Skip Bayless Absolves ESPN Of Responsibility For Tebowmania: "He Created The Circus" (Video, Transcript)







On the day the New York Jets waived quarterback Tim Tebow, Skip Bayless claimed that while neither he nor ESPN is responsible for the "circus" that the player developed, "we certainly drove the bandwagon."

On the day the New York Jets waived quarterback Tim Tebow, Skip Bayless claimed that while neither he nor ESPN is responsible for the “circus” that the player developed, “we certainly drove the bandwagon.”

(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.

2013 NFL Schedule: The Primetime Games: Broncos, Falcons, 49ers, Giants, Patriots, Redskins Have Five Games Each







Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Here is the list of all the primetime games scheduled for the 2013 NFL season.

Commentary to follow… Actually, I’ll get the back-patting out of the way early: I called the Ravens/Broncos opener on September 5, and I called the Washington Redskins getting five primetime games this season, up from just one last year.

And here are the games:

Thursday, September 5 – Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, September 8 – New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 9 – Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins – 7:10 PM ET – ESPN

Monday, September 9 –  Houston Texans @ San Diego Chargers – 10:20 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 12 – New York Jets @ New England Patriots – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 15 – San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 16 – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 19 – Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 22 – Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 23 – Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 26 – San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 29 – New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcoms – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 30 – Miami Dolphins @ New Orleans Saints – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 3 – Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 6 – Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 7 – New York Jets @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 10 – New York Giants @ Chicago Bears – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 13 – Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 14 – Indianapolis Colts @ San Diego Chargers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 17 – Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 20 – Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 21 – Minnesota Vikings @ New York Giants – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 24 – Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 27 – Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 28 – Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 31 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 3 – Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 4 – Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 7 – Washington Redskins @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 10 – Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 11 – Miami Dolphins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 14 –Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 17 – Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 18 – New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 21 – New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 24 – Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 25 – San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving) – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, December 1 – New York Giants @ Washington Redskins – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 2 – New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 5 – Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 8 – Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 9 – Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 12 – San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 15 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 16 – Baltimore Ravens @ Detroit Lions – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 22 – New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 23 – Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 29 – [Teams to be determined following Week 16] – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

TEAMS WITH FIVE PRIMETIME GAMES: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins.

TEAMS WITH FOUR PRIMETIME GAMES: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks.

TEAMS WITH THREE PRIMETIME GAMES: Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers.

TEAMS WITH TWO PRIMETIME GAMES: Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TEAMS WITH ONE PRIMETIME GAME: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans.


OBSERVATIONS: So, let me get this straight: The Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl, yet the runner-up gets one more primetime game in the ensuing season than the World Champions? Explain that to me.

Also, explain to me how the NFL didn’t greenlight the Denver Broncos going to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. This was a given when the AFC opponents for the Cowboys were released at the top of the year. Or so I thought. Now, it’s going to be a chance to pass out with tryptophan in between another Packers/Lions matinee and the Ravens hosting another Thanksgiving night game, this time against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

I wonder if Peyton Manning not getting a Thanksgiving date with Tony Romo was a byproduct of the Broncos actually hosting the NFL kickoff game.

Predictably, the Eagles/Chiefs game with Andy Reid bringing a new squad into Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is an NFL Network Thursday night affair.

Predictably, that’s the Chiefs’ lone primetime game. The Jaguars’ sole primetime tilt in 2013 is also on NFLN, as was the case last year. Ditto for the Browns and the Bills, who actually play each other on an NFLN game; the Bills and the Dolphins killed two birds with one Thursday night primetime stone last season.

Thr Dolphins improve from one primetime game last year to three this year. Same with the Vikings. The Colts go from one primetime game last season to four this season. And I’ve already told you about the Redskins’ maxing out at five games, up from one last year.

Further proof NBC loves the NFC East: The Cowboys and Giants open the “Sunday Night Football” 2013 campaign. The Cowboys will appear on “SNF” three times this year, as will the Giants. Two of the Redskins’ five night contests are on NBC; two of them will air on ESPN. Eagles? Nowhere to be found on NBC’s initial schedule. Of course, the latter half of the season allows flex scheduling, so if the Eagles are actually a good team, they’ll likely see more than just the two games (down from five last year() they’ve been scheduled this year. In other words: the Cowboys/Eagles game that was not flexed out late last season might be the last time in awhile you’ll hear Al Michaels working an Eagles game.

And for the first time in recent memory, there are no Saturday games scheduled. The Bay City Rollers will now have to find alternate ways to be preoccupied this year.

Ravens To Open 2013-14 Season On Road… In Denver?







Peyton Manning might get a chance to avenge his loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the recent NFL playoffs, as the Ravens are forced to play their season opener, scheduled for Thursday, September 5, on the road due to the Orioles citing their inability to reschedule their home game with the White Sox that same night.

Peyton Manning might get a chance to avenge his loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the recent NFL playoffs, as the Ravens are forced to play their season opener, scheduled for Thursday, September 5, on the road due to the Orioles citing their inability to reschedule their home game with the White Sox that same night.

For the first time since the Super Bowl champion was anointed the host of a season kickoff game at home, the Baltimore Ravens will be unable to continue this tradition, as the baseball team in town, the Orioles – who haven’t won a World Series in three decades – has decided to be a killjoy.

In a statement, the O’s claim all teams and leagues involved have done “everything possible to work with us to explore all options to reschedule the September 5 game.

“Given the limited options available to reschedule the game at that late date in the season, the parties jointly determined that even an earlier start time would still create such enormous logistical difficulties that it would greatly diminish the fan experience for both events which all parties realized would not be in the interest of their fans or the City.”

September 5 is the first Thursday of the month, on which the NFL has designated it its season “kickoff” night. The only exception was last year, when the New York Giants/Dallas Cowboys tilt was rescheduled to the Wednesday of that week, due to President Obama’s keynote presentation on the final night of the four-night Democratic National Convention, which was the Thursday of that week. (For the record, the Yankees and Mets were both on the road that day, but given their home stadiums are located outside the Giants’ field in New Jersey, there probably wouldn’t be that much of a brouhaha.)

And by the way, the first Wednesday of September this year is Rosh Hashanah, and the league had expressed at league meetings in Arizona this week their desire not to reschedule a Ravens’ home opener to that night. The Orioles would be finishing a three-game series in Cleveland that night, before embarking on a four-game homestand against the White Sox.

“While we are disappointed for the fans in Baltimore, we appreciate the efforts of the Ravens, Orioles and Major League Baseball and understand the logistical problems in trying to schedule the teams on the same day,” said the Ravens in their own team statement. “The Ravens will open the season on the road on Thursday night, September 5, in our annual NFL Kickoff Game on NBC.”

Unconfirmed to this point is whose stadium they will be invading on opening night.

Just as I speculated on which team I thought the Ravens would be hosting on September 5 on the day after they won the Super Bowl, I am now going to predict which team will host the Super Bowl champions on that night.

I will admit that a lot of research and thinking went into that post, but upon taking a good look at the eight teams they’re scheduled to play on the road this season, this time around, I invested as much time in my prediction as you did in reading this sentence.


Yes, the Denver Broncos, who hosted the divisional round playoff game in which the Ravens vanquished them in overtime en route to their second Lombardi Trophy, is the odd team outside of the three rivals in their division, half of another division in the AFC (Bills, Dolphins) and half of an NFC division (Bears, Lions) that the Ravens will be facing away from M&T Bank Stadium.

Yes, despite his struggles in that game, Peyton Manning is still ratings gold. In fact, his Broncos debut opened the “Sunday Night Football” season last year.

And yes, there could be a new rivarly budding between Manning and Joe Flacco, he of the record contract he signed in the offseason. Manning vs. Tom Brady it isn’t, but NBC will take it.

Heck, NBC would gladly take a rematch of an overtime playoff game in which the eventual Super Bowl champions prevailed – a game that was played on CBS, by the way.

So is Ravens/Broncos on September 5 in the bag? Not right away. Remember, CBS, the NFL’s AFC broadcast partner, has owned-and-operated television stations in Denver (KCNC-TV) as well as Baltimore (WJZ-TV). I’ll remind you how CBS was as defensive against NBC swiping away a regular season NFL game between the New England Patriots (CBS also owns WBZ-TV in Boston) and the Tim Tebow-led Broncos, as the Orioles appear to be for the right to play a regular season baseball game as scheduled, at a point in the season where either the O’s or the White Sox may be well out of playoff contention by the time the first pitch in that game is thrown.

For the Orioles’ sake, I just hope there isn’t rain in the forecast on the evening of September 5.

But who knows? It might be raining touchdowns in Denver that night.

And the big winner would be NBC.

Stay tuned.

Baltimore Ravens Will Kick Off 2013-14 NFL Season On NBC Against… Pittsburgh Steelers? New England Patriots?







The Baltimore Ravens will begin their defense of the Super Bowl championship with a Thursday night "kickoff" game on NBC, and it will likely be against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers on September 5.

The Baltimore Ravens will begin their defense of the Super Bowl championship with a Thursday night “kickoff” game on NBC, and it will likely be against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers on September 5.

There is but 213 days until the 2013-14 NFL season kicks off.

Not like we’re the only ones keeping track, or anything.

But with not even a single game scheduled (sans the two games taking place in London) for the upcoming NFL season – the entirely of which is slated to be released in mid-April (and that hasn’t stopped me in predicting which games will be played this upcoming Thanksgiving) – this much is true: Your Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will open the season with a “kickoff” game airing on Thursday, September 5, on NBC.

The question is, who will their opponent be?

In the seven years that NBC has aired the season kickoff game, only two of those games were divisional matchups: New York Giants/Washington Redskins in 2008, and the Giants’ Wednesday night loss to the Dallas Cowboys last year. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers have appeared in two of the three games that the AFC team winning the previous year’s big game have hosted the “kickoff” game in the ensuing year. Yet the Steelers, in their fifteen appearances on “Sunday Night Football,” have played the Ravens on “SNF” at least once during the last four seasons; the Ravens hosted the Steelers in 2009 and 2010; the Ravens would then win both subsequent “SNF” matchups against the Steelers at Heinz Field in 2011 and 2012.

So it’s very conceivable to think that the Ravens will host their division rival Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on NBC, when the 2013-14 season kicks off.

But let’s look at the rest of the opponents the Ravens will be facing at home for the remainder of the year. Right away, we can count out the other AFC North foes, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. With AFC North teams scheduled to play interconference games against the NFC North division, the Ravens are due to host the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, both of whom made the playoffs this past season.

Then, there’s the rest of the slate of AFC teams that will be traveling to Baltimore next season: the New York Jets, the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans.

If the Jets were not undergoing their current image problems (read: had they made the playoffs), you could make an argument for them being the Ravens’ first opponent of the year, given Jets head coach Rex Ryan’s previous ties with the Ravens. In fact, both teams had opened up their respective 2010 campaigns on “Monday Night Football.”

But then you have the Patriots and the Texans, two teams that the Ravens had met in the playoffs in recent years: in the 2011-12 playoffs, they defeated the Texans, en route to a crucial missed field goal sealing a loss to the Patriots in Foxboro – a loss, of course, that the Ravens would avenge in the Patriots’ house just a few weeks ago.

On paper, a Patriots/Ravens game would immediately blow a Steelers/Ravens game out of the water as your season opener. And the fact that the Ravens and Patriots both faced each other in the playoffs over the past two years, combined with the Ravens just recently winning it all, would add to the storylines for such a game. People are already drawing conclusions as to whether or not Joe Flacco is a better quarterback than Tom Brady, and that discussion is sure to continue through the offseason – and a culmination on the Thursday night primetime stage would be something that the NFL would want.

But would CBS stand for it? Each year, the NFL’s broadcast partners file requests for “protected games.” And with CBS possessing an owned-and-operated broadcast affiliate in both Boston and Baltimore, to have a game that could be lucrative to the network as a juicy late-game broadcast taken away for airing on NBC, may not sit well with the Eye Network. (CBS also has an O&O in Pittsburgh, but the Ravens and Steelers play each other two times per year.)

You already know how influential Patriots owner Robert Kraft is, and how he wielded his power when the league had considered moving a Broncos/Patriots telecast from CBS to “Sunday Night Football” on NBC at the height of “Tebowmania” (yes, CBS also has an O&O in Denver).

To me, the strong favorite for the 2013-14 season opener would be Patriots/Ravens, as it should. But should CBS have a problem with that, then it’ll likely be Steelers/Ravens. I mean, it’s as if they’re destined to play another game on NBC this year by default, so you may as well upgrade it to a season kickoff game. And consider this: all four Steelers/Ravens games played on NBC over the last four seasons have been decided by a single field goal. The Ravens have won three of four, including the aforementioned road victories in Pittsburgh. NBC would be guaranteed a close game – which, in turn, equals great ratings.

And did I mention that the Patriots were actually flexed out of a few “Sunday Night Football” broadcasts?

It’ll probably be Big Ben Roethlisberger vs. “F—ing Awesome” Joe Flacco to kick off the 2013-14 season.

Or will it be Flacco vs. Tom Brady?

Which would you rather want as the 2013-14 season opener? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

Mark Schlereth, Hannah Storm On ESPN's Candid Camera Questioning Tim Tebow's Future







ESPN viewers on Tuesday were treated to a private conversation between Mark Schlereth and Hannah Storm, and the topic was the future of Tim Tebow in the NFL.

ESPN viewers on Tuesday were treated to a private conversation between Mark Schlereth and Hannah Storm, and the topic was the future of Tim Tebow in the NFL.

Once upon a time, ESPN was a shameless promoter in Tim Tebow – and they weren’t afraid to show it.

Former ESPN personalities weren’t afraid to admit that the network was pro-Tebow.

Even more so after his trade to the New York Jets, where he would become a seldom-used backup quarterback.

So one year removed from leading the Denver Broncos to an improbable playoff victory, he’s watching the playoffs at home. And judging by his Twitter feed – so far this year, his tweets have consisted of nothing but retweets – clearly, he’s at a loss for words.

But it sounds like a couple of ESPN personalities aren’t.

On Tuesday, during coverage of Super Bowl Media Day, ESPN had inadvertently cut away from a press conference with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to the middle of a conversation between Hannah Storm and Mark Schlereth.

They appeared to be talking about a quarterback – and it wasn’t Kaepernick.

Based on what we could gather, brand-new grandfather Schlereth – who should be hosting ESPN’s “SportsNation” by now – was discussing potential future use for Tebow – and it didn’t sound like his future was bright, in Schlereth’s view.

And Storm, who actually looks quite nice, thank you, weeks removed from that horrific gas grill incident, seemed to buy what the former Broncos guard was selling.

Here’s the transcript:


MARK SCHLERETH: He’s like a tight end, basically.

STORM: Oh, yeah, yeah… Oh, yeah… Yeah, that’s interesting.

SCHLERETH: But I, I have to tell you, I talked to a bunch of the Broncos coaches, and… I just don’t know if he’s a fluent enough athlete to go over and play tight end, because he doesn’t catch the ball naturally, either.

STORM: Oh. And — okay, okay, okay. Yeah… Sure. Sure.

STAGE DIRECTOR: Okay, stand by, guys…

JIM HARBAUGH: Well, the way he played, ugh…

And at that point, ESPN cut to another presser with Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Now, granted, Schlereth never mentioned Tebow by name. But it wouldn’t be the first time he spoke of the quarterback in a negative light.

Also, it’s actually not the first time an ESPN talking head spoke ill will of Tebow on the air (at least Merril Hoge knew he was on camera).

So what led to this snafu? Was it sabotage from a Worldwide Leader insider who sought payback on the network for going wall-to-wall Tebow for many times over the last year or so?

Remember, ESPN recently went on the record and admitted that they did spend a bit too much time on their air with “Tebow time.”

Depending on what franchise Tebow ends up with in the 2013-14 season, we’ll see if the network is true to its word (like, for starters, whether or not August 15 of this year will be a regularly scheduled broadcast day).

But regardless of which side of the Tim Tebow fence ESPN may be on, I’m sure this is one piece of embarrassing video that they wish never crashed their Super Bowl party.

Mike Francesa Gives "Inside Edition" The Handwave Treatment







Mike Francesa isn’t a fan of “Inside Edition.” He reportedly flipped out at a cameraman from the show who was roaming WFAN, asking its hosts for comment on Jets head coach Rex Ryan’s unique tattoo.

Let’s just say that Friday was a bad day to get on Mike Francesa’s bad side.

Well, any day ending with “Y” in particular, but especially the first Friday of 2013.

The top sports story on this day in New York City, where Francesa’s afternoon drive radio show is based: the discovery of a tattoo on New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan’s arm, depicting his wife, Michelle, clad in a Jets jersey with the number 6 on it – 6 is Mark Sanchez’s number, and as far as we can tell, she appears to be Tebowing in the drawing; of course, Tim Tebow is the Jets’ backup quarterback – for now, anyway.

The source of the photo of the tattoo, by the way, was a paparazzi working on behalf of the New York Daily News.

Anyway, later that day, Daily News sports media columnist Bob Raissman reported via a source that as an unidentified TV station or network was making the rounds at the studios of New York’s leading sports radio station, WFAN, soliciting opinions from hosts on Ryan’s one-of-a-kind ink, ‘FAN franchise Francesa “got ticked… when some TV peon dared stick a camera in his face.”

Based on what we could gather, the only media outlet that was fielding comments from WFAN hosts about Ryan’s tattoo on Friday was the syndicated news program “Inside Edition,” which has already garnered reaction from Craig Carton, one half of WFAN’s morning show “Boomer and Carton,” and Joe Benigno, one of the midday co-hosts on WFAN – and one of the “slobs” responsible for Francesa’s rant about his messy studio at the start of his Friday show, as “Mike’s On” airs right after “Joe And Evan.” During that open, Francesa suggested WFAN now “fumigate” his studio before his program.

We wouldn’t be surprised if he also called for an exterminator for the tabloid TV shows.

By the way, if you’re looking for video of the “Inside Edition” report on Rex Ryan’s tattoo featuring the WFAN talkies’ takes, it may air on their daily show on Monday (check local listings) or as early as today on the weekend edition of their show (check local listings).

Merril Hoge: Tim Tebow Is "Phony As A Three-Dollar Bill," Would "Set Franchise Back Further" If He Went To Jaguars

Merril Hoge argued that New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, on top of being “not a good football player,” isn’t even a team player, and that might hurt whatever value he has left, should he go to the Jacksonville Jaguars. “He would set the franchise back further, if that is a possible feat.”

There was a juicy debate on ESPN on Christmas Eve morning.

No, it was not on “First Take.”

But yes, it was about Tim Tebow.

During the Monday morning edition of “SportsCenter,” a panel of analysts discussed Tebow’s role – or lack thereof – during the New York Jets’ 27-17 loss at home to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. Coach Rex Ryan named Greg McElroy as their starting quarterback for the game after Mark Sanchez came up short in Tennessee last Monday night. And all McElroy did was get sacked nearly a dozen times.

Adding fuel to the fire that has already enveloped the embers of an already torched season, Tebow claimed, according to sources, that he wanted no part of the Wildcat offense if he was not going to start the Jets’ home finale. This is why you saw wideout Jeremy Kerley work the Wildcat during the game (and in the process, pick up a better QB rating than any of the Jets’ three quarterbacks, as well as the Giants’ Eli Manning yesterday) and not Tebow.

Anyway, part of the four-person “SportsCenter” panel debating “Tebow no-go” was Merril Hoge, who has been known to have less than positive things to say about Tebow in the past. Days before his trade to the Jets, Hoge said Tebow’s “IQ as a football player is not very good.”

Well, it didn’t take a genius that Hoge was far from Tebow’s foxhole in this situation, as well.

“To me, it smells like three-day-old fish,” Hoge said. “I think he’s phony as a three-dollar bill, because at the end of the day, what have I heard, that he would do ‘anything, at anytime you asked me to do it, I’ll do it.’ And all of a sudden, now that’s unacceptable? That’s also, ‘now, I want to play quarterback, or I’m not gonna play Wildcat’?… If [the Jets] said, ‘Listen, you’re just gonna play Wildcat, and [McElroy’s] gonna play our quarterback, Tim Tebow, being the teammate that he is, accepts that, because he says ‘I’ll do anything for the team.’ That’s all I’ve ever heard about him. Well, I think this now shows really what he’s about.

“He got mad because he wasn’t going to be the quarterback,” he continued. “So he’s… now sulking…There shouldn’t even be a story coming out of here, if he did what the coaches asked him to do. He got upset because he wasn’t going to be the starting quarterback.

“If you are for the team… then, guess what, whatever that coach makes that decision, sure, you can be upset, but you still do what you can for the team. You don’t make a rift, you don’t sit there and argue, you don’t take yourself out, ‘well, don’t play me on the Wildcat’.”

After Adam Schefter makes an excuse for Gang Green (“it was a culmination of a full season of frustration and disappointment, where basically, he thought that he would get the chance to be the number two [quarterback]”), Hoge says this:

“Here’s what happened in New York. Okay? They didn’t realize how bad Tim Tebow was. Once he comes in there, and they got to see the sampling, they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ okay? Not only can he not play quarterback, he’s not really a good football player, either. He’s an okay football player.”

He then had a warning for the NFL franchise in Tebow’s hometown that is all but a lock to acquire the quarterback next year.

“Jacksonville Jaguars, beware,” Hoge exclaimed. “If you think you’re gonna bring Tim Tebow in there to change your organization around, and bring a wind in there, and bring fans in there, you are crazy. The only way Jacksonville’s going to bring their fans back, you bring a winning organization together. This guy, he’s not going to win for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is not going to do that. All he would do is set the franchise back further, if that is a possible feat, because this organization is down as far as you get. The last person they need is a guy like this. Now that we’re starting to see even his true colors… then he has not proven he is good enough to be a starter in the National Football League. If he had shown that, the New York Jets would start him.”

Something tells me Merril Hoge isn’t going to be getting any Christmas cards from Tim Tebow apologist Skip Bayless this year.