It was always going to end this way. With a whimper instead of a great shout. With a gradual slide into the realm of obscurity instead of a bombastic exit from the stage. Dying an anonymous, mysterious death in between episodes like Gomie instead of a glorious and defiant last stand like Hank.
TebowMania is done.
On Monday a story made the rounds that a group of Jaguars fans were holding a rally at EverBank Field in support of the team signing Tim Tebow. The Tebow to Jacksonville narrative has been the one remaining thread an obsessed national media has held on to in their hopes of resurrecting TebowMania because it makes sense to them. The Jaguars QBs are terrible. Tim Tebow is from there. It's a match made in heaven for those on the Tebow beat in the media. Forget the fact that the majority of real Jaguars fans and the franchise aren't interested, all it takes is that one hanging thread of narrative to trick you into thinking Tebow to Jacksonville might still happen.
Here's the ESPN.com report from the scene of the Tebow rally in Jacksonville, the end of TebowMania. Emphasis added:
"A group of Jacksonville Jaguars fans held a rally Monday in the EverBank Field parking lot that began at 3:16 p.m. ET to encourage the team to sign free-agent quarterback Tim Tebow, a former Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida.
The rally was scheduled to last three hours and 16 minutes. The starting time of the rally and the planned duration are nods to a bible verse, John 3:16, which Tebow had inscribed on his eye black for the 2009 BCS title game.
James Stewart, a 56-year-old Jacksonville native and Jaguars fan who is one of the event's organizers, said about 20 people participated in the rally, while 30 media members covered the event. The group now also has a volunteer to make signs and bumper stickers and have someone to handle its Twitter account in an attempt to publicize its Tebow campaign."
How beautifully ironic that media members covering this "rally" (I'd argue it takes at least 50 people to gain rally status) would outnumber the actual number of people there. It's the definitive proof of what we've known all along – the people most invested in Tim Tebow's NFL career are those in the media (specifically ESPN and First Take) who have profited from turning a human being into a debate point. Just take a look at all the ridiculous over-coverage from ESPN of the Jacksonville "rally" yesterday that included radio, TV, online news and blog entries, and social media coverage. Will ESPN also cover the story if I gather 20 of my friends to stand outside the Horseshoe in a "rally" to bring back Jim Tressel?
It had to end this way, with ESPN and the rest of the media still trying to squeeze every last drop out of this story and being as disconnected from reality as ever before. It had to end with a pathetic scene like this causing everyone involved to question the purpose of their own existence. It couldn't be more fitting that these media companies are the last people in the world to care about Tim Tebow's NFL career, ending one of the most mind-numbing, drawn out chapters in the history of sports coverage.
I for one couldn't be happier for Tim Tebow if this is indeed the end. I hope he can get his human being-ness back and go be a motivational or religious speaker instead of having analysts, bloggers, and whoever else dilute his worth as a person to his sex life and throwing mechanics. I also hope we've all learned a lesson from TebowMania.
Let's never go there again.