11:39 am Jun. 25, 2012
A weekly column about what the Jets are up to when they're not playing football.
Tim Tebow won the Good Guy Award from the Pro Football Writers of America, thus putting a bow around what can only be described as The Year of the Tebow.
The award was given “to a player for his qualities and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their job.”
Tebow certainly qualifies here: Where would football writers be without the guy?
The irony is that Tebow’s cliché-ridden, unrevealing, unfailingly politedemeanor is traditionally what sportswriters are said to hate. That famous scene in Bull Durhan in which Crash Davis instructs Nuke LaLoosh on his clichés (“and the Good Lord willing, things will work out”) was really a lesson in the passive-aggressive means by which athletes keep reporters at a distance.
Of course, the Tebow narrative has taken on such a life of its own that Tebow himself doesn’t have to say anything to keep it going. From the rightness or wrongness of making a public display of one’s faith, to the question of whether certain players’ abilities to win games transcend their statistics, to debates about which types of offenses are viable in the N.F.L., Tebow has been an argument-starting gift that keeps on giving. (This applies even to meta-narrative comments about Tebow, like this one.)
Even in the dead of the offseason when he’s nowhere in sight, Tebow still manages to spawn stories.
Case in point: this past week, when a deranged New Jersey man called the cops, identified himself as the president, and asked to speak to Tebow. (Daily News lede: “It’s official: The first case of Tebowmania has been identified in New Jersey.”)
Tebomania has been fun at times and soul-deadening at others. But when the season begins, and wins and losses dictate storylines, Tebow will be reduced from the most polarizing athlete on the planet to a moderately useful piece of the Jets offense.
PLAXICO BURRESS EXPRESSED A DESIRE TO PLAY for the Carolina Panthers, but the feeling wasn’t mutual.
There has been scant interest in Burress on the open market. That’s not too surprising for a 35-year-old with a history of being high-maintenance who just had his worst season. It’s not that teams think that Burress isn’t better than any of the 90-plus receivers in the N.F.L. who get regular playing time. Rather, it’s that the opportunity-cost of supplanting a young player with potential to blossom is greater than the benefit of adding Burress. Take the Giants last year, for instance: Where would Victor Cruz be right now had Burress accepted the team’s non-guaranteed offer?
Still, it seems that Burress is being undervalued. He wasn’t awful last year (he caught eight touchdowns) and his biggest problem was something that should improve this year: his lack of deep speed. True, most people don’t get faster from age 34 to 35. But that’s overridden by the fact that pro athletes who are fifteen months removed from prison tend to be much faster than those three months removed (see: Vick, Michael).
I'VE WRITTEN A LOT ABOUT THE SAFETY POSITION, WHICH was problematic last year but might or might not have solved its problems in pass-coverage with the signing of Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry, two safeties best known for their ability to play the run.
Those two will enter training camp as the presumptive starters, Mike Pettine confirmed to Brian Costello of the Post. Eric Smith, a starter last season, will rotate in as a reserve.
“You’ll love Eric Smith at 300 snaps. You don’t like him at 1,000,” said Pettine, of a player who saw 966 snaps last year.
THE JETS LOWERED TICKET PRICES FOR ABOUT 12,000 upper-deck seats from $95 and $105 to $50. That’s a significant dropoff, and, given the fact that those seats don’t carry a personal seat license fee, they’re reasonably affordable for the “average fan.” $400 for an eight-game season ticket package, especially if you’re splitting them up? That’s not bad in New York in 2012.
SOME FOOTBALL JUNKIES GET THEIR OFF-SEASON fix by reading the reams of upbeat stories about the veteran who’s in the best shape of his life, or the young player who hopes to make an impact this coming year. Some retreat into old N.F.L. Films videos.
Here, then, is the 1968 Jets video yearbook (h/t Gang Green Nation). If you’re of the belief that they don’t make highlight compilations like they used to, and judging by SNY’s heavy reliance on Mets video yearbooks of yore, it’s a sizable demographic, this video won’t disappoint.
It begins with a kind of dream sequence, the low-budget rendering of which looks even more primitive than those on "Saved by the Bell." For some reason, John Facenda, the N.F.L. Films “Voice of God” whose baritone narration was as iconic as the close-ups of spirals, wasn’t on this project. Instead, it’s a Facenda soundalike who intones, “It must have seemed like a dream. Who were these conquerors from New York that had dealt Goliath such a blow?”
Period touches soon follow, such as a montage of Times Square lights set to a song that sounds a little like the Austin Powers theme.
The most interesting thing about the video is the level of awareness of what Super Bowl III would come to represent. The producers knew the game was a turning point, signifying that the A.F.L. had gotten on equal footing with the N.F.L. But everything else attached to that narrative—the countercultural uprising against the old guard, Joe Namath’s pioneering of the cocky, swaggering athlete prototype—evidently took longer to crystallize.
More by this author:
- Gary Cohen, the anti-Michael Kay, also broadcasts during his time off
- Blue blood: The harsh logic behind the cutting of Bradshaw, Canty and Boley