What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
There’s two weeks until the first weekend of the NFL regular season, and I’ve already got a belly full of the quarterback controversy in Denver. From the moment the Broncos used a first-round pick to draft Tim Tebow, both he and Kyle Orton have been joined at the hip in what has to be one of the silliest quarterback controversies ever. I understand that most of these controversies are borne of two factors; the idiocy of the average NFL fan and the need of the 24-hour sports media to keep those idiots tuned in. But it needs to stop.
That’s right…I just said the fan base of the most popular sport in this country is as dumb as a pail full of rusty hammers. Face it, everything that has that level of popularity has to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Nowhere illustrates this better that the Tebow-Orton story.
A month ago, Denver fans couldn’t wait (and probably still would like to see) Orton traded away. It won’t happen, and it shouldn’t happen. First of all, there’s the fact the Orton is 32-29 as a starter in this league. When you stop to consider that counts seasons with a mostly mediocre-at-best Bears team and a mostly-terrible Broncos squad, that’s at least worthy of note. It gets better when you consider Orton over his career has completed 58.8% (better than Hall-of-Famers Bart Starr, Len Dawson, Sonny Jurgensen, Fran Tarkenton, Roger Staubach, and some guy now in the Bronco front office named John Elway) of his passes and nets 11.3 yards per completion (better than fellow ex-Boilermaker Drew Brees). Whether you want to admit it or not, Orton is a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL.
Most importantly, it won’t happen because the Broncos paid Orton. The Broncos knew that keeping Orton meant a contractual bump in his base salary from $2.6 million to $7.37 million ($5.35 million guaranteed) plus a guaranteed bonus of $1.5 million. In other words, if they were going to deal Orton, they would have done so before they were on the hook for over at least $7 million.
Believe it or not, the Tebow situation all comes down to money as well. Tebow’s base salary is $9.75 million spread over five years, but that is not the real problem when it comes to discussions of cutting him. The real problem is what is the perceived value of a first-round draft pick. That’s the real price of admitting drafting Tebow in the first-round was a mistake. Stop and think about it. Tebow represents a figure who has a huge fanbase (since he entered the league, more Tebow jerseys have been sold that Tom Brady’s), draws interest (love him or hate him), and he’s relatively cheap for a quarterback. The bottom line is the Broncos have nothing to lose by keeping him on the roster and everything to lose by getting rid of him.
The realities of the business of football are completely lost on the average brain-dead NFL fan. There’s a huge difference between being a real general manager in the NFL and running y0ur fantasy football team. In other words, there are considerations which whether you choose to see it or not go beyond on-the-field performance.
Take the jersey sales for an example. In that fact alone, Tebow provides both free advertising for the Broncos and provides a revenue stream for the league as a whole. Then there’s the fan base he brings. Tebow really is the only reason anybody give gives a frog’s watertight ass about the Broncos, who are going to be slightly worse than a last-place team. This was the reason he generated such interest last year when he started the last three games of the season, and the same is likely to happen this year. If you think for a minute the Broncos will cut Tebow to keep Brady Quinn and Adam Weber on the roster, you should be declared legally retarded.
This brings up another powerful indictment of the low -wattage in the brain bulbs of the average NFL fan. For all the “Orton and Tebow gotta go” talk, where’s the discussion of a viable alternative? I’m not hearing that groundswell for Brady Quinn. I didn’t hear the clamor to get another quarterback when so many of them were available. Football fans in this country have all suddenly acquired a knee-jerk, herd mentality. This means if more than two of the blow-dries at ESPN say something, suddenly it becomes fact. This is exactly how a month ago Orton was on the train out of town and Tebow was the chosen one and today Tebow’s stock is lower than the scrotum on an old man in a sauna.
This is another thing the Broncos risk by cutting Tebow. Even the most ardent Tebow-haters say “he isn’t ready to be an NFL quarterback….right now.” The simple fact that nobody is willing to say “never” like when “the experts” were lining up to bury JaMarcus Russell is exactly why the Broncos are redicent to get rid of him. They’ve got four more cheap years to find out, and if they let him go and for some reason he does become a legitimate player somewhere else, the Broncos look even more foolish.
Having said that, don’t be “that guy” who writes me a comment telling me how stupid I am because I think Tebow can be a player int he NFL. I’m not saying that at all. Nobody really knows yet. What I am saying is that there is far more to this puzzle in both the case of Tebow and Orton than what happens on the field.
Despite what some dilcue like Merill Hoge says, it isn’t always true. While football is a sport, the NFL is a business. Sometimes, you have to look past what is coming out of the TV talking heads and look at the business realities of a situation.