Tag Archives: Tim Tebow

ESPN Magazine Age Issue_featured

ESPN the Magazine’s Age Issue and the Changing Attitudes Towards Sports and Aging

ESPN the Magazine Oct. 1, 2012 issueIn sports, adoration is largely reserved for the seemingly unlimited potential of youth, but some magazines are changing their approach to athletes and aging.

The relationship between sports and aging is tenuous at best. The youthful phenoms are adored, the legends are revered—despite the constant need to discover and herald their replacements—and the over-the-hill are often not so quietly urged to make a graceful exit.

But aging within the sport has largely gone unexamined, its effects unknown until it is too late—such as the case with NFL stars now battling the effects of repeated head injuries before the preventive measures and precautions of today’s game were put in place.

ESPN the Magazine broached the subject in a different way in its first-ever Age Issue, which hit newsstands on Friday. In the Oct. 1 issue, the magazine follows four Major Leaguers at different stages of their careers, starting with the phenom at 21 and the aging veteran at 33.

Of course, in a sports culture that celebrates youth, the phenom—Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout—was featured on the cover.

Beyond merely baseball, the issue touts general age analytics, including career expectancy projections and the peak age at every position in every sport.

Back to baseball, another article examines the “real age” of 38-year-old New York Mets pitcher Robert Allen Dickey’s pitching arm. The magazine surmises that his preferred knuckle ball reduces the wear and tear—and thus age—of his pitching arm, which it rates as that of a 32-year-old.

In recent weeks, some magazine covers have taken the more usual approach to sports aging. Relative league newcomers and hyped QBs Cam Newton and Tim Tebow were celebrated on GQ’s NFL Kick-Off issue.

Tebow’s appeaSports Illustrated Sept. 10, 2012 issuerance was the source of controversy since the New York Jets QB received “starter” attention, though he’s Mark Sanchez’s backup on the squad, and the photos used were recycled from his superstardom as the University of Florida’s all-everything quarterback.

His latest feature in Vogue’s October issue is sure to draw more criticism, as he poses shirtless (again) and deflects any want for attention, despite what some would say is the obvious appearance to the contrary.

Meanwhile, another’s approach may signal why a greater examination is needed between the two subjects. Sports Illustrated featured former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, but from his girlfriend’s perspective as she’s become the caregiver for a heralded athlete affected by the violence of the sport in which he excelled.

Such suffering by McMahon and others of his era have helped bring awareness to the severity of head injuries in the NFL—and other sports—and have led to measures to minimize injury in the game.

tim-tebow-gq-september-cover_featured

Tim Tebow and the Double Standard of GQ Magazine’s “Sexy Jesus” Photo

Tim Tebow on September's GQ magazine coverSomewhat controversial now, Tim Tebow’s “Sexy Jesus” photo in GQ will only prove prophetic when the media rush to crucify him again—whether it’s about his faith or football.

Tim Tebow is perhaps more consistently known as an evangelist of his Christian faith than he is for his footballing skills. So it’s no surprise that the New York Jets’ new backup quarterback is portrayed in a holy light in GQ magazine’s NFL Kick-Off issue which hits newsstands Aug. 21.

But it’s the magazine’s heralding of Tebow as a “Sexy Jesus” or as a “lord” and “savior” as it relates to football that just perpetuates the double standard any successful athlete has been held to since B.T. (before Tebowing).

The divine parallels between Tebow and football drew themselves last season—and were celebrated by a sports world that always seems to be looking for a hero. In Tebow they (eventually) trusted.

Time after time, his woeful stats through the third quarter somehow miraculously transformed into a fourth-quarter comeback. It nearly made the jokesters who were quite sure Tebow was giving the glory to a God who didn’t watch football question their original assessment.

But that was when Tebow was the QB of nearly last resort, the underdog on his own team that the Denver Broncos turned to when they had nothing else to lose. And then, during “Tebow time” the impossible became possible. It had all the makings of a religious parable.

As much as the media loves underdogs, it seems they rejoice as much in building them up as they do in tearing them down. That rise and fall is good for business, ratings and newsstand sales.

Might the humble Tebow be a prime target for a similar trajectory? The media now seems hell bent on highlighting any controversy around him—or creating it if they have to.

After all, these photos from GQ’s September issue were recycled from his days as the University of Florida’s all-everything quarterback. The color’s been removed from what’s been dubbed as the “Sexy Jesus” photo and any Gators references in the stadium behind him have been edited out.

So what’s to see here? According to some critics, the “Sexy Jesus” photo is proof—finally—that this is how Tebow views himself. But even if he does, why wouldn’t he? Especially when the GQ article builds “Him” up into a deity that it’s OK to bow down to, repent to and praise his name—as long as he can win football games.

The double standard is that Tebow is crucified for his faith, yet worshipped like a god on the gridiron—at least when he’s good.

This buildup of biblical proportions isn’t all Tebow’s doing. Maybe not even close, since he didn’t even know he was going to be featured in the magazine.

But this “Sexy Jesus” photo may prove prophetic when or if Tebow takes a tumble personally or professionally, and the media rushes to nail him to the cross they’ve already been creating for him.

Sports Illustrated Feb. 22, 2012

Why Linsanity is Better Than Tebowmania

Sports Illustrated February 22, 2012

Jeremy Lin's second Sports Illustrated cover Feb. 22

Sports fans are going “Linsane” for New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, and why shouldn’t they? An underdog of underdogs, Lin has done what even Tim Tebow could not.

Have you gone “Linsane” yet? It’s the latest sports sensation sweeping the country since Tebowmania had us checking the clock for Tebow Time. But Linsanity is different (and perhaps soon to be trademarked), and it was even all over Sports Illustrated—covering the sports magazine for an unlikely two weeks in a row in February. Not unless you’re Michael Jordan or Dirk Nowitzki do you get that kind of love–ever.

Second year Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow had people—both diehard fans and casual observers—glued to their TV sets all season, particularly in the fourth quarter because that’s when the magic happened. And while Tebow’s ability to succeed in the NFL as a quarterback was questioned, no one had ever doubted whether or not he’d succeed. He was, after all, one of the most sought-after high school recruits who went on to play at the University of Florida, where he won a laundry list of awards—and broke as many records—while leading the Gators to two BCS National Championships and earning himself the coveted Heisman Trophy.

Raise your hand if you had heard of Jeremy Lin before he stepped in for an injured teammate and did what even Tebow could not. That’s exactly what makes Lin’s story even better. Here’s a kid who played basketball at Harvard University—despite his coaches thinking he was better suited for Division III ball, if any. And just this year, he bounced around the NBA and its developmental league, being cut by two teams before landing with the New York Knicks. So under-the-radar was he that he was crashing on his brother’s couch–until, of course, he became an overnight sensation.

Now Lin has his own couch. His signed rookie card sold for more than $21,000 on eBay, and it’s unlikely that most of us could watch the phenom in person as he’s had his effect on ticket prices, too. Not bad for a kid we never saw coming.

Sure, it was nice to see Tebow silence his critics at the next level. But Lin didn’t even have the luxury (or curse) of those who knew of him enough to criticize him. At least not through major media channels. (By this point in Tebow’s career, we’d heard of him ad nauseam.) Despite the Knicks dropping a couple games, the Linsanity continues, helped along by those back-to-back Sports Illustrated covers and the clamoring for Lin jerseys and other merchandise.

No, it won’t last forever. But regardless of its duration, it’s nice to see—and to be reminded—that even the most ordinary or unheralded among us can overcome the odds if we’re simply ready to take the chance when it’s presented.

Sports Illustrated magazine's December 19, 2011, issue

Telling Tebowtime: What the NFL’s Newest Phenomenon Can Teach Us All

Sports Illustrated magazine's December 19, 2011, issue

Sports Illustrated magazine's December 19, 2011, issue featured Denver Broncos sensation Tim Tebow as its cover boy.

Tim Tebow’s winning ways defy explanation, even measurements of time. As he seems to win on heart alone, we can take this lesson from his example.

Don’t bother checking your watches or clocks. There’s no way of telling “Tebowtime” by them. (Well, at least not yet.) Better to check a game clock instead.

That’s because “Tebowtime” usually arrives in the fourth quarter, when victory seems all but out of reach, and, then something unexplainable happens.

Suddenly, second-year National Football League quarterback Tim Tebow’s stats do an improbable 180, and he seems to will his team (the Denver Broncos) to victory. Again and again.

In Tebow’s 11 regular season starts for the Mile High City’s team in 2011, “Tebowtime” came through on seven of them. A mark good enough to earn the Broncos an at-once-unthinkable AFC Wild Card berth in the playoffs. And this past Sunday, the Tebowtime drama was even more prolonged, as the QB capped a career-best performance with an overtime touchdown throw that propelled his team past the Pittsburgh Steelers and into Round 2 of the playoffs. Seriously.

Despite winning a BCS National Championship, the Heisman Trophy and other major hardware during his college career as a Florida Gator, Tebow may have been one of the most decorated, yet least heralded quarterbacks or players headed for the NFL.

His critics have pointed to his inaccuracies, his college preparation, the challenges of the NFL, a new system, you name it. And that’s just on the field. He’s endured as much–or more–ridicule for professing his faith on and off the gridiron.

And it’s given rise to a new phenomenon: Tebowing. It simply requires bending on one knee, elbow resting on top, a clenched fist supporting your forehead, as if in prayer–a stance you’ll often see Tebow in on the sidelines. There’s even a website devoted to all acts of Tebowing the world over.

So what is it about Tebowtime that’s winning over some of his detractors? Sports Illustrated’s Dec. 19, 2011, cover story tried to explain it by Tebow’s numbers, but his performance has defied them. Not even three straight losses to end the regular season tarnish what he’s accomplished.

I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of his while he was in college–much of that was due to his playing on an opposing team and the unabashed adoration of certain college football announcers.

But I have to admit I kinda like the guy–or at least what he’s been doing and what it inspires in the rest of us. And that is if you believe in yourself, even the impossible seems possible.