Their media hype might be similar, but Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow are not.
Tim Tebow. Jeremy Lin. If I got a dollar for every time I heard one of those two names, Warren Buffet would be hitting me up for loans.
These two names are responsible for one of the biggest epidemics–nay, pandemics–the sports world has ever seen: Tebowmania and Linsanity.
If you haven’t heard, I’m not exactly sure where you’ve been. This is the sports equivalent of anthrax and swine flu all wrapped into one. It’s headline material for just about every ESPN entity these days.
However, both leading SportsCenter doesn’t make them the same.
In fact, the two illnesses are quite different. Allow me to explain.
Tebowmania is completely irrational and devoid of common sense and reason. The argument that “all he does is win” rings hollow when faced with the reality that Tebow is statistically one of the worst QBs we’ve ever seen. He’s an athletic marvel, but an undeniably inept passer.
Linsanity stems from something more tangible. In his first 5 starts, Lin scored 109 points…a league record. That’s more than Hall-of-Fame legends like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal over the same span. Lin is also making a good percentage of his shots. Hell, he’s even making the big, clutch shots (ask the Raptors). Although he’s won about as much as Tebow has (which is to say, little more than a pretty good run of regular season games), his singular performances to date have been more impressive.
That’s why this is, at best, an apples-to-oranges comparison. Basketball and football are very different sports and thus, our evaluations of these players are also different.
(Consider this: Lin’s field goal percentage–48.9%–is better than Tebow’s completion percentage–46.5%. I’ll give you a minute to let that marinate.)
Since comparing the sports is mostly a waste of time, let’s focus on their specific roles.
Tebow struggles to throw. That’s a problem for a quarterback, whose primary function is to–wait for it–throw the football. I don’t care about how many games he won. I don’t care how far the Broncos got in the playoffs. Those are team stats. We’re talking about individual performance. And Tebow–who can’t even complete half his passes on a regular basis–wasn’t a consistent individual performer. Love him or hate him, you can’t reasonably deny that.
As for Lin, he’s put up numbers. If you looked at the box score, you’d probably be just as impressed as you’d be if you watched the game. He’s far from perfect (way too many turnovers for a starting NBA point guard), but he’s shown far more progress and promise than Tebow ever has.
And don’t forget the journey. It’s been well documented that the undrafted Lin has been sleeping on a buddy’s couch during his epic run. He came up from the D-league after a bunch of injuries hit the Knicks. Dude went to Harvard–far from what I’d call a basketball powerhouse.
Tebow was a Heisman-winning QB from Florida, and widely considered one of (if not the) best player in college football history. He was a first round pick who was basically handed the starting gig in Denver, the original team that drafted him.
Lin is an Asian-American guard. If by chance I missed someone who fits that same description playing NBA ball, there certainly wasn’t one this good before.
Tebow is a white dude whose physique was cut from the cloth of a prototypical NFL QB. Nothing to see here, folks (although certain lady fans may disagree).
The way I see it, here are the similarities between Tebow and Lin: they both love Jesus and they both get way too much media attention for guys who’ve never won anything at the pro level. That’s it. That’s the list.
If anything, the best comparison to Lin is right under the noses of the New York media: Giants receiver Victor Cruz. It’s all spelled out brilliantly right here.
So don’t feed this media parasite. You’ll only make things worse.
I’m no doctor, but I watch a lot of House. So if you suffer from one of the described ailments, here’s my prescription:
For Tebowmania, watch film of Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers. Then watch Tebow. If Tebow still resembles a starting NFL quarterback, call a doctor immediately, as you’ve likely suffered a stroke.
If you think you have Linsanity, take two returning Knicks stars (Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony) and call me in the morning.
I hope this has been educational. Now head for the lobby and take care of your copay.
Rob Woodfork writes for TheFanManifesto. Follow us on Twitter.