If you haven't noticed, more and more people seem to be finding the courage to wake up from the aw-shucks nightmare that was (and still is) Tebowmania. Perhaps not having Tebow around frees the mind--like trascendental meditation or a long hit from a sweet bong.
We've affectionately called this nightmare Zombieland. Here, all of the infected wear a #15 jersey and screech the word "intangibles" outside your boarded-up window (as film guru Greg Cosell has said, when intangibles are the first things someone brings up when talking about a quarterback, it's code for: he can't throw). It's like a page from the novel I Am Legend--except these Tebow vampires don't always want your flesh. They want to force you to attend Bob Tebow High School (where degrees are awarded sans biology, anthropology, and philosophy courses) and elect his son as class president--without an actual election.
Those who disagree--well, there's always your flesh or Twitter.
The latest to dissent are Darren McKee (D-Mac) and ex-Bronco Alfred Williams (Big Al) of Denver's Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan. Williams, we should note, has never been a fan of Tebow the football player. McKee, on the other hand, has been a strident Tebow supporter. Thursday, however, Big Al and D-Mac took things to another level. Not only did they openly describe Zombieland, they spoke the words that could not be spoken while Tebow was quarterback of the Broncos: you can't seperate Tebow the player from Tebow the religion.
This, of course, is why Tebow had to go. John Elway knew it; we at IAOFM knew it (including my buddy Ted Bartlett, who did as good a job as anyone of trying to avoid mixing the two all season long); now, D-Mac, one of the biggest local supporters of Tebow that Denver has known, figured it out. In Hour 1 of The Drive on Thursday, after seeing the intense reaction from Zombieland to Demaryius Thomas's comments on Tebow, D-Mac and Big Al had finally had enough.
Of course, Thomas's comments were honest, truthful, and to our eyes, not nearly as bad as they were portrayed. They seemed rather middle of the road. Thomas even said he believed Tebow could become the starter in New York. However, in Zombieland, all comments that aren't Tebow Positive,Tebow Approved are seen as offensive.
After interviewing Thomas, who was clearly shaken by attacks from Zombieland, D-Mac had this reaction:
D-Mac: You have to juxstapose what you can and can't say about Tim Tebow. It is wild, Alfred, to see the reaction if you say negative things about Tim Tebow, and you know what, you're really better of just not saying anything; however, as Broncos fans, here it is. You are getting insight as to what it was really like with Tim Tebow on the Broncos. And that it does go beyond football--even with him not here, it goes beyond football. It still remains.
A few minutes later, Big Al and D-Mac had the following exchange:
D-Mac: Let me ask you an honest question...Is Tim Tebow a football player or is Tim Tebow an Evangelical leader who plays football?
Big Al: I think he is...that's a great statement. I think he is an Evangelical leader who plays football.
D-Mac: I think so, too.
And then a few minutes later still, what followed was possibly the most honest, truthful assessment of Tebow and Tebowmania that I've seen from D-Mac and Big Al since they've been on the air. It cuts to the heart of why one can never seperate Tebow the football player (if he exists) from Tebowmania:
D-Mac: When you first think of Tebow, what's the first thing that comes to your mind?
Big Al: Evangelical Christian.
D-Mac: Me, too...and just yesterday we had this conversation about if you can you be successful if you're not all into the sport. If you're not...if it's not your first priority?
Big Al: It's got to be your first priority. And I got a couple of my home boys who texted me: "God first, then everything else, later."
D-Mac: Well I think that's clear as a bell with Tim Tebow.
Big Al: Right, and I totally understand. But, you know...with all the places that I've been...you know that I played for Bill McCartney at the University of Colorado. I mean the guy started one of the most powerful...Christian men's organizations out there--Promise Keepers. Bill McCartney walked into stadiums packed from the top of the stadium down. And you know what? When we got to practice what his first message was? Football. Football. Football. This is what we're here today for. Football. Football. Very rarely did he go on to the side of religion. As a matter of fact, I don't even know if he ever talked to the team about his faith. As a matter of fact, I'm sure of it...
D-Mac: ...You know what's so amazing to me is that the anger that comes from people who are so in love with Tim Tebow, and the vast majority of it comes from reasons outside of football, but the anger that is put forth to anybody that says...sort of, there is another side to the story, is just amazing. I mean it's remarkable.
Big Al: The reaction.
D-Mac: You know what? You can't win because right now when Tim Tebow shows up at a religious event, 15,000 people follow. That's powerful.
Big Al: That's in that city.
D-Mac: In that city. And he can do that, basically, in every city in America.
Big Al: Right.
D-Mac: And that is...not a football player....that's a...leader. That's an Evangelical leader. It's a politician, but it's not a football player. And that's the real truth. That's the real truth about having him on your team.
Big Al: Right....New York is gonna...I think they knew what they were doing when they recruited the services of Tim Tebow in the form of a trade.
D-Mac: And by the way, Tebow and the Tebow crew do nothing but perpetuate that. They do nothing but want to build on that and make it stronger and stronger and stronger. They are building a war chest of money...I don't think to live high off the hog...I think to perpetuate Tim Tebow as some sort of...leader here in this country. And you know what, in all honesty, is that what you want on your football team?
Big Al: Can there be a fair evaluation of Tim Tebow as a football player when all the other things are going on in the background...or should I say, in the foreground?
D-Mac: I don't think so.
Big Al: Before you even get to the evaluation...you have to go through channels that (aren't an issue) with other players.
D-Mac: This is why I kind of feel hoodwinked by the whole thing because I thought it was really all about football. But you know what I realize now? Without religion, Tim Tebow is Doug Flutie.
Big Al: No no no--Doug Flutie was a good football player at quarterback.
D-Mac: You know what I'm talking about--the try hard, nobody expects anything sort of thing.
Big Al: I think you're underselling Doug Flutie. We have to see what kind of passer Tim Tebow becomes.
D-Mac: I don't know that it matters...
We expect the usual reponses to this story from Zombieland: Talk about football, Tebow is no longer with the Broncos, If you can't separate football and religion, you're an idiot, etc. Yet, that's precisely the point: once you've entered Zombieland--as Demaryius Thomas and Darren McKee found out--you can check out any time you'd like, but you can never leave.