Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday observations on Tebow, and other stuff

It’s Saturday morning and time for a few random observations of the world around me. The headline of the day is the Friday night massacre visited upon several European nations by the ratings firm of Standard and Poor’s who stripped the Triple AAA ratings from France and Austria, lowered Italy and Spain a notch and declared Portugal and Cyprus to be no better than junk. Now we will have to endure dire predictions of market meltdowns come Monday morning by all the talking heads on Sunday morning television. What an exquisite way to spend one’s weekend.

Tim Tebow is about to do what no football player has ever done. He has inspired my wife to actually want to watch a game. Along with perhaps 40 million others, she will be tuned in tonight to witness the game between Tebow’s Broncos and the New England Patriots. If the predictions hold up, it will be the most watched playoff game of all time. To say that Tebow has transcended the sport is to damn him with faint praise. He has become the most captivating and polarizing figure in all of America. Those who denigrate his football skills miss the entire point. Tebow is proving that football is on some level a game of emotion and sometimes the best player doesn’t turn out to be the most highly skilled. There is something mysterious about the guy, no, not his faith, but rather the mystery of the connection between charisma, leadership, and will on the one hand , and technical and athletic proficiency on the other. We all know that you can’t succeed at the highest level in professional sports without elite physical gifts. But Tebow is reminding us all that intangibles also play a roll. The know-it-all talk show hosts arrogant enough to think that all you need to know can be learned at the NFL combine have been reduced to blithering idiot status. And for me, that’s been half the fun.

Now that the SEC has won its sixth straight National Football Championship, those who still claim that it’s all because of media hype are irredeemably lost in a parallel universe. “Oklahoma State scores touchdowns, not field goals..”…was one of the greatest comments ever the day after the LSU v. Alabama game, by an SEC hater. OK, here’s a news flash for football fans who have grown up playing Madden….great football is played on BOTH SIDES of the ball. It is possible for a teams best athletes to be on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage. And when that happens, teams don’t march up and down the field like its parade day at West Point. In the National Championship game practically every player who will end up in the NFL played defense, not offense. Trent Richardson and maybe a couple of offensive lineman might make it, but NFL scouts were salivating over the amazing athletes in the secondary of both teams. What makes those defenses even more amazing was the fact that they performed at that level despite playing in an era where rule changes have given every advantage to the offense. Another beauty I read was…”LSU and Alabama don’t play great defense,, they just suck on offense!!” Yes. Which explains why LSU averaged 40 points a game against every other team on their difficult schedule NOT named Alabama. Get over it SEC-haters. Six in a row isn’t hype.

If the Washington Nationals sign Prince Fielder to a break the bank contract, they will live to regret it and doom their franchise to continued mediocrity. The Nationals are young and talented with a terrific farm system and great young pitching. Don’t weigh down the ship with a high priced slugger who can’t pitch!