Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday's Musings on Sports from Tim to Egypt and Back

Nearly a year ago, the sports world was abuzz about Tim Tebow. Tebow had been a superior college quarterback who was given no chance by most pundits at succeeding in the NFL. The scouts did not think that he had the throwing motion nor accuracy to succeed as an NFL QB. Tebow was drafted in the late first round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos, but he had seen almost no action in his first year in the NFL.
Last year, the Denver Broncos were foundering and the team had gone through two ineffective QBs. Out of sheer desperation and to satisfy the demands of the Tebow fans who had followed him from college in Florida to Denver, the Broncos begrudgingly put Tebow into a game. And the team started to win. Although a careful analysis of the Broncos games can yield any number of reasons that the team won seven of the first eight games that Tebow started, the immutable truth is that the Broncos won the games that Tebow started. The games were often ugly, but Tebow just could not be denied.
I remember watching the first round playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos last year. Pittsburgh was down Ryan Clark because of the altitude in Denver (for more on Clark see my post here - I could not believe that the Broncos had been able to keep up with the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers, but somehow the regular session ended in a tie. A few minutes into overtime, Tebow his Demaryus Thomas with a perfect seam pass and he was off to the races. Although the Bronocos got punched in the gut the following week, the legend of Tebow was born.
A few months later, the Indianapolis Colts cut Peyton Manning due to concerns about his health and the fact that Andrew Luck had fallen into their laps. Peyton visited a few teams and took a couple of phone calls before he decided that Denver was his best choice as a free agent. Not long after, Denver traded Tebow to the Jets. And the Jets season was stillborn before they played their first game.
There have been far too many articles written about why Tebow was a bad fit from the start for the Jets. Be it Sanchez's fragile ego, the lack of a plan for the use of Tebow or the fact that the offense had too many holes which needed to be filled, the Tebow experimented was destined for failure.
So the Jets started their season and the Sanchize had some good and some not so good games. Still, their defense kept them in games and their playoff hopes were still alive at the midway point of the season. However soon after, Sanchez had some brutal games, none worse than the debacle against New England which gave the Jets their seventh loss. At this point, the Jets knew that another loss would doom their playoff hopes. When Sanchez started poorly against Arizona the following week, Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan brought in the backup QB, but it was not Tebow since he was unavailable due to injury. Instead, third string QB Greg McElroy saved the day and for the moment, the season.
The next week, the Sanchize was back in as QB and the team barely managed to scrape out wins against bad teams. Tebow eventually made his way back from injury, but he was not put in to spell an ineffective Sanchez. After the Jets were finally (mercifully) eliminated, the team announced that it would bench Sanchez and that ... McElroy would start the game against the SD Chargers. Although the Jets lost the game 27-17 and McElroy had flashes of competency (he was sacked 11 times), the Jets did not replace him with Tebow.
To his credit, through it all, Tebow has been stoic and has not publicly said a bad word about Jets ownership, management, his teammates or coaches. In fact, each time that Tebow is interview he does everything but criticize the Jets or call anyone out.
Tebow's positive demeanor despite his humiliating treatment brings to mind a vort I saw in the name of the Netziv about Yosef. In last week's parsha, Yosef finally breaks down and tells the brothers that he is really Yosef. Prior to this event, Yosef sends all the Egyptians out of the room so as to not embarrass the brothers. Once the Egyptians have left, Yosef says to his brothers - I am Yosef, is my father still alive. The Netziv asks - why is it that Yosef does not say "I am Yosef who you sold down to Egypt?" The Netziv answers that even though the Egyptians were out of the room, Yosef was concerned that they could hear him speaking from their location in the antechamber and in an attempt to protect his brothers from embarrassment, Yosef did not fully call his brothers out.
This is the way of all those who think positive and know that what matters is what they can do, not putting others in their place.
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