Former University of Florida star quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow,begins his broadcasting career on ESPN today.
He will appear several times throughout that day, including in the 9 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, College Football Live (3 p.m.) and College GameDay (7 p.m.).
As I wrote last week Tebow’s main job will be the lead analyst on SEC Nation the traveling pregame show not unlike ESPN’s very successful GameDay program. The network will launch in August and promises to be as successful as the slickly produced Big Ten Network.
But back to Tebow, it seems that before he has said a single word there are people who are questioning if he is too nice to be an objective analyst. The idea that someone is too nice to be a good color analyst in football is absoultly absurd and begs the question…
Does the media want to see Tebow fail as an analyst?
The New York Times very talented broadcast critic Richard Sandomir penned a column that does not paint a very successful run as an anlayst for Tebow. Read here… Meanwhile, up I-95 at the Boston Globe they were also not sold on Tebow as a broadcaster. Read here…
To be fair most critics are willing to give Tebow a chance before they judge his work and that seems to be the fair way to approach the matter.
Look Tebow is smart, he is very articulate and most of all he loves college football. He can breakdown games, interview coaches, players and administrators. He knows all the coaches in the SEC very well and he can sit down and talk football with all of them.
The idea that someone can’t be objective or be a good analyst without being a tough critic is a flawed argument.
There are many degrees of being critical and Tebow with the help of some talented broadcast coaches at ESPN he will find his voice. Tebow will find a way to ballance his ability to be critical while staying true to his comfort level.
After being in broadcasting for nearly 40 years I can tell you that every new coach or player finds it tough to be critical. For some coaches they want to get back to coaching, so being too critical could be upsetting to possible employers. Meanwhile players have many friends who are still playing and so saying that they are screwing up is not easy.
So, the challenges that Tebow faces are not new, nor will he be the only that will need to find their broadcast comfort zone.
I will tell this that if I were the person who was starting the SEC Network, Tebow, who has a national following not to mention is a quality brand would have been my first hire. I also have no doubt that he will be a big star at ESPN, because he loves talking football and sells it with a possitive spin and perhaps that is just what we need for a change.