Sports Fans may not realize it; but Tim Tebow’s Fans are fighting for you. Tebow went to the New York Jets as the Most Popular Athlete in the World. This is something Professional Sports Leagues drool over. For the National Football League, it had never happened before. And it will almost certainly never happen again. Unless that Player’s name is Tim Tebow.
Don’t bother trying to put a finger on the Tebow Phenomenon. I’ve been following it from here in Florida since it began and I’m no closer to understanding it. Except for one thing. He is quite possibly the most genuine person you’ll ever meet. In a World that thrives on lies, that’s something whose worth is nearly impossible to measure.
Tebow Tuesday has been a small tribute that’s been used in Social Media Circles for a couple years. But for this Tuesday there has been a huge push for the entire Galaxy of Tebow to Stand Up. No Nation or Galaxy has been nearly large enough to contain the Tebow Following. Neither is the National Football League, which has been apoplectic over the idea that a single Player is more Popular than it. If we’ve misjudged the size of anything, it has been the size of the egos of NFL Head Coaches and General Managers. Their renowned egomania has met its match with TebowMania. And they’re waving the white flag.
But one Football League has wholeheartedly embraced Tim Tebow, “cult-like” Following and all. The A-11 Football League. The more I’ve looked at the League, the more it is clearly what the NFL should be but doesn’t have the courage to be. There’s one tiny problem. It only exists in the mind right now. It’s a vision for a League that is becoming a reality of one as quickly as it can. And its vision includes Tim Tebow leading its newly selected Florida Team…as a Quarterback, no less. Wow! Whoda thunk it!? That a League would think a young man who has led a Team to a State Championship, on a broken leg even, led a Team to a BCS Championship and was a key component of another, Won a Heisman and led a Team with cumulatively the worst record in the NFL over nearly 2 years when he took the reigns to a Division Title and one of the biggest Home Playoff Wins for a Franchise that’s seen some great ones all as a Quarterback…could actually BE a Quarterback.
To be clear, the reason NFL Teams want Tim Tebow to change positions is because it would pull him back from the podium. It’s a desperate attempt to curb his Popularity to something the NFL Franchises think they can manage and maybe even control. Because control…NOT Winning…is everything in the NFL.
The A-11 obviously isn’t afraid of Tebow being more Popular than it. But nobody should think it’s a publicity thing. What it is is a recognition that he is the type of Player and Person they want to be seen as. And they’re not going to allow themselves to be driven by Fear, which has been the watchword of motivation within the NFL for years. Brian Billick calls the NFL paranoid. And he’s absolutely right. NFL GMs and Head Coaches are paranoid about EVERYTHING. TebowMania has been mainlining performance enhancers to that paranoia.
The A-11 is leaping on-board with this coming #TebowTuesday. I don’t know yet what they plan. But they appear to be looking to kick their push to sign Tim Tebow into the next gear. Football Fans should get on-board with this. Because it’s time for there to be some excitement restored to Professional Football. And this should be exciting. Not just on the Field.
The A-11 has been clear they plan on some form of Fan Equity Participation. I’ve tossed out a number of Football Fans directly Owning 30% or more of the League and the A-11 hasn’t pushed back on that. I didn’t just pull this number out of the air. For several years, I’ve advocated that the NFL and Major League Baseball restructure themselves and launch IPOs of roughly a third. The Owners would get their investments back and still maintain controlling interests. But what they could not do is hold their monopolies over the Fans heads. Threaten to move Teams if they don’t get what they want. Among other things. Like new Stadiums. But control means everything to these guys. Absolute control.
The A-11 does not share this fear of the Fans. This is turning around over 100 years of how Professional Sports in this country operates…over-night. Because it instantly eliminates the contentious relationship between Owners and Customers. The Customers ARE the Owners. In fact, Fans can create Affinity Groups and pool their resources together to be Majority Owners of Franchises. Or at least that appears to be a possibility. And, if it is, the nature of Professional Sports Ownership in the US will change in a way that will never turn back. Fans will forever be Shot-Callers in the Leagues they love. The dominoes will fall because Fans will insist on it. Once they get a taste of no longer being 2nd Class Citizens, at best, in Pro Sports, they simply won’t ever tolerate any League that treats them that way.
This can all begin on Tuesday. #TebowTuesday.
Go Big or Stay Home.
Y’All have heard me say this before. But this Century-Plus long wrestling match between Fans and Leagues/Owners has certainly not been limited to the NFL. The two most blatant statements of Fan enmity were actually made by Baseball. First by Albert Spalding around 90 years ago saying Professional Baseball had no chance of survival because of the demands of the Fans. And then by Bud Selig testifying this very thing to Congress. Leagues that don’t exist without Athletes or Fans often trust neither and view them as adversaries. And we as Fans let them. Up to a point. Usually Leagues & the owners can’t sense those lines they cannot cross and try to at least appear not to. But there have been times when they have stepped over those lines. The Leagues have survived because they always knew enough to jump in and try to repair their damaged relationship with the Fans.
But the NFL has become a League of nothing more than lip-service. Roger Goodell says he wants Tim Tebow in the NFL; that it’s good for the League. That’s a Big fat DUH! and a Big WooptieDo. So Roger wants Tim. Roger wants Tim’s Fans. But it’s nothing but weak PR. So busy fighting off Lawsuits from that other essential group they need, Players…or, more appropriately Ex-Players…the Owners have failed to step in and slap their Functionaries around. This is how it’s often played out in Sports. Fans begin to get tired of feeling de-valued and the Owners try to step in to make them feel wanted. That is when it’s not the Owners themselves creating the problems. The only reason Shahid Khan isn’t the Most hated Sports Owner in Florida is because Jeffrey Loria is here as well. But both are under the heat lamps not for what they’ve done so much as how they’ve done it.
Loria has a decent argument that the Marlins were lousy when they were loaded with what may well be seriously over-paid and over-hyped Players. But the way he went about the Housecleaning and his subsequent haughty attitude simply enrages Fans. The Jacksonville Jaguars don’t need to sign Tim Tebow. It’s the smart thing to do. But if NFL Franchises were crushed by the Fans for being dumb, there’d only be three or four of them left. It is specifically because of the capricious manner in which the Jaguars sought to humiliate Tim Tebow that has Floridians and all Tebow Fans incensed and in an unforgiving mood. Shad Khan has handled the Tim Tebow situation with the grace & tact of Woody Johnson telling outraged Jets PSL Owners to call his Lawyers.
It is this attitude that has been allowed by the Fans to reach a boiling over point.
Tebow Fans can begin to set things right. For ALL Pro Sports Fans. Fans can’t just matter. They must be paramount. When Leagues forget that they have to be reminded by the Fans that they’re nothing without them. Fans have always put up with alot. But sooner or later they have to say it’s become too much.
We’re there now with the NFL. The NFL Owners need to be reminded that surviving the Lawsuits means nothing if they’ve ignored the Fans so much getting there, that they’ve moved on.
For all Professional Sports Fans… #TebowTuesday.
Buzzy Says : great write But Dont over sell T2 and the A-11 as the NFL has a Head start and as most people the A-11 may forget how the got a hold on the game of football and in the end act just as the NFL has.