PTI co-host Michael Wilbon appeared on the Scott Van Pelt Show (with SVP absent and Ryen Russillo doing the interview) and was asked about, what else, Tim Tebow and the Jets. Although Wilbon has been associated with ESPN thanks to his incredible success with Tony Kornheiser on PTI, he's largely outside the Bristol echo chamber. He's from Chicago, wrote and filmed PTI in DC, and now does the bulk of his ESPN work out west. What sets Wilbon apart from other columnists turned talking heads is his strong opinion and straight talk that isn't rinsed in Bristol hegemony.
Bristol didn't create TebowMania (to some extent) and they aren't the only offenders of course. Take a look at other networks, websites, and blogs and you'll see Tebow. Tebow = ratings, clicks, and dollars. However, ESPN's Tebow coverage is so ludicrously disproportionate to reality that it's easy to see through. Not even Jets fans want 20 straight days of Jets camp reports, but inside the Bristol axis it's like a powerful drug that becomes more addicting day after day. Because Wilbon is outside that Bristol axis (on Real Street if you will), he sees the disconnect when Bristol covers a Jets practice fight and Tebow running shirtless through the rain as bigger than the Black Sox Scandal. Have a listen to Wilbon's truth telling…
I have to chuckle at the hypothetical question about Tebow replacing Mark Sanchez as Jets starting QB that tells a lot about ESPN's role in this. There's no evidence that Tebow replacing Sanchez is going to happen as Rex Ryan has publicly denied any kind of QB controversy time and time again. The actual event of Tebow replacing Sanchez is several weeks and numerous unknown steps into the future. Nevertheless, that doesn't stop ESPN from floating the potential of it maybe happening and filling hours and hours of TV and radio debating and talking about a story that at the present time does not exist. You can bet ESPN will create Tebow angles and stories even when none exist in present reality to keep the machine running. After all, if they can throw Tim Tebow a day long birthday party with cake and kazoos, anything is possible.
Would the hypothetical possibility of Tim Tebow replacing Mark Sanchez be the biggest story in the NFL? To ESPN, yes. But since this is Week 2 of the NFL Preseason, I thought of a list of equally hypothetical NFL stories that would indeed be bigger than Tim Tebow replacing Mark Sanchez and can fill some discussion hours for the network…
-Aaron Rodgers leaves the Packers in midseason to chase his dream in the French Handball League.
-Jonathan Vilma retires and becomes Assistant to the Commissioner.
-Jerry Jones sells the Cowboys to Dallas businessman J.R. Ewing, is disheartened to discover Ewing is a fictional character on television.
-The Patriots replace Bill Belichick with former Fox pre-game funny man Frank Caliendo.
-Jay Cutler stops moping all the damn time.
Keep fighting the good fight Wilbon. You may be the hero Bristol deserves, but not the one it needs right now… whatever that actually means.