Railing against media-created drama is a self-defeating proposition when you are contributing to the problem in the process. All I can do is plow ahead, I guess, and discuss the carnival atmosphere surrounding the National Football League this week. The draft is in a few weeks, free agency is well underway, one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history, Peyton Manning, signed with a new team this week, and a franchise’s head coach was just suspended for an entire season. What, then, was the talk of the sports world this week? Tim Tebow, of course.
The Manning signing is where this all started. After spending a week or so evaluating the situations of the interested teams, Manning chose the Broncos over the Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers. It appears that Denver team vice president John Elway was the key to signing the future Hall-of-Famer, as he was able to use his experience as a top signal-caller who had his greatest success in his late 30s to convince Manning that he could win in Denver. It was actually a stroke of brilliance on the part of Elway, who not only got Manning to lead his team, but who also found possibly the only way to divorce himself from Tim Tebow without a fan revolt. It was clear from the beginning that Elway was not a fan of Tebow and his unconventional method of playing quarterback. He and head coach Jon Fox were essentially forced into playing Tebow when last season started off badly under Kyle Orton. The team saw greater success under Tebow, and the attention he received was so intense that the team had no choice but to continue with him. By bringing in as decorated a guy as Manning, Elway has redirected his franchise while shielding himself from most criticism.
The only part of the Manning side of the story that I would characterize as “Bad Sports” would be the idea that he would not consider any team in the NFC East because he would have then had to face his brother Eli, the quarterback for the New York Giants, twice each season. I hope that is just speculation on the part of the media, as opposed to it being something that Manning actually stated, as I would lose a lot of respect for him if that were the case. A winner plays and beats whomever is put in front of him. Being scared or unwilling to face your brother on a regular basis is embarrassing.
Once Manning was signed, Elway traded Tebow to the New York Jets, a team in turmoil after a messy season that saw a divided team underachieve. The Jets expressed interest in Manning as well, and after he rebuffed them, they tacked a couple of years onto starting quarterback Mark Sanchez’ contract as an apology for hurting his feelings, I guess. Now, they have brought in the biggest sideshow in the sport. Sanchez’ sensitive ego is sure to be put to the test, as some Jets fans are already calling for Tebow, who team officials say is there to be the backup quarterback, to start. Head coach Rex Ryan says he plans to use Tebow in the wildcat package that new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano used so effectively as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. If things do not start off well for Sanchez, the Tebow calls will be deafening.
For those of us who were extremely tired of constantly hearing about Tim Tebow last season, the idea that he now plays in New York, one of the two centers of the media universe (along with L.A.), is truly revolting. There have already been several unnamed Jets players who have spoken out about the team not needing Tebow, which is sure to stoke those fires. I have read so many stories about him this week, I can not even count them. Yes, I have just produced another one. The worst part is it’s only March. By September, this will be unbearable.
Bad sports, continued:
2) As I mentioned in the first paragraph above, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended for an entire year this week by league commissioner Roger Goodell. The punishment is for his part in the recent scandal involving bounties paid by the coaching staff for injuring certain opposing players. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams, has been suspended indefinitely.
3) A ten-year-old boy in Hong Kong was arrested after intentionally kicking another kid in the head during a soccer match.
4) Colin Clark, a midfielder for the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer, is about to be punished for using a gay slur during a match against Seattle on Friday. The insult was directed at a ball boy.
5) A woman from Kazakhstan won an event at the 10th Arab Shooting Championship in Kuwait on Thursday. As she stood on the medal stand, the national anthem of her country was played, as is tradition. It wasn’t the actual national anthem of Kazakhstan, however. What they played was a song from the movie Borat, which most Kazakhs would find offensive, I am guessing.
6) Boston Red Sox pitcher Bobby Jenks was arrested and charged with DUI in Dunedin, Florida, this week. I would love it if we were able to go a single week without there being an athlete arrested for driving drunk. Is that too much to ask?
7) Another week, another crap-tastic NASCAR race. This time, Sunday’s race in Fontana, California, was ended after only 129 laps due to rain. I am not sure what winner Tony Stewart proved by leading after 129 laps, but it got him a win. I know it was painful to see the Daytona 500 run on a Tuesday a few weeks ago, but the sport should do whatever it needs to do to ensure that each race runs to its scheduled distance. I felt like my time had been totally wasted watching 65% of a race.
8) Legendary boxing writer Bert Sugar died on Sunday after a heart attack. He was 75 years old.
1) Last week, I wrote about some members of the Southern Mississippi pep band that had been chanting racist comments at an opposing player during the school’s NCAA Tournament game against Kansas State. This week, the school took action, revoking the scholarships of those five band members. Well done.
2) Tiger Woods finally won a PGA tour event on Sunday, winning the Bay Hill Invitational by five strokes over Graeme McDowell. It was Tiger’s first official tour win since 2009. You may not like him, but golf is infinitely more interesting when Tiger is winning.
Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday
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