by Ryan Meehan
There are a couple developing sports stories I’d like to discuss briefly, and one of them I can honestly say I didn’t see coming. Feel free to use the comments section to weigh in on what you expect out of these two situations, that’s what that space is for.
1. Tim Tebow signed a 2 year deal with the New England Patriots, where he will likely be polishing his clipboard holding skills behind Tom Brady, arguably one of the best to play the game in the Super Bowl era. Now, this is where it starts to get crazy:
I don’t think this is a bad idea. Although several journalists have expressed this same feeling, I haven’t alway been a Tebow defender so this is new territory for me. Last year, Tebow was so bad in the game he was put in that the fans actually wanted Mark Sanchez back in the game. That’s like hiring a twelve year old to remove a tree stump out of your backyard, getting pissed about his inability to do it, calling your ten year old paperboy up and having him give it a shot, getting pissed at HIS lack of inability, and then sending the twelve year old kid back out there to do it again. Tebow’s failure to make any sort of offense happen without creating total panic made him laughable at best.
Whether or not Tebow is simply a commodity to any NFL franchise to balance out how many players on a given team are failing substance abuse screenings or beating the shit out of their girlfriends is irrelevant at this point. Tebow will always be a backup unless someone gets seriously hurt, and even then the team will scramble to find some AF2 guy who can at least take a shot the following week. The point is, if Robert Kraft wants to go ahead and sign Tim Tebow to his squad, he should be able to and that’s exactly what he did. Whether or not they did it to please the bible banger demographic as opposed to whether or not he can contribute to the team is sort of irrelevant. This is not a division altering type of signing. It doesn’t make any difference that Tebow played with Aaron Hernandez at Florida or any of that, he is basically along for the ride.
Part of me wonders if this has anything to do with the fact that Tebow played for the Jets this year, because the Patriots have a tendency to take people from other teams that they hate and attempt to do everything to prove to the rest of the league that coach Belichick can turn anybody into a star. Likewise, they also twist the knife in even further when they have any sense that the guy’s career may be in decline by trading him to a team they are likely to meet in the playoffs. (See “Wes Welker”, who fits both of those descriptions…) Since the Patriots can do whatever they want at this stage in the franchise, they can also choose to ignore him for the entirety of his contract. This would be a perfect move to show the Jets who’s boss…”Oh, you signed the guy and ignored him for a year…Well…we can ignore him for two years!” You get their mentality if you’re a football fan, and even though this sounds like junior high bullshit it’s also their area of expertise.
Tim Tebow will likely be around the NFL for a while because there is always the chance that he will get into an important game and actually lead a team to a victory like he did that first season with the Broncos. There is always a chance that if it happens again, it may happen even closer to the Super Bowl and we all know that would be a great storyline for a movie that could make 600 million dollars off of church youth groups alone in the first weekend. (If Joyce Meyer is reading this, the mere thought of being able to somehow cash in on this for her own personal benefit has probably rendered her granny panties so soaked that they don’t even smell like James Dobson anymore) And that’s just fine with me, but I only want to really hear about it if they can use him in some way as a running back or a decoy. I don’t want to see anything about his life story on Sunday NFL Countdown (which has now ballooned into what seems like an all week broadcast) unless he actually plays the game. You can cut to a shot of him on Sunday Night Football if the Patriots are up three touchdowns on Atlanta in the fourth quarter of the week five game, I just don’t want to hear about it if we see him in training camp with his shirt off.
2. There is talk that recently retired NBA future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd may be interested in the Brooklyn Nets coaching vacancy. This is very unique because Kidd obviously has no head coaching experience and would be headed right to the responsibility of running a team straight off of his retirement.
I don’t think this is a bad idea either. Like Tebow, I haven’t exactly smothered Jason Kidd with praise in the journalism department. Bringing your kids to work is one thing, but bringing your kids to a press conference where you talk about work is completely inexcusable. Between that and the domestic abuse stuff, I’ve pretty much never had the desire to run out and buy a J-Kidd jersey.
But, he was one hell of a basketball player and more importantly than that he had a great grasp on how the game is run. It shocks me that more ppint guards don’t end up being head coaches. To me it’s a slam dunk of a decision, minus of course the tacky saying. Think about it – which guy would you rather have coach your team: Any guy who’s spent 16 or 17 years as an NBA point guard or Kevin McHale? It doesn’t matter how good the point guard was during his tenure as a player, you’re going to want the point guard every time. Don’t believe me? The Detroit Pistons just hired fucking Maurice Cheeks as their head coach, and that sound you heard is the sound of this discussion now being over.
Kidd met with Nets GM Billy King on Monday to discuss his interest in becoming the Nets head coach, and that’s some serious initiative to take for two guys that should probably be vacationing in Puetro Vallerta at the moment. There are several reasons that I am in favor of this, the first being the fact that Jason Kidd played the position of point guard for many years in the NBA with a lot of success as I previously mentioned. (In a somewhat related note, I think that it goes without saying that when he finally decides to hang it up, Steve Nash would be one hell of a coach as well.) It also goes back to one key word: Vision. Point guards have a great sense of vision, and coaches need a great sense of vision in order to succeed. And that’s why point guards make visionary coaches.
But it goes just beyond that, hiring Jason Kidd would be a very smart move because he would be a coach that knows exactly what it’s like to come right off of the court and get down to business. The NBA is a league where the game changes a lot more often than it does in other sports, so Kidd jumping in there right away is great because he knows exactly what today’s league looks and feels like. Sometimes with some of the younger players in the NBA, you can get this backlash of “I’d like to see you get in there and try to do it…” and with Kidd you wouldn’t have it. Realistically, he could probably still play if he had to and you know he’s going to be very hands-on in practice sessions. In other words, it would be nice to see a guy go directly from the court to coaching, without the standard two years an analyst at TNT or your local Comcast station.
Not only that, but Kidd is familiar with the Nets organization. He spent eight years there, and his most recent stint was right down the block with the Knicks. Jason knows Nets management personally, and for the last time I’d like to stress here that there are many other people not named Jay-Z who are in charge of making decisions within that organization. Being familiar with a franchise’s framework is extremely crucial during the interview process, because you know what they are looking for. They feel you out by asking for what your vision is. (There’s that word again…)
If that’s not enough, here are some numbers that I can give you that will assure you Jason Kidd has a high basketball IQ: He’s a ten time NBA All Star, five time all NBA first team, 4 time All defensive first team, and a five time NBA assists leader during a period where the league has a lot of Hall of Famers dishing the ball out. In fact, Kidd had over twelve thousand assists in his entire career and over twenty six hundred steals. He almost never too plays off, and was the consummate definition of what it means to hustle at both ends of the court all game long. That’s what you want in a coach, but something that is almost unheard of for a player. If he could get that team to do the same, why shouldn’t he be their coach?
What do these two things have in common?
Other than the proximity in which they happened, these two stories are similar because they are two ideas that may at first seem like bad ideas for the individuals involved. But upon closer examination, they are both really good ideas in my mind. Is Tebow going to miraculously come into a game late in the year and save the Patriots season after Tom Brady breaks his ankle? It’s doubtful, but it could very well happen… And take the Kidd situation – Is he going to win a championship his first year as a head coach? That’s doubtful as well, but think about this for a second: In the age of free agency, is it any less doubtful that the Nets will tank with that roster under Kidd’s command and finish with a winning percentage of under .300? Probably Not.
Now I will agree that there is a lot more grey area with the Kidd situation – The East has a lot of good teams so all of these talking heads that are saying it’s easier the front office move of the decade or it’s going to be a complete disaster seem to be forgetting the Nets could be very good for the next few years without the casual sports fan retaining a lot of the names on the back of the jerseys. Tebow will either be put in as a decoy, will actually get the chance to run the football against some teams with weaker defensive lines, or won’t play at all.
But this is why we watch sports, for the “ifs” that exist. I personally think both of these ideas coming through in the same 24 hour news feed is a coincidence that makes me think anything is possible, and I wish both guys the best of luck in their pursuits because I think they are both good ideas. Tebow is signed so that’s done with, the Kidd thing is still in the works but I think that he’ll be given a chance. Only time will tell, just like that awful Jimmy Buffett song.