Traditionally, it has been ESPN at the front of the Tim Tebow bandwagon. This week, NFL Network came along and kicked Skip Bayless from out of the driver’s seat with as transparent and gross of a ploy for ratings and buzz as you’ll see from a network. I love NFL Films, I grew up with all the bloopers VHS tapes and even have all the music downloaded in iTunes. However, what NFL Films did with placing Tim Tebow in their Top 10 Heisman winners in the NFL for one of their Top 10 shows is ludicrous and has been rightly torn apart. Here was their full list of “Heisman winners based on what they’ve accomplished in the NFL.” Keep in mind that’s not my words, that’s NFL.com’s words to describe the list.
1. Barry Sanders
2. Roger Staubach
3. O.J. Simpson
4. Paul Hornung
5. Charles Woodson
6. Tony Dorsett
7. Tim Tebow
8. Earl Campbell
9. Marcus Allen
10. Cam Newton
Tim Tebow, he of the one playoff appearance and 2,383 passing yards (and Cam Newton, he of the one NFL season and six career victories) has “accomplished more in the NFL” than the following Heisman winners not listed:
*Eddie George: 4 time Pro Bowler, over 10,000 career rushing yards
*Tim Brown: 9 time Pro Bowler, 14,000+ receiving yards, 105 career TDs
*Ricky Williams: 10,000+ career rushing yards
*Mike Garrett: 2 time AFL All-Star, over 8,000 total yards
*Vinny Testaverde: 21 year career, 46,233 passing yards
*Alan Ameche: 4 time Pro Bowler, All Decade Team 1950s, scored most famous TD in NFL history
Tim Tebow (and to a lesser extent Cam Newton) don’t belong ahead of those great NFL players based on the NFL’s own criteria. But wait a minute, Tim Tebow isn’t there for what he has done on an NFL football field according to Greg Smith on NFL Films’ official blog. Well, what is he there for?
We were NOT saying, “Tebow is a better football player than Allen”. We are suggesting that Tebow has more star power. He has more than lived up to the hype that was built around him in college. His Heisman buzz has carried over into everything he has done in the NFL – the Senior Bowl, the Draft, the Denver Broncos, and now the New York Jets. He is a phenomenon – and some might say, a phenomenal player. Many NFL fans are thrilled with the Tebow product, and they want more of him. Others… not so much. He has even been called one of the most influential people in the world. I’m pretty sure Allen and Campbell never held that title.
The beauty of our Top 10 shows is NOT that they are the final say on football but that they generate debate because of the many intelligent and interesting interviews they include.
If that line of malarkey isn’t enough, the blog then put out this “criteria” for selection…
- Who had the best NFL career?
- Who had signature plays and great moments?
- Who had box-office appeal? Who sells tickets? Who sells jerseys?
- Who has cultural resonance? Who passes the Mom test?
Tim Tebow hasn’t had the playing career that Earl Campbell or Marcus Allen but Heismans are about more than yards gained or touchdowns scored. And in terms of cultural resonance, Tebow’s off the charts.
Let’s break this down. The NFL explained the list as “what Heisman winners have accomplished in the NFL.” NFL Films explains the list as “Who passes the Mom test?” Seeing NFL Films rationalize a publicity ploy as “who has box-office appeal” and “who passes the Mom test?” is a bigger disappointment than anything Skip Bayless has ever done because of the appreciation and respect I have for NFL Films. To see NFL Films go in this direction to exploit the hype surrounding Tim Tebow is a sad day. I feel like part of me has died, not all my organs, maybe just my liver.