Now that the Super Bowl is over, do you remember the NFL lockout? Me neither. Instead, I’ve been Tebowing about these five things:
1) When did NFL fame become more about off-field drama than winning?
Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow walk into a bar. That’s a either a joke or a headline, and then there would be a half-hour documentary on three different networks — “The Ballad of Tom Brady and Yoko Bundchen.”
Meanwhile, it turns out that Eli Manning actually owns the bar. Only Aaron Rodgers and people who know the words to the song, “New York, New York” noticed that Eli Manning now owns the Lombardi Trophy Bar & Grill.
Unfazed by the Eli revelation, all national observers still stubbornly say, “Look who just walked into the bar.”
2) Does NFL history repeat itself backwards?
Is Tom Brady’s career going to be John Elway’s in reverse?
At the end of his career, John Elway had modest statistics and won two Super Bowls. At the beginning of his career, Tom Brady had modest statistics and won three Super Bowls.
In the first half of his career, Elway had great statistics and lost three Super Bowls, including one to the New York Giants. In the second half of his career, Brady has had great statistics and lost two Super Bowls, both to the New York Giants.
It’s spooky, almost to the level of the John F. Kennedy/Abraham Lincoln parallels.
3) Can an old great quarterback switch teams and win big?
Could a healthy Peyton Manning turn a perennially crummy team into a Super Bowl team? Could he go to the Washington Redskins or the Cleveland Browns and turn them into Super Bowl contenders? He could probably turn a worse team into winners — the Indianapolis Colts. But he knows the Colts, and there are proven weapons there.
The Peyton Manning conundrum is beginning to already sound eerily like the beginning rumblings of what turned into the years-long Brett Favre retirement tour. Still, as Favre, Joe Montana and Kurt Warner proved, great quarterbacks who change franchises at the end of their careers can have great success. Of course, he needs some help, so the answer on Redskins or Browns is probably no. No?
4) Is a Tim Tebow offense capable of winning big in the NFL?
Can the Tim Tebow run-option college offense continue to have success in the NFL? With a good defense, Tebow probably could keep the Broncos perennially around 9-7. About three or four of the losses would be ugly-as-sin blowouts. But if a team does not play disciplined defense against a Tebow offense, his magic dust will infiltrate the defense’s mind by the end of the game. Maybe it’s not magic dust. Maybe he is a wizard. Tough to tell where his magic power comes from. He certainly never gives any clues. But he is tough as nails, he throws a great long ball, and he runs like a moose. In any playground pickup game anywhere, he would be the number one pick.
But the NFL is different than the playground, and a huge portion of his game (all passes that are not bombs) is horrible. He will have success because he is so unique, but his success will be limited unless he is surrounded by an invincible team on both sides of the ball. Of course, that can also be said for quarterbacks who are not also verbs. So can Tebow win big? John Elway, who did win (and throw) big, must have plan B in the back of his mind.
5) Will Eli Manning get into the Hall Of Fame without needing a ticket?
Is Eli Manning going to the Hall of Fame? Oh, sure. With an anointed last name and two Super Bowl rings, Eli will get in Canton without any doubt. It may take a while, but he will get in based on two legendary Super Bowl runs that over time will make his handful of mediocre seasons virtually forgettable. The New York elite lamestream media will help elevate his reputation to greatness.
And that’s just right now. Eli Manning just recently became great and he has a long career in front of him. He is entering his prime with a flawed but loaded team, and a ferocious defense. Manning is poised to challenge for a few more rings before he walks away. By then, it will be clear that he is going to the Canton, where Peyton will be waiting in the new Manning Wing of the building.
Brian Tarcy is the author or co-author many books including of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Football with Joe Theismann, and the creator of the NFL political humor site Whatzgonnahappen