DENVER (CBS4) – I’m living proof that Tim Tebow inspires.
He inspired me to sit in front of my computer at half-past midnight and bang out a commentary that I’m normally too lazy and too disinterested to write. But enough is enough. I’m tired of people blaming the media for Tim Tebow’s super-stardom. As if we created this machine. We purposely set out to destroy all that is bad by perpetuating the myth of a super-human who espouses all that is good. Yeah, like those of us who read tele-prompters for a living are actually smart enough to pull that off. Don’t you realize, we’re too dumb for that?
Let me tell you how this media thing works. We normally cover what the majority of people want us to cover. And right now, the overwhelming majority in this town wants to know anything and everything there is to know about Tim Tebow. Pretty simple. We didn’t create the machine. But we certainly feed it.
So last night, I tweet the following: “Coming up on CBS4 tonight at 10, wondering if Tebow’s rubbing off on his teammates? Wait ’till you see all the Broncos active in the community tonight.” Pretty harmless, I thought. We show athletes doing charity work almost every night. But in this case, Tebow helped draw a big crowd to Wesley Woodyard’s charity event at the Denver Aquarium. We wanted to share that with the viewers.
My good friend Chad Brown, a former NFL linebacker, didn’t like my approach. He felt “insulted” that I would suggest Tebow is the reason athletes are doing charity work when those same athletes have been doing that same work for years. Fair point. But this is where we agree to disagree.
I honestly believe the Bronco players are more community-minded today than they were before Tebow arrived. I see it every day. I emcee many of these events. I notice more guys forming foundations, holding charity fundraisers, visiting hospitals, taking kids Christmas shopping. You name it, they’re doing it. Most of them have been doing it for years. And yes, some of them are doing it because they see their quarterback actively doing it every single day. Say what you want, but what Tim Tebow does is contagious, both and off the field. And that’s a good thing. By the way, those athletes who claim we don’t give them enough credit for their charity endeavours, go build a hospital in the Phillipines, then we’ll talk.
So Chad’s upset with the media because of the way we’ve “framed” the Tebow story. He claims we give him much more credit than he deserves. C’mon Chad. You played the game. You should know better. You know the quarterback always gets too much credit and too much blame. It comes with the position. You’re a former linebacker. When we invited linebacker Von Miller as our guest on Xfinity Monday Live! at the Tavern Downtown, he drew a pretty good crowd. Could you imagine the crowd if Tebow showed up? They’d have to shut the place down. My point is, the quarterback always gets more credit than he deserves. Especially THIS quarterback.
I find it interesting that most of Tebow’s harshest critics in this town happen to be former NFL football players. I have a theory: Football is the ultimate meritocracy. Football players have been programmed to play the game a certain way, to tackle a certain way, to throw a certain way. So along comes a happy-go-lucky do-gooder who breaks all the rules and still finds a way to win. If you’re a former player, this can’t compute. You can’t buy in. You can’t be wrong.
Former players are wrong about Tebow. And they don’t like being wrong. This is their game. Their passion. Their rules. Sorry fellas, your rules don’t apply to this guy. Look at the scoreboard.
So when I “frame” Tim Tebow as the man who rescued the Denver Broncos from relative insignificance, the critics go berserk. Credit the defense, they cry. We do. Give some love to the coaches. We do. How about the kicker? Oh, so now you want to respect the kicker? Like it or not, this all starts with Tebow. The Broncos don’t enjoy this resurgence without him.
And because I mention Tim Tebow every single night on my 10pm sportscast, I’m called a sycophant, a jock-sniffer, a wannabe, a radical, a prosyletizer and a general tool. I may be all of those things. But it has nothing to do with Tim Tebow. Truth is, I have nothing to gain by supporting the guy. He hasn’t sent me any free books. I don’t wear Jockey underwear. I don’t even attend church on a regular basis. I’m much more friendly with the role players on this team. Tebow probably doesn’t even know who I am. Which is fine. It allows me to have an objective opinion about this kid. He inspires. He inspires his teammates. And, yes, he inspires me.
– Vic Lombardi is the lead sports anchor of CBS4 Sports. Watch Lombardi on CBS4 News at 5, 6 and 10 p.m., as well as on the CBS4 Morning News. Also, catch Vic hosting Xfinity Monday Live! on during CBS4 News at 6:30 p.m. every Monday night from the Tavern Downtown.