prevaricated the notion that this loss was not on Tebow—and a myriad of fallacious justifications followed. The Broncos defense was utilized as an excuse for Tebow, as was the coaching staff. This needs to stop.
And it stops now.
I thought long and hard about this and I came up with the following. Follow with me here as I address the excuse offered by the flock, which attempts to establish that it was the coaching staff’s and defenses fault for Tebow’s four picks and awful performance. This is my open letter to the flock.
Of course it has to be someone else’s fault other than Tebow’s. First it was the defense, then it was the dropped passes, NOW it is the play calling? Denver should have kept running the ball instead of expecting Tebow to pass? If Denver had kept running the ball in the second half—after Buffalo had clearly stopped the run in the second quarter and taken a 10 pt lead into halftime—the flock would have whined, “Denver’s coaching staff is limiting Tebow’s ability to throw…” or “Elway doesn’t believe Tebow can throw…the coaches don’t have faith in our boy Timmy. Let’s put up a billboard!”
Look, the change in game plan isn’t some elaborate scheme by the coaching staff to alter Tebow’s play. They did what most NFL coaches would do: They expected their QB to actually play like a QB and make some throws in the passing game.
How foolish of them!
They should have remembered that Tebow is indeed unlike any other QB—he cannot run an offense this way. Passing? That is for the likes of Brady, Brees and Rodgers…
The coaching staff changed the game plan because Denver couldn’t run the ball. Buffalo did the same thing that the Pats did: they put 8 in the box, played disciplined, and made sure guys were in gaps.
They gambled and decided to make Tebow throw on them to win—they were right.
We have now realized that unless he is throwing against a prevent, or deep cover two, Tebow holds on to the ball way too long, he struggles with reads, and he is a below average QB when it comes to the passing game.
So my question now becomes: Why can’t anyone in Tebow’s flock have the onions to sac up and capitulate to what everyone who watched the game without their “Tebowing” strips on their eyes saw: That Tebow stunk. Four turnovers? TWO INT’s returned for TD’s? ANY OTHER QB IN THE LEAGUE GETS CRUCIFIED FOR A GAME LIKE THIS. Just ask Kyle Orton. Or Eli Manning. Even T.J. Yates.
Not Tebow though.
Even when he stinks he still comes out as the lone good player who has been held back by all of the mediocrity around him.
Second, stop attempting to place the blame on the defense. Technically, they only gave up 19 points. They held Buffalo to FG’s after the Tebow led offense missed on 10 straight 3rd down conversions.
They didn’t play the normal lights out Broncos fans were accustomed to during the streak, which just adds more fuel to the “It definitely wasn’t all Tebow” debate during their win streak. Unless the defense plays absolutely flawless every week, Denver is screwed. The Minnesota game has proven to be an aberration.
At what point do the excuses for Tebow stop? That is pretty much all I want to know.
It is the coaches job to create a game plan that their team can succeed in, but when does the onus fall on the players—or their QB— to execute said game plan? Am I the only one who sees a problem with the way Tebow is being nurtured here? I like Tebow, I like what he’s done in spurts in some of the games. However, the situation is not always going to be perfect.
I say again, at some point Tebow is going to have to get it. He’s going to have to be able to throw from the pocket and he’s going to have to be able to make something out of nothing if the running game is ineffective. Do you really think Denver is going to be able to run—if they make the playoffs—against a defense like Pittsburgh or Baltimore?
Tebow is going to have to figure it out someday.
Without the excuses.
Rule #2: A Gag Order Would Be Initiated on Rex Ryan and the New York Jets
This is LONG overdue. I will be one of the first to admit when Rex Ryan became the coach of the Jets, I was rather enamored with his brash bravado. I was impressed by his “didn’t come to kiss Belichick’s rings” comments, and I liked his determination and confidence in his team when he continuously guaranteed a Super Bowl victory.
That was three years ago.
Now, it is just nauseating—particularly after the most recent debacle on Saturday.
Look, I get it. I know that a coach needs to have confidence in his team and I believe it is conducive to their success. However, there is a fine line where confidence crosses the line into noise.
Rex and the Jets crossed that line some time ago. It is time they be required to shut up. A team that needs the Bengals—a highly overachieving team—to lose just to a get a sniff at the playoff hunt has lost the right to say anything about how good they are. Fact is, they’re not very good at all. They are not the best in their division and they are not one of the best 6 in their conference.
Hell, they are not even the best team in New York City! Which is sad because in the days preceding their matchup with the in-state rival Giants, we heard Cromartie and Bart Scott barking their customary nonsense and inane drivel. We heard Rex confirm said drivel, touting how important this game was. He wanted to be the best team in the city, he wanted to dominate the Giants.
Well, it did not happen.
Now, all we hear is Rex offering the all-too-predictable noise of, “This one falls on me…”
We get it, Rex. You anted up and lost—again. You are in danger of not winning the Super Bowl—again. Now, you’re in danger of missing the playoffs. Which, if the Colts do not sit Manning two years ago would be a situation to which you are accustom.
If the Bengals falter, and the Jets make the playoffs, that’s great for Rex and the Jets. But we don’t need to hear about how great they are. Rex and the Jets are no longer able to discuss such matters. This is particularly true if the Jets do not make the playoffs.
The gag order remains in place until at least training camp.
Rule #3: John Fox Would Win Coach of the Year
The implementation of this edict could automatically be castigated as an attempt to be biased, but hear me out on this one.
Most of the important people in the sports world are capriciously touting San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh as the Coach of the Year winner.
Hogwash, I say.
Harbaugh inherited a solid team. Kinda like Jim Caldwell in Indy, or Jon Gruden in Tampa. Granted, the 49ers finished near the bottom of the basement in the NFC last season, but I do remember the 49ers being the proverbial lock for the division last season under then head coach Mike Singletary. They drastically underachieved and Singletary was relieved of his coaching duties.
Any coach that inherits a top-tier defense anchored by one of the top linebackers in the league in Patrick Willis, and is also given a Pro-Bowler at running back in Frank Gore, as well as stud Tight End in Vernon Davis should not get a ton of recognition for winning with these pieces already in-tact.
I say these things with one monumental caveat: any coach who can do something, anything with Alex Smith does deserve his weight in credit and for that I can recognize why Harbaugh is a strong consideration.
Yet, here is my defense for Denver Broncos head coach John Fox.
He inherited a team that had just endured their worst season ever.
Not only did Fox inherit this, he also inherited a team that had recently been imploded, incinerated, and flogged by Josh McDaniels. McDaniels traded away any semblance of offensive talent and left Fox with a busted first round pick at running back, an oft-injured first round pick at receiver, and the worst defense in the league last season.
And I didn’t even mention the Tebow circus that Fox was introduced to when he arrived in Denver—but that only solidifies my argument.
The award of Coach of the Year signifies elite coaching.
How much more elite can you get then being willing to scrap your entire offensive system in an effort to accommodate your young QB and attempt to win some games? Fox had the foresight to go literally where “no coach has gone before—at least for 40+ years” and run an option style offense. He has handled the Tebow circus, tamed the Tebow flock, and now Denver—who finished 4-12 last season—is on the precipice of their first playoff berth in six seasons.
If a poll were taken at the beginning of the year asking which team do you think has a better chance of making the playoffs and the choices were Denver and San Fran, 99% would say San Fran.
The way things ended last year, even Broncos fans would have said San Francisco.
Yet, here were are and both teams could be in the postseason.
I just think one coach had a much tougher road, and much more daunting obstacles to overcome.
Rule #4: I Would Make the NBA Stop
This will be short and sweet.
Rule #4a—NO MORE BIEBER. Fire the person—or persons—who thought this “Little Drummer Boy” hip-hop collaboration by a Canadian white kid and a washed up rapper was a good idea and blacklist them for life. I literally had to mute the television Christmas night because if I heard him and Busta Rhymes one more time, I was not going to be responsible for what I would do. This sentiment was expressed much more fluently by my colleague, Jesse Golomb on twitter @thefanmanifesto.
Pretty funny stuff.
Nonetheless, Bieber needs to go away.
Rule #4b—No more Preseason Nicknames. I would ban any type of astronomical early season projections/nicknames for any teams that have mired in futility since the inception of the franchise.
The Los Angeles Clippers are arguably the worst franchise in all of professional sports. Not just the NBA, all sports. All of a sudden they acquire Chris Paul, who could be considered the most controversial traded/not traded/traded/trade voided/trade accepted player in NBA history, and they are now going to overtake the Lakers?
I thought that teams had to actually experience some type of success before they were given nicknames?
Steel-Curtain, Doomsday, Showtime, The Three Amigos (it’s a Broncos thing).
Nope. Not the NBA. They hand out nicknames like Goodell hands out fines.
Easy and often.
Yet, you would think the NBA would have learned from attaching preseason nicknames after the moniker attached to last year’s Heat team.