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NFL Unfiltered Week 16: Tim Tebow controversy, Jon Gruden on Calvin Johnson, and more!


The most exciting part of the NFL season is a mere two weeks away, but quarterback Tim Tebow is still making headlines.  
Even if you ignore the fact he has only played 72 offensive snaps in 11 games, you have to wonder why he has the audacity to think he received a raw deal from the New York Jets this season.  

Did he believe he would get an opportunity to unseat incumbent, Mark Sanchez and become the Jets’ starting quarterback?  “All you can ask for and all you want is a chance,” said Tebow, according to newsday.com.Photo: businessinsider.com

Perhaps a Jets’ official told him his magic would surely set Broadway on its ear. Maybe owner Woody Johnson’s obsession with the back pages of New York’s tabloids convinced Tebow his star shone too brightly for a non-descript role.

Regardless, we now know the Jets’ staff sees Tebow as some kind of NFL caricature, a toy, rather than a viable quarterback choice.  That is why the Jason Garrett of this generation—third stringer Greg McElroy—is starting the season finale against the Buffalo Bills. Like Tebow or not, you cannot blame Rex Ryan for his foibles.  

Instead, Tebow and his followers need to recognize the person most responsible for this disastrous of seasons is Tebow himself.  

He had other options.  He could have asked the Denver Broncos to try to work something out with the New England Patriots so he could reunite with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.  McDaniels, you may remember, is the reason Tebow became a first round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.

He could have orchestrated a move back home to Jacksonville and competed against Blaine Gabbert for the starting job. There may have even been an unnamed team or two that were intrigued by his skill set.  

Instead, he agreed to a trade to the Jets, a team with an 8-8 record, an extremely wealthy starting quarterback and one of the most dysfunctional locker rooms in the entire league.  It made little sense at the time and suggested a level of arrogance not often associated with Tebow.

Consequently, he has been embarrassed this year and now wants to play the role of victim in the Jets’ mess as if his resume speaks for itself.  As if he is far superior to Sanchez- despite the fact Sanchez has better passing statistics, a higher regular season winning percentage and more playoff wins—salient points Tebow’s flock choose to ignore.

Make no mistake; I believe Tebow can have success similar to what he experienced in Denver last season.  However, his game demands more support from the front office, coaching staff and teammates than any other starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL.
Tebow is likely to get another chance to play in the league next season but he must humble himself and submit to the will of the NFL. Someone close to him needs to tell him he is more an evangelical star than he is a quarterback right now.

Otherwise, his quest to spread the gospel full-time will begin in earnest and much sooner than he expected.  

What the pundits can’t or won’t say

Kudos to Jon Gruden for mentioning the garbage statistics Calvin Johnson has accumulated in breaking the single-season record for receiving yards.  I appreciate the fact he had the wherewithal to offer an honest assessment. Photo: ctpost.com

It is probably my own biases but chasing records in football seems more self-serving than in baseball.

Punt returner Stefan Logan  took a knee on the ensuing punt after the Lions scored on a safety. Video shows Coach Jim Schwartz suggesting he had never seen such a stupid play.  

The experts say teams take on the characteristics of their coach and Schwartz’s squad has done too many dumb things to absolve him.  

For all the rules changes geared toward the offense and freakish statistics from the game’s best quarterbacks, nobody has ever passed their way to a championship.  Quarterbacks cannot be prolific in every playoff game; it is too hard.

It is the 40th anniversary of the immaculate reception and the most under discussed part of that play is safety Jack Tatum’s selfish attempt to add to his legacy as a hard hitter rather than play to win.  Like so many defensive backs throughout NFL history, he only needed to knock the ball down.  


Another Steelers loss coupled with another boneheaded decision by Mike Tomlin.  He is channeling his inner Herm Edwards nearly every week and nobody talks about it.  His game management has been brutal.

Fantasy football is the reason why people keep insisting the Dallas Cowboys have an abundance of talent.  They have an abundance of impressive offensive statistics and highlights.

It’s official: Robert Griffin III is about as good as Ryan Fitzpatrick is without the benefit of his excellent speed.  

For what it’s worth, LeSean McCoy’s return to the lineup says a lot about how he feels about Andy Reid and his teammates.  Still, the Eagles’ inability to adjust to an obviously hobbled RGII is a microcosm of Reid’s tenure as head coach.

Marvin Lewis gives further credence to my belief there are no superstar coaches; there are only superstar players.  When Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson were good, the Bengals made the playoffs.  Without them, they did not. Now that Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are adequate replacements, Lewis is back in the postseason.  There is no mystery to it.

However, I do believe many coaches get in the way of winning.  Men like Tomlin, Chan Gailey, Jason Garrett and Schwartz fall into that category.  

In an environment that survives on gross overreactions, know that any team that makes the playoffs has a good chance to get to and win the Super Bowl.  Every single squad is patently flawed.  In this era, it comes down to matchups just like the NCAA basketball tournament.

The Seattle Seahawks are the only playoff qualifier with a losing road record. That speaks volumes in my view and tells me they will lose in the first round regardless of their opponent.  

Top 4 this week (rankings disclaimer: my top four will always feature two AFC teams and two NFC teams).

1. Denver Broncos (12-3) – I doubt Manning in January, but nine straight is impressive.    
2. Atlanta Falcons (13-2) – I cannot see now they get to New Orleans.   
3. San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1) – They are the toughest out in the tournament.
4. New England Patriots (11-4) – One way to beat them and only two teams can do it.

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@gmail.com

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Tebow photo: businessinsider.com

Calvin Johnson photo: ctpost.com