Thursday, December 15, 2011

We've Seen Tim Tebow Around Boston Before

This Tim Tebow guy is something else, isn't he?  Most people revile him, everyone else just can't figure him out.  For instance, don't ask my nine year old about "Tebow Time," he'll come after you - he hates Tebow that much.  What we all can agree to is that he's all the NFL is talking about.  Even Peter King, who is never at a loss for words, can't pigeon hole this guy - calling last week's win over the Bears "weird."  And although Tebow holds many of the SEC's Quarterback records (over Peyton Manning and Eli Manning), accounted for 145 touchdowns in essentially three seasons, won the 2007 Heisman Trophy, led the Florida Gators to two NCAA Championships and was a First Round draft pick, hardly anyone can believe what's happening in Denver right now.  Maybe it's the way he wins or the condescending way he believes God has something to do with his football prowess but no matter what, Tebow is the hottest property in the NFL.  Just like I said.

This pass is sailing high and wide, just a hunch...
His professional career started inconspicuously.  He was pegged as a back up when he was drafted in 2010 and management clearly wanted nothing to do with him.  This was especially true when Broncos Coach Josh McDaniels was fired in 2010.  John Elway could barely contain his disdain for the young pious dude.  He was just going to be a role player on a team that was expected to compete for the AFC West Division title. When circumstances led to him being thrust into the starting role, he started winning.  No one expected much from him, as he was just a placeholder - a bridge - to a higher profile player.  But as the wins started piling up, particularly during the recent winning streak, people started taking real notice.  He even revived Willis McGahee from his drunken stupor (or whatever was afflicting him).  Tebow was leading some people to think his presence was divine intervention or Magic.

Magic.  Yeah, we've seen this before around Boston.  Maybe instead of a Heisman-winning Quarterback who no one seemed to like, our Tim Tebow was instead an aging bullpen coach from Walpole, Massachusetts whom everyone liked.  He was management's 342nd choice to manage the Boston Red Sox, though, and was just going to be a bridge until a higher profile manager became available.

But then the winning started.  After Manager John McNamara was fired right before the All Star Break in 1988, this Manager led the Red Sox to win 19 out of 20 wins after the All Star Break, and 24 straight wins at Fenway.  They started calling what was happening "magic" and although the only Gods involved here were the baseball gods, they were Gods nonetheless. He impossibly made Todd Benzinger an important piece to the baseball puzzle, revived his flagging career that seemed to have been stuck since rising through the Sox farm system.  And even though his boss, John Harrington, didn't have big teeth and a Hall of Fame pedigree, he still was not the boss' first choice.  Our Tebow's name?...Joe Morgan.

Led by Mike Greenwell, Bruce Hurst, Roger Clemens and of course Wade Boggs, the Red Sox team that was underachieving all season, was now the darlings of baseball.  And Joe Morgan was given a lot of the credit.  He was able to stoke the stars into playing and eke out some decent performances from role players and aging veterans.  Even Dennis Lamp and Jim Rice showed some signs of life.  And that streak in July? It propelled the 1988 Red Sox to the ALCS, where they lost to the Oakland A's in 4 games.  

After that streak ended and the team finished the year 26-30, no one was talking about Joe Morgan anymore.  He had become just another name associated with the fruitless pursuit called the Boston Red Sox.  He was never able to duplicate that magic.  He led the Red Sox to the 1990 ALCS, again only to be swept by the Oakland A's and his managing career was finished in 1991.  After being let go, Morgan never managed again and retired in his comfortable Walpole home. Morgan Magic is now just a figment of our imagination.

The point being that the magic will eventually end - maybe even this week against the vaunted Pats defense.  Don't get me wrong.  Tebow isn't a bad guy, but he's also not going to remind anyone of the Manning brothers, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, so yeah, the magic will end, it always does for these guys. 

photos courtesy of and

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