By Dan Bernstein
CBS Chicago Senior Columnist
I can’t do it, and I’m glad I can’t. It makes things easier.
Not again with the Tim Tebow silliness, as always more about his weirdo fans than the quirky quarterback himself. A fourth team is trying to make something of whatever he offers, with the Eagles bringing him in at the back end of the depth chart in the latest act of Chip Kelly’s ego circus.
Nobody is quite sure what Kelly sees now that either wasn’t there before or was missed by the Broncos, Jets and even the ballyhooed genius of Bill Belichick. Tebow could be a trick-play weapon, a sideline bystander, film-room savant or end up off the roster entirely. His lack of ability as any kind of full-time passer has been clear enough to keep him out of the NFL for two years, with teams unwilling to reverse-engineer their offenses to fit all the things he can’t do, like throw a ball to somebody consistently. It also makes him useless as a scout-team arm.
But here he is, and it’s on again because he is who he is. Those of us weary of trying to engage in any rational conversation about him received the news of his signing with dread – imagining a re-awakening of the legions of football-stupid faith zombies, spilling out of their exurban retail mega-churches and strip-mall bookstores to proclaim the return. “All he does is win!” they chant, as they march, drooling.
Skip Bayless snapped into action predictably, as the longtime national mouthpiece for misplaced Tebow wrongheadedness tweeted that he “DESERVES THIS SHOT,” and “Thank you, Chip Kelly” and wrote “Now, no doubt, those who believe in Tebow and share his Christian faith are thinking ‘The Lord does work in mysterious ways.’”
Even with that, though, it’s just not the same. And it’s nice that it’s not. Overall, the hype machine has been slow to fire up this time around, with all of us having absorbed ample evidence that Tebow is at best a novelty performer. That he is seen as a fit for the contrarian Kelly only reinforces that idea, just the latest prop in a coach’s ongoing quest to prove he knows more than anybody else, even Belichick.
Tebow emerges from months of private tutelage from Tom House, the ubiquitous biomechanical pitching/passing guru. Per a FOX sports report, he claims to have cured what has plagued the QB through a seemingly magical combination of diet, body changes, mechanical improvement and rebuilt confidence. House said Tebow was eating too much protein, lacked proper balance, and didn’t have “kinematic sequencing.” Using his special “step-wise regression analysis,” House says he “fixed the front side” of his throwing motion to “make the dynamic movement work.”
Chakras aligned, bodily humors purified and volcanic thetans expunged, all is good now.
If nothing else, this recalls the question so many of us have had about Tebow’s role as the projected culture warrior of others, held up since college as some messianic force for all that is good and holy: if God wanted to design a quarterback to represent him, wouldn’t he have made a better one? One that could actually read a defense in real time and then complete a pass?
Regardless, the results and years have taken both the fervor and the distraction of it all from full boil to low simmer. Tebowmania was as tiring in hindsight as it was dumb, outstripped only by what once surrounded the NBA’s Jeremy Lin for tops in collective American sports craziness.
It’s unlikely to rekindle fully, even if he makes the Eagles and proves able to run a few more goal-line specialty packages or execute another fake punt or two. We’ll never go back to quite what all that was, then, and we should never want to.
What is perfectly fine is for Tim Tebow to be not a heaven-sent proxy for invisible spirits, but just a guy on a team.