(Originally published April 29; reposted following a SportsRants server issue.)
As expected, the New York Jets, upon drafting quarterback Geno Smith in the second round of the NFL Draft, cut Tim Tebow.
And as expected, it was a topic of discussion on ESPN’s “First Take” on Monday morning.
The most surprising part was that resident Tebow apologist Skip Bayless refused to personally take responsibility for the “circus” that ensued: he insists that it was created by Tebow himself.
Oh, so you mean that “All He Does Is Win” remix, which is hosted on ESPN’s own “First Take” channel on YouTube, is hardly to blame for being part of the circus?
Video available here; transcript follows:
STEPHEN A. SMITH: I’ve thought long and hard about this subject over these last few hours, and I’m gonna be your friend here, and… I’m just gonna put something out there, because I want you to have the floor to explain yourself to what I’m about to accuse you of. And I want you to explain it to a lot of Tebow critics out there —
SKIP BAYLESS: Have you been reading Twitter again? I know (“First Take” hostess Cari Champion) has.
SMITH: No. Seriously. Seriously, I have not. I’m very serious about this. Because, Skip, the boy can’t throw. And that’s how I feel… The other thing about it, Skip… is that, I think it’s to the point where Tim Tebow doesn’t resign himself to the fact that he’s gonna have to play a different position, that he’s gonna be out of the NFL, because nobody’s gonna want him as a quarterback. Which brings me to you. Because, Skip Bayless, I believe that you deserve the opportunity to answer to critics out there, and particularly NFL pundits, commentators, etc. And I just heard this from Chris Mortensen this morning on “Mike And Mike” when he pointed out how nobody is going to want Tim Tebow, because they don’t want the circus to come to town. The executives, the coaches, having their thing scrutinized on an elevated level, because they consider Tim Tebow a circus. By that, they mean, the media scrutiny. By that, they mean ESPN obviously being a culprit to some degree, along with other networks. Skip, if we are a culprit, meaning the network, I have to look at you. Because you love this guy. You believed in him. You were ahead of the curb. You told us — to your credit, you told us he was gonna win a playoff game; you told us he just had the “it” factor; you pointed out how he said he’d never make a Pro Bowl; you were right! You were right, actually. I give you credit for that, because I certainly didn’t see that from him. So I’m not knocking you for that. And I know, and I speak for you as your friend by saying, you never had malicious intent. You just believed in the kid, and you were unapologetic about it. But Skip, people are saying that that created the circus. And the circus is what they don’t want. They don’t even give Tim Tebow a chance – it’s almost like they don’t even give him a chance to really look at his football skills objectively, because they’re still worried about the circus. What does Skip Bayless have to say to those out there who believe that the circus-type atmosphere is primarily your fault?
BAYLESS: First of all, I don’t love Tim Tebow personally; I have no personal relationship with him whatsoever.
SMITH: I understand.
BAYLESS: I do believe in him, as a football player, as a winning quarterback who can do it his way, unconventionally. The way I saw it in Florida; the way I saw him beat my Oklahoma Sooners in the National Championship Game. Stephen A., Tim Tebow created the circus when he took over the 1-4 Broncos and won seven of his next eight games. Wouldn’t that create a national circus? You’ve giving us a lot of power here on this platform, right? If you say it’s, that we did it here on this show? Really? I – I mean, as much as I love this show and believe in this show, how can we create that? Tim did it himself. He beat the Pittsburgh Steelers’ number-one ranked defense. He had, in the last four minutes of NFL games, in his first year as a starting quarterback, he had the number one [quarterback rating] in all of pro football in the last, I think it’s five minutes of those games. He created the circus, Stephen A. How many comebacks did he pull off? How many miracles did he make? You kept saying, ‘He touches you, and you, too, shall be healed.’ I don’t know how he did it, he just did it. And he did it, and he did it again. So the circus got created. I did predict the circus, if you will. We certainly drove the bandwagon; we were way ahead of that curve, but I do agree with your —
SMITH: You were.
BAYLESS: Yeah, well, well, this show was. But I do agree with your premise. The country, the world is so fascinated by Tim Tebow, how does he do it? That, the attention he draws is nuclear. So, wherever he goes, as you say, it’s going to attract nuclear media coverage. He did in training camp with the Jets; our show didn’t go, but a lot of other people went. So, I agree. But does somebody want to win football games? I’m going to stand by what I said at midseason, and kept saying all the rest of the year: There were, I can’t remember what I counted up, twelve or fourteen teams that would have been better off with Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback. Not because I love him, I’m just talking about, do you want to win or not? If you can’t take the heat of the circus, fine… Stick with Blaine Gabbert. Stick with Chad Henne. Go ahead. Finish two-and, whatever you’re gonna finish, you know, win three games, win four. Maybe you can get Johnny Football [Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel] next year, I don’t know. But if you want to win games, if you want to be better than you were, he’s out there, he’s available, for nothing! You can get him for nothing right now!
SMITH: For the record, for the record, I’m ridin’ with you. I’m your boy. I just wanted to make sure that I gave you an opportunity to answer that stuff, because to be quite honest with you, I’m tired of answering it. I don’t think he can throw, but I do know that you were on point with what you said he was going to do, and I think that if people are going to call it a circus, and they’re going to accuse you of really contributing to it, or igniting, per se, “the circus,” you had a right to be heard on it. I’m good with it. I’m good with it.
BAYLESS: I appreciate it.