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:
HANNAH STORM: A what?
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.