Holy Harassment: Pastor Of Dallas Church Where Tim Tebow Will Be Appearing Demands Retraction From NBC Sports Blogger







Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church, where Jets quarterback Tim Tebow will be speaking in April, demanded a retraction from an NBC Sports blogger.

Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church, where Jets quarterback Tim Tebow will be speaking in April, demanded a retraction from an NBC Sports blogger.

It looks as if Tim Tebow will be making an annual ritual of speaking at a Dallas-area church every spring.

Last year, it was at the Celebration Church, where his Easter Sunday appearance drew up to 20,000 followers. Roughly a week after that gig was announced, Tebow, who had previously led the Denver Broncos to a miracle playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers – but would be vanquished by the New England Patriots the following week – was traded to the New York Jets, where he would spend most of the 2012 season on the bench.

Now, after the start of the 2013 Lenten season – in which Tebow could again be traded, perhaps to the Jacksonville Jaguars – the First Baptist Church in Dallas has announced that the nomad first-cum-second-string quarterback will be appearing at their house of worship on Sunday, April 28, a mere four weeks after Easter.

As you would expect, the usual news sources reported this – including NBC Sports, though not by way of their “Pro Football Talk” unit (at least, not yet). No, there was an item about Tebow’s appearance at First Baptist Church posted on the section of NBC Sports’ website dubbed “Off The Bench,” a collection of odd and weird sports stories usually written by Rick Chandler.

“It seems that lately Tim Tebow has been making more speaking appearances in church than he has quarterback appearances in NFL games,” starts Chandler’s piece, which was originally titled, “Tim Tebow to speak at virulently anti-gay, anti-Semitic Dallas megachurch,” and also referred to the church’s lead pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, as “a virulently anti-gay and anti-Semitic evangelical Christian.”

Chandler’s item went on to cite examples of the pastor’s being “anti-gay” and “anti-Semitic,” quoting a passage from a Huffington Post item, which itself cited stories about Jeffress from the ThinkProgress website, as well as The Christian Post. “Is Tebow’s appearance at First Baptist Church an ipso facto endorsement of Jeffress’ views?,” Chandler questioned, before writing his belief that Tebow likely “saw the word ‘megachurch’ and got excited about speaking to a lot of like-minded people, and just forgot to do his due diligence on the guy in charge.”

Since that piece was published, Jeffress went after its author and his employer for failing to due its due diligence on him.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” the pastor told Fox News, denouncing Chandler’s depiction of the church as “anti-gay” and “anti-Semitic” in his post. “We are a very pro-Israel church. To say that Jesus Christ is the only way for a person to be saved is not anti-Semitic.

“I would like NBC Sports to acknowledge that they made an error in their reporting and relied on secondary sources instead of doing their own reporting and fact-finding like any credible news organization ought to,” Jeffress added.

Since then, Chandler has updated his description of Jeffress as “a controversial evangelical Christian who has made quite a name for himself by referring to other religions as ‘heretical’, and that re-electing Obama would lead to the ‘rise of the anti-Christ’.” Also, while the title of the item was updated to refer only to a “controversial Dallas megachurch,” the references to “anti-gay” and “anti-Semitic” remain in the post’s URL.

Meanwhile, both the “anti-gay” and “anti-Semitic” labels given to Jeffress remain on the Huffington Post item that Chandler originally cited as the source for his story – and continues to be linked in Chandler’s post.

“This is another example of gross inaccuracies supported by the liberal press with no resemblance to truth whatsoever,” the pastor complained. “This is part of not just a liberal agenda, but sloppy journalism.”

Jeffress also suspects that it’s part of a vast “Jet-wing” conspiracy.

“This is another way to try to attack [Tim Tebow] for his Christian beliefs,” Jeffress contended. “Most discerning people realize this was an ambush, not of us so much, but of Tim Tebow and the beliefs we hold dear.

“I think the long knives have been out for Tim for some time.”

Earlier this week, Chandler also authored an item about “sports-related Twitter reaction” to the resignation of Pope Benedict, which was titled, “Pope Tebow I?”

Also, just hours before his Tebow/First Baptist Church item, Chandler penned a post about the Minnesota Twins’ single-A franchise, the Fort Myers Miracle, announcing a “Marco Rubio Water Bottle Giveaway” promotion, tying in a moment from the Florida Governor’s Republican response to President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, in which he quickly reached for and sipped from a water bottle at one point.

Concludes Chandler’s piece: “May I also suggest a dunking booth?”

Rick Chandler. A pawn of the liberal media? Nah.

UPDATE, 2.21.13: Tebow has canceled his scheduled appearance at First Baptist Church. No word if they’re negotiating with Greg McElroy to give the sermon at the April 28th mass.

Concussions, Linsanity And Tebowmania: Sports Media Journalists Look Back At 2012

In this scene from SNY’s “The Year In Review” of 2012, Daily News sports media columnist Bob Raissman takes the Post’s Phil Mushnick to school.

Christmas time means it’s almost the end of the year – and that means many year-end specials.

The regional sports network SNY has once again assembled a “Year In Sports” special for 2012, consisting in discussions of the biggest topics in the sports world not only in New York City, but nationally as well.

The local sports media panel consisted of Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, and Neil Best of New York Newsday, all of whom appeared on the 2011 edition of “The Year In Sports.” This year, the trio is joined by their counterpart from The New York Times, Ken Belson.

One of the topics discussed during the national window was the phenomenon that was Linsanity, when Jeremy Lin had led the Knicks for a remarkable stretch. He currently plays for the Houston Rockets – but the show’s moderator, Chris Carlin, asked if Linsanity would have even reached such heights if, say, Lin had never played in New York at all.

“Not one fan needed the media to tell you that that guy did something special to that team,” Mushnick contested. “No one had to read a paper, turn on the radio, watch TV, other than the [Knicks] game.”

“The beauty of the Linsanity story,” according to Best, “compared to Tebow, he actually did do something.”

In the same segment the brief Linsanity period in New York was discussed, the seemingly outgoing Tebowmania period in New York was also touched on.

“Jeremy Lin kind of came and went,” said Best. “The staying power of this Tebow story is amazing.”

“It’s driven by the media,” remarked Raissman on the media’s fixation with the Jets’ backup quarterback. “He’s not dressing, and they’re writing stories about him.”

Raissman also argued – as he has in past Daily News columns – that networks that covered Jets games this season showed more shots of Tebow on the sidelines than Jets players that are actually playing.

“We have to give this guy credit for the way he has handled this,” Best said, “because with this ridiculous spotlight on him, he has not wavered, not complained; he’s been accessible with the media.”

(By the way, not too long after the special was recorded, Tebow did kinda complain a bit.)

Also discussed by the New York sports media writers was the surreal year R.A. Dickey had for the New York Mets. “He’s a genuine character,” opined Belson. “He’ll stand at his locker and talk to you forever… You can’t help but like the guy.”

That did not seem to be the case when during the Mets’ Christmas party, he discussed his contract situation at length. “This guy was asked a question, and he gives what he always gives, an honest answer,” said Raissman. “It’s interesting to watch… the guy go from hero to bum.”

(Since the taping of the special, the Cy Young award winner has gone from New York to Toronto.)

The foursome also talked about the swift resolution of the Bernie Madoff situation involving the Mets; the future of the Yankees franchise if the team’s YES Network is sold to Fox magnate Rupert Murdoch (Raissman: “You look at everything Fox has gotten into and owns the majorityship: they’re not there to be sitting in the back of the bus; they’ll be driving the bus”); and the media’s role in the fate of the New York City Marathon after Hurricane Sandy crippled the city – and not one of them mentioned Mike Francesa – at least not in that discussion.

The locals were asked about the possibility of Francesa and his old WFAN on-air buddy, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, reuniting on the radio.

“I’m sure there’s a shot, but no,” answered Mushnick. “They’d be killing each other.”

Best affirmed that the two “do not hate each other,” they just “got sick of each other professionally.”

“Why pay them both the kind of money they’re making,” asked Raissman. “You think Francesa’s gonna give Dog part of his salary? The Pope would never do that… He’s doing his own thing with his ratings; [WFAN] don’t have to pay two guys.”

Best pointed out that Francesa could be retiring in 2014; Raissman suspects it’s a contract negotiation.

Best: “I think he’s serious about maybe walking away in 2014.”

Raissman: “Yeah, right… You’ll have to carry him out of that studio.”

The national panel consisted of Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand and Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, both making return appearances this year; plus panel newcomers Rachel Cohen from the Associated Press, and the Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Futterman. The latter had a strong opinion on the impact of concussions in the NFL.

“It’s the old journalism adage, you have to follow the money. This is cigarettes, this is asbestos, this is another big liability case, and how do those cases end? Usually, they end in really big settlements. And at some point, the NFL is probably, I think, going to have to write a very large check to a lot of people, and I don’t think it’s gonna be five years. If you let this thing drag out for five years, it’s going to be a big mistake.”

Deitsch argued that only something “catastrophic” such as “deaths on the field” would negatively impact the league. “It is a violent game; I think people have accepted that.”

When the current NHL lockout and whether or not it could be a death knell to the hockey league was brought up, after Carlin pointed out “ratings have gone down continually” before the lockout, Deitsch chimed in with: “Chris, there’s nothing more I love than hunting and fishing shows on the NBC Sports Network.” (NBCSN would be airing NHL games right about now, had there been no lockout.) Deitsch believes that viewership and attendance levels will be retained, but at “a far lower base than the NFL and the NBA,” it will take between two and four years.”

“The fans might forgive once,” Cohen argued, “I don’t know if they’ll forgive twice.”

Ourand suggested that the league consider contration in order to survive. “There’s value to having teams… in Florida and… in Phoenix,” Futterman replied, “but if you’re going to do that, you have to figure out a way to support them, because those teams can’t seem to support themselves.”

As was the case with the New York sports media panel, the red meat that is Tim Tebow was also thrown out to the national sports media panel.

Ourand: “He is such a fascinating character nationally, and polarizing. People just want to know what’s happening with him.”

Carlin: “Why is he so fascinating, especially this year when he hasn’t been on the field?”

Deitsch: “Well, he’s fascinating for [ESPN boss] John Skipper because no network has ridden Tebow harder than ESPN.”

And with social media playing a huge role in the Olympics – for viewers as a complaining device, mostly – Twitter’s existence vis a vis sports events was also discussed.

“Twitter is a game changer,” Deitsch said. “It’s become the water cooler conversation for sports fans… The fact is, we now live in a universe where the second screen is how we watch TV: first screen, we look at TV; second screen, we want to be social with our friends and family, and Twitter is among the best social emdia services you can have for sports.”

“It feels like the event’s over, and you gotta keep looking at your computer, and looking at your iPhone,” Futterman said, adding that “it can be a little frustrating” and “distracting” to the sports fan.

It can also be distracting for athletes, in a way. “Every time you put an athlete on Twitter, you give him another excuse not to grant you an interview,” Futterman argued. “And that’s my real problem with it… I think we empower it sometimes too much, in the sense that — I don’t need to talk to you, just follow my Twitter feed.”

Warned Ourand: “You do have to worry much more about what you put out there and what you tweet… But it’s changed the way people watch sports, period.”

Ourand also commented on the changing landscape of college sports, predicting that there will be “more realignment” in college football to the tune of “four 16-team conferences.”

Quoth Deitsch: “Money is driving this ship.”

Cohen: “It’s very obvious, they’re following the money.”

Futterman joked that eventually in college football, there will be “two conferences: one would be ESPN, and the other is Fox.” Yet he added: “They [schools] need the money. They gotta get it from somewhere, and TV seems to be the place where they’re going to get it.”

Members of both panels were asked to choose what they thought was their biggest stories or personalities of 2012, and what they think will be the biggest story in 2013 – but I won’t spoil it for you. (Okay, I’ll share one: Ourand says he’s looking forward to the launch of the new Fox Sports One cable network. “It’s the latest potential competitor to ESPN, and I’m dying to see what it looks like.”)

Catch the “Geico SportsNite: 2012: The Year In Sports” special when it re-airs for the remainder of the year on SNY. The special will be rebroadcast on SNY at the following dates and times: Thursday, December 20, 2 PM; Sunday, December 23, 3 PM; Wednesday, December 26, 7:30 PM; Saturday, December 29, 9 PM; and Tuesday, January 1, 2013 (New Year’s Day) at 12 Noon (all times Eastern).

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 8


Brady Quinn will take over as the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, effective this weekend against the Oakland Raiders. It better be an entertaining game for Chiefs fans’ sake, as Kansas City will be “blacked out” of the Giants/Cowboys late game on Fox, which will be available in the rest of the country.

London calling, Jacksonville falling? That’s the theme for this weekend’s NFL games, for which Fox has the doubleheader. (By the way: the Buccaneers played on Thursday night this week – so they won’t be blacked out this Sunday! Although based on their impressive victory over the Minnesota Vikings, there should be no excuses for any further blackouts now…)


CBS: Once again, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be grabbing their passports and heading to London, where the New England Patriots will battle the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium. This will be the third time in five years that CBS’ A-team will be broadcasting from England (the Patriots were involved in their last trip up there, as well), and CBS has shown the London game for four out of the last five years. Next season, there are two games scheduled to be played in Wembley, one on CBS (Steelers at Vikings) in September, and one on Fox (49ers at Jaguars) in October. Perhaps the networks’ airings during these months will alternate in ensuing years, so that Joe Buck can finally broadcast from London (the annual single game is usually scheduled right in the middle of the World Series, which Buck has committed to working on Fox). As for the domestic games on the menu, the aforementioned Jacksonville Jaguars will be playing at a site just as famous as Wembley Stadium – that would be Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers hope to capitalize on an opponent who is scheduled to be without their star running back for awhile – looks like the Jags are “holding out” for a hero! Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf – who called CBS’ last London tilt two seasons ago (Broncos/49ers), will work Jaguars/Packers. There are a couple of divisional matchups on tap: the New York Jets host the Miami Dolphins – whose own quarterback once admitted he had no idea how the divisions in the league are organized – and their actions will be interpreted by Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts; and the Indianapolis Colts take on the Tennessee Titans, with Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker handling that one. And the Cleveland Browns welcome the San Diego Chargers, who I bet are very happy to return to action following a bye week that I’m sure didn’t have any distractions whatsoever. So long as the Chargers players don’t roll out of stick’em-laden beds, they’ll go toe to toe with the “Dawg Pound,” and Spero Dedes and Rich Gannon will call all the action. The fact that Gannon is paired up with Dedes means that the great Marv Albert won’t be working any games this weekend, but I’m sure he’s fine – he’s probably resting his vocal chords for some NBA games on TNT, as that league’s regular season tips off very soon.

FOX: … but Kenny Albert will be on duty. This week, he, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa soldier on to Soldier Field, for a showdown between the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears. It looks like only about a third of the country will see this game, even St. Louis – despite the London contest counting as a Rams “home game,” the normal local blackout rules don’t apply. (By the way, absolutely no games blacked out this weekend, I’m happy to report.) About half of the country will be seeing the Washington Redskins visit the Pittsburgh Steelers, which will be called by Sam Rosen and Brian Billick. This is major exposure for what may be considered Fox’s third tier of announcers. Maybe they’re throwing Rosen a bone after he got “hi-Bucked” out of calling the Giants/49ers game a couple of weeks ago? Meanwhile, it’ll be a bird bash at Lincoln Financial Field, as the Atlanta Falcons face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams are coming off of bye weeks – but Eagles head coach Andy Reid has an impressive win record for games following bye weeks. (And if he doesn’t lead his team to the playoffs, that and four dollars will get him a copy of “Newsweek” – for now, anyway.) Dick Stockton and John Lynch will call all the, er, bird droppings. And Chris Myers and Tim Ryan will witness an even deadlier form of animal warfare, as the Seattle Seahawks get fed to the Detroit Lions.


CBS: Last week, there were but just two contests in the late game window – both of them were on CBS as Fox had an NLCS broadcast later that Sunday. Once again, there are only two games that will be played after 4 PM ET, and this time, they’re evenly distributed across both networks. Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will work the Oakland Raiders/Kansas City Chiefs game from Kansas City…

FOX: … while everybody but Kansas City will be able to watch the New York Giants play the Dallas Cowboys. (I wonder if KC will be able to watch the end of the game starting at 6 PM CT.) Once again, Thom Brennaman will be working alongside Troy Aikman, as Joe Buck will be in Detroit for Game 4 of the World Series. (And yes, I checked the weather for the Detroit area: not a single drop of precipitation all day Sunday. Not even anything from Hurricane Sandy. So don’t count on Brennaman being “hi-Bucked” in Dallas.)

Information from the506.com was used in this post.

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 7

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes makes an acrobatic touchdown catch as the Falcons beat the Buccaneers on January 3, 2010. This weekend will be the first time since then that a daytime Buccaneers game is sold out at Raymond James Stadium, and thus, airing on television in the Tampa Bay area.

Something that has not happened since the first week of 2010 will take place this weekend. What is it? Keep reading and you’ll know. CBS has the doubleheader this week.


CBS: The no-longer-undefeated Houston Texans are hosting the Baltimore Ravens in what many are already calling a possible “AFC championship game preview”. Of course, injuries to notable defensive players during last week’s games seemed to have thrown a monkey wrench in the reality of that kind of talk. But for what it’s worth, the two teams met in the divisional playoff round last season, so it should still be exciting. The game, which will be called by Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, will be seen in roughly 90% of the country. Five percent (the entire state of Tennessee and most of the state of New York) will watch the great Marv Albert and Rich Gannon work the Titans/Bills tilt; the other five percent (Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and for some reason, San Francisco) will get the Cleveland Browns at the Indianapolis Colts, and Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots guiding viewers.

FOX: Each and every one of Fox’s NFL games this week are being crammed into the early game window, as Game 6 of the NLCS is scheduled for Sunday night. However, the St. Louis Cardinals can easily wrap things up on Friday night and then wait it out with the Detroit Tigers for the World Series, which starts Wednesday, October 24. You know Joe Buck is rooting hard for his hometown Cardinals to take the series in five games against the San Francisco Giants. Then, for the second week in a row, he can snatch an assignment away from Thom Brenneman. Last week, he worked both Game 2 of the NLCS in San Francisco, and the NFL game before it that also just happened to be in San Francisco. Well, what do you know, Fox has tabbed Thom to work alongside Troy Aikman again this week – and once again, it involves Buck’s beloved Giants, who host the Washington Redskins. The other Redskins/Giants game later this year will be a Monday nighter on ESPN, so you know Buck will want in on the Fox game! Anyway, if, to paraphrase Russ Hodges, the Cardinals win the NL pennant, expect Buck to make his usual rounds at MetLife Stadium, and in turn, Brenneman bumping Sam Rosen out of the Green Bay Packers/St. Louis Rams game with Brian Billick. (Update: The Giants force a Game 6, so Brenneman and Rosen will stay put.) The other Fox matchups this week include the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Carolina Panthers, and the trio of Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa handling that game. You also have the Minnesota Vikings, led by their ESPN-personality-dating quarterback, hosting the Arizona Cardinals, which will be worked by Chris Myers and Tim Ryan. And for the first time since the final week of the regular season in 2009 – January 3, 2010, to be exact – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be playing a Sunday afternoon game that will actually be televised in Tampa! It’s hard to believe that the Bucs went from selling out all of their home games in 2009, a year they finished with a 3-13 overall record, to not selling out any of their eight home games in 2010, a year they went 10-6. The only two games at Raymond James Stadium that were sold out last season were both primetime games (a Monday night game against the Colts and a Saturday night contest against the Cowboys). And just as their last opponent in a sold-out daytime game at Ray Jay, the Atlanta Falcons, is a divisional rival, their next sold-out day game opponent also hails from the NFC South: the New Orleans Saints, who picked up their first win of the season just two weeks ago. And as an added bonus, viewers in Tampa will once again get to hear former Buccaneer John Lynch call this week’s Bucs game with Dick Stockton.


CBS: It’s not often the Eyeball network has the football field to itself. Usually, it’s the other way around, like in Week 1, when CBS presents U.S. Open Tennis in the late afternoon. But they’ve got the perfect game lined up for this situation: the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. the Oakland Raiders – oh, I’m sorry, that’s only for viewers in Northern California and Florida and South Georgia. The rest (the most) of the country will see the New England Patriots and the New York Jets do battle in the first of two exclusive NFL stages – these two AFC East rivals will meet again Thanksgiving night on NBC. This weekend’s game marks Tim Tebow’s return to Foxboro Stadium since he and his old team, the Denver Broncos, were eliminated from the playoffs last season. But I hear the Jets are going to use him as a running back! We’ll see how that works out. And of course, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are handling the Jets/Patriots game; Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts are calling the Jaguars/Raiders contest from Oakland, which, by the way, avoided a blackout themselves.

Information from the506.com was used in this post.

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 6

Jeff Fisher was literally a mustache hair away from being named the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. He’s since agreed to work for the St. Louis Rams in that capacity, which makes this week’s Rams/Dolphins game in South Florida a bit awkward.

It’ll be a week with no Bucs – and for that matter, no Buck – or so we think. It’s a Fox doubleheader weekend.


CBS: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms have spent so much time the past few weeks working games with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, they’ve decided to see what’s cooking with his old team, the Indianapolis Colts. That as they travel to New Jersey to face the New York Jets, on the final game of a three-game homestand – and what may also be the final game that Mark Sanchez starts this season, should Gang Green lose to Andrew Luck and the Lucky Bunch. There are only two undefeated teams left, and as you wait for the Houston Texans to play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, you can watch the Atlanta Falcons, as they host the Oakland Raiders, and hear Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf call the action as it unfolds – and you would think that the Falcons would be responsible for most of the action, as the Raiders are your typical West coast team playing an early game, plus they haven’t won a road game going back to all of last season. But, they are coming off their bye week, so anything is possible. And it appears that there will be a monthlong bye week for the Buccaneers as far as local television is concerned. The Bucs have once again failed to sell out Raymond James Stadium for the third time in a row: the opener vs. the Panthers (which is their only win thus far) and the game vs. the Redskins before the team’s actual bye next week. It’s probably a no-brainer that when an offensively struggling outfit in the Kansas City Chiefs visits a team that couldn’t sell out a home game if they were faced with a walk on the plank, a television blackout is inevitable. So for the benefit of the six states in the Midwest that will be able to watch this game, as well as the lone city in Florida cleared to carry the game, Fort Myers (WINK-TV), your announcers will be the great Marv Albert, along with Rich Gannon. (Marv should have a clause in his contract that he shouldn’t call games that are blacked out locally, he is that good.) How sad is the situation in Tampa Bay? The Cleveland Browns, at 0-5, the last winless team left in the league this season, is still selling out its home games. This week, it’ll be the second battle of Ohio, as the Browns once again square off against the Cincinnati Bengals, who upended the Browns by a touchdown four weeks ago. Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will be your play-by-play people for this game.

FOX: The Detroit Lions are ready to roar after their bye week, but the Philadelphia Eagles will hear none of it. Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa report from Lincoln Financial Field. Personally, I think the Dallas Cowboys/Baltimore Ravens tilt has a bit more luster (i.e. the appropriate assignment for Kenny, Moose and Goose this week), but I digress. Though it brings Brian Billick back to the city where he coached the Ravens for nine years, and led them to an improbable Super Bowl victory. Billick, who moonlights as an NFL Network analyst, will be providing the color commentary to Sam Rosen’s play-by-play for this game. And Chris Myers and Tim Ryan are taking their talents to South Beach – and so are Jeff Fisher, his mustache and his St. Louis Rams, as they try to build off energy from a win that knocked the Arizona Cardinals from the ranks of the undefeated (a victory that seems like two Thursday nights ago) by facing the Miami Dolphins, which Fisher was reportedly close to signing to be their head coach, only to end up coaching the Rams instead. The Fins fans will likely let him hear it throughout the game.


CBS: So who have you got for the big Tom Brady/Russell Wilson showdown? Granted, it’s no Brady vs. Manning, but the New England Patriots will find ways to put some points on the board (fourteen players listed questionable and all) as they play the Seattle Seahawks, in a game that will be called by Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts. And the aforementioned no-longer-undefeated Arizona Cardinals are hosting the Buffalo Bills, who were on the losing end of a 42-point deficit at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers last week. Could this week be even worse? Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker will let you know if it is.

FOX: Speaking of the San Francisco 49ers, it’s a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game with the New York Giants. As of Friday, Joe Buck was originally scheduled not to be working this game (with Thom Brenneman getting the assignment), as Buck was preserving his voice for National League baseball playoff games with his old buddy Tim McCarver. But since the Giants will be hosting Game 1 of the NLCS on Sunday night, Buck – never one to miss calling a game in which the Giants are involved – will call both the late NFL game and the opening game of the NLCS. So Buck will once again be working with Troy Aikman, and moments later, with McCarver. The question is, can the 49ers pull the rare task of winning three straight games against three opponents from the state of New York in back-to-back-to-back weeks? If they outscored their previous two opponents 79-3 (including a shutout of the New York Jets), I wonder if the Giants’ punter is going to be put to work early and often. And finally in the nation’s capital, Dick Stockton and John Lynch bring you a matchup between Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings, and Robert Griffin III, who despite suffering an injury last week, is pondering starting for the Washington Redskins.

Information from the506.com was used in this post.

Mike Silver: Two Losses Till Tebow Time

Yahoo Sports’ Mike Silver speculates that if the New York Jets lose two more games, Tim Tebow will become the team’s starting quarterback.

There are two L’s in the word “hell” – a word that Tim Tebow likely wants nothing to do with.

There are also two L’s in how long it will take before Tebow assumes the starting quarterback position for the New York Jets.

That is, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Mike Silver, who appeared on NFL Network’s “Total Access” on Wednesday evening.

“Two more losses,” he projects.

The Jets are in the middle of a three-game homestand, which continues on “Monday Night Football” vs. the undefeated Houston Texans, and then rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts the following week. Then, they’ll be in New England in Week 6, then back home to face another division rival in the Miami Dolphins in Week 7.

Statistically, Mark Sanchez isn’t struggling (five touchdowns and four interceptions in four games) as he’s done just enough to keep the Jets in first place (albeit tied with the aforementioned Patriots). But as Tebow proved with the Denver Broncos last year, he can take over for a team at 1-4 and lead them to a playoff berth (never mind the fact that the team lost their last three regular season games).

“Tim Tebow does have a transformative ability to transcend his lack of impressive play, mechanics and all that, in practice, and all of a sudden, when you need him to display magic, he seems to be able to do it.

“If you’re not .500 at the bye week, I think you gotta go do it… maybe sooner.”

Team owner Woody Johnson hopes for the latter, with sources suggesting “he will push his football people to start Tebow.”

Certainly ESPN, the home of “Monday Night Football” and a news operation that spends a great deal of time on Tebow (as its own talking heads have confirmed long after moving on to other ventures), would like to see a benching of Sanchez during the Jets’ next game with the 4-0 Texans. It would be reminiscent of the exact moment that the Tony Romo era officially began in Dallas on October 23, 2006, also on “Monday Night Football” (then on ABC). On that night, the Cowboys, who started the game with Drew Bledsoe under center, returned from halftime with Romo running things.

“It’s a big move,” Silver warns of changing starting quarterbacks in the middle of a season, let alone a game, “so I don’t think you want to make it cavalierly.”

Then again, as Silver acknowledged, it is New York, where such moves are all but expected at some point, if a team isn’t playing well.

Despite that effortless shutout vs. the 49ers, the Jets are playing well. The next month should dictate exactly when Tebow Time will begin – possibly at Foxboro Stadium, where Tim Tebow is 0-1 as a starter.

But, says Mike Silver, if the Jets lose to the Texans and the Colts, let it be so.

“If the season seems like it’s starting to slip away, you got [Darrelle] Revis out, you got [Santonio] Holmes out… Don’t you have to take a whiff and see?”

Like hell they won’t.

Doug Gottlieb And Dan Patrick: ESPN "Creates News" With Tim Tebow

Doug Gottlieb appeared on Dan Patrick’s radio show and discussed ESPN’s news credibility when it comes to quarterback Tim Tebow. The former ESPN personalities believe the network is using Tebow to “create news.” Gottlieb also predicts Tebow might not even be in the NFL in a year from now.

There’s a pattern emerging. When an ESPN personality leaves the network and latches on to another one, he or she voices his or her displeasure in the Worldwide Leader’s fixation with one Tim Tebow.

It happened late this summer when Erin Andrews, now a Fox employee, disclosed to another former ESPN employee, NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, on his podcast that “ESPN’s really fascinated by him,” and got the impression that their “cameras are always on him.”

Indeed, when the New York Jets held training camp, ESPN was in tow as Tebow and the rest of the team held practices. It was as if the network was holding its own version of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” – even Rex Ryan admitted as much.

On Wednesday, Doug Gottlieb, who’s set to join a daily CBS Sports Radio lineup that at this point consists of Jim Rome and Scott Ferrall (and perhaps at some point, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton), appeared on the radio show of yet another former ESPN employee Dan Patrick (whose own show may very well end up being on NBC Sports Radio). Anyway, the first thing Gottlieb confirmed was that ESPN forbid him from appearing on Patrick’s show while George Bodenheimer was signing his paychecks. “You can’t do anything not ESPN,” he quoted management as telling him, “and you’re [Patrick] not ESPN.”

There was another nugget from “Mothership” management that Gottlieb relayed to Patrick. It was an edict regarding everybody’s favorite second-string quarterback.

It all started when Patrick mentioned him in passing during a rant about his former employer – and Gottlieb took it from there.

Below is a partial transcript of the interview (the audio is located here; the Tebow talk starts around six minutes in). Basically, the general consensus is that ESPN used Tebow to manufacture news (much like they’ve been doing this week as the Jets play the undefeated Houston Texans on their “Monday Night Football” franchise). And at one point later in the interview, Gottlieb had dropped the name of former colleague Michael Wilbon, in the vein of having “power” to “violate” something… Must be that Tebow edict.


DAN PATRICK: They should be bigger than a lot of the things that they do. I think they feel like they’re still that fraternity, when we first started. They’re not. They’re not the underdog. They run the sports world. It’s like, you know, when we criticize them for going Tebow 24/7, well, they get sensitive about it. And I’m like, well, yeah, it’s part of it. We criticize you if it’s bad.

DOUG GOTTLIEB: Yeah, I would embrace it. I mean, I — look, I was told specifically, “you can’t talk enough Tebow.” Like, “you cannot — “… And so, I would just, I would jokingly throw it into a segment… “I gotta find… fifteen seconds here to talk about Tebow. All right, let’s move on to Major League Baseball.” I actually want Tebow to play this weekend, or Monday night.

PATRICK: Well, so do I. And so does ESPN.

GOTTLIEB: I want it because, it’s going to be over. Like I think he’ll be out of football by the end of the year, or at the end of next year. Hey, look, there’s only two teams that wanted him. There’s 32 teams with a starting quarterback, he led his team to a playoff win, and only two teams wanted him for the price of a fourth-round draft pick. You put him out there against the Houston Texans with no one to throw to, and not a good enough offensive line, and the defense without their best player? He’ll get eviscerated.


GOTTLIEB: You almost feel like, “All right, let’s just prove the point, put him out there, get it over with, and then, we can move on and talk about football.”

PATRICK: I don’t know if — there’s always going to be people that want to give him a chance because they’re gonna know what he brings with him. He was brought to the Jets for publicity. For no other reason. You know, you can say, “well, the Wildcat…”

GOTTLIEB: No, they — when they had Brad Smith, they were the best wildcat team in the league.

PATRICK: But Brad Smith had no chance of starting.

GOTTLIEB: I don’t think he has a chance — the only reason he’s going to start is because they’re a complete and utter disaster…

PATRICK: But Brad Smith didn’t think he was going to be — he didn’t compete for the job. Tebow wants the job. Brad Smith knew he wasn’t getting the job… but the wildcat doesn’t work.

GOTTLIEB: Of course, it doesn’t work… You know, the thing in Denver didn’t actually work. They didn’t move the football. The defense won him the game, the kicking game, the altitude, and the fact that he made a couple of plays late winning the game. But the point is that that doesn’t allow you to be sensible and reasonable with people who think that he’s going to succeed. But back to your Tebow thing, yes, I mean, is it ridiculous how much you have to talk about Tebow? Yeah, but for whatever reason, people can’t get enough of that story, and they just, you know, they just kinda stoke the fire. That’s kinda what ESPN does.

PATRICK: But is ESPN creating news, or are they covering news?

GOTTLIEB: Both. Both, and that’s — I think that’s the constant, you know, when you’re entertainment and sports, and you’re trying to also operate around the auspice that, “Hey, look, we’re a credible news organization.” That’s disgust, I think. You were in those meetings.

PATRICK: Yes. I thought they lost that credibility, a large portion of the credibility of covering news. I think that’s it’s now, what’s trending, focus groups, that — you know, you’re trying to create things there. Bernie Fine story at Syracuse, where’s that? Ugh, the New Orleans story with the Saints, where’s that with Mickey Loomis?

GOTTLIEB: That they were wiretapping?

PATRICK: But where is that story? Where are those stories? Those were big stories that you guys created. You were late on the Joe Paterno story… I think it’s just different mindset with what they’re doing and how they’re covering it, and they always fall back on, “well, Bob Ley covers the serious news stories.” And “SportsCenter” should be covering sports. They should be covering the news. I think they created it with Tebow when… ESPN embarrassed themselves and spent, you know, a week out there at Jets camp… If Tebow went to Jacksonville, would they have spent a week in Jacksonville?

GOTTLIEB: I don’t know.

PATRICK: No, they wouldn’t… It’s New York, and it’s Tebow.