Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco and Green Bay Bay Packers TE Jermichael Finley have very little on common. Aside from possibly being a part of the same fantasy football team (albeit one that would be quite disappoiting and not likely to still be playing this week), the three have decided to speak out against the most buzzworthy NFL player of 2011.
I am talking about none other than Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow, of course.
When it comes to Tebow, it seems that there is no middle ground. You either love him or you hate him. Whether it is because of his strong and outspoken religious overtone or the fact that you just don’t buy into all of the hype, many people root for Tebow to fail. Those who support him enjoy how he expresses his values and says that you cannot argue with his numbers, referring to his record this season as the Broncos starting quarterback. After a 1-4 start, Tebow has helped lead Denver to a 7-1 record and a first place standing in the AFC West.
But when it comes to Smith, Flacco and Finley, they have certainly heard enough of Tebow this season, and have no problem letting everyone know how they really feel about the former Heisman Trophy winner and National Champion with the Florida Gators.
Smith, who is also playing with another young quarterback who makes plays with his ground game, Cam Newton (who also boats many of the same accomplishments from an SEC school as Tebow, having won the Heisman and BCS Championship with the Auburn Tigers last season), said that Tebow is not as impressive as everyone wants to make him out to be, even during his winning streak.
“I don’t want to be one of the those guys like everybody saying ‘oh he’s not this’ — he’s winning,” Smith conceded on the Dave Dameshek radio program. “But at the end of the day, you can’t be 3-10 for three quarters and you go into the fourth quarter. Because Tim Tebow is ‘Tebow Time’ I keep hearing, but nobody is giving credit to who deserves it — which is that defense, because it’s playing lights out.”
“Everybody wants to say Tim Tebow is that difference maker,” Smith said, “he wouldn’t be on my son’s flag football team.”
Ouch. Harsh words from Smith.
But he is not alone.
Flacco got a bit off of his chest to Baltimore radio station WNST on Friday, stating that ”I like Tim, but you have a tendency to want to — I don’t want to see Tim do bad — but look what happens after he wins a football game. If you watched ‘SportsCenter’ today, it was Tim Tebow then something else, Tim Tebow then something else, and Tim Tebow then something else. When we beat the Steelers, were we on TV? No. I couldn’t even find a Baltimore Ravens highlight.”
Both men bring up valid points. It is like the second coming of Brett Favre, just in the form of a far more likeable character.
Finley was the latest to jump on the bandwagon, reminding people that he has a pretty good quarterback playing on his team as well.
“I sit at home, start watching TV and all I’m seeing is Tebow,” Finley told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “That’s kind of disturbing. We have a guy here (Packers QB Aaron Rodgers) that’s breaking records every week and you have a guy in Tebow that’s saying ‘God’ every word and he gets coverage. Of course I love my faith and God, but come on man.”
Tebow is always going to have his fair share of detractors, critics and haters. Some because they believe he is overhyped. Others because they feel he is overrated. And some because they are simply jealous of his success.
But one thing remains certain.
As long as he continues to win, people will continue to talk about him constantly.
The New England Patriots have an excellent chance of curbing all of that talk for at least one week on Sunday afternoon.