SBD/January 3, 2014/Media

Tebow Hire Seen As Smart Due To Exalted Status In SEC Country, But Questions Remain

ESPN in hiring Tim Tebow to be on the SEC Network "set him up to succeed by putting him in front of an audience that already regards him as an icon, and working with respected host Joe Tessitore will only help," according to Chad Finn of the BOSTON GLOBE. But whether Tebow can "make a concise and compelling point while a producer is barking at him through his earpiece" is one of the outstanding questions. Finn: "I’m just not sure he will succeed, at least within the parameters of what makes for a quality analyst. Can Tebow be articulate and insightful? ... Will he be blunt when the moment calls for it?" Perhaps his "biggest flaw" is, for all of his "appeal, he is not particularly articulate." During a press conference on Jan. 10, 2012 before a playoff matchup against the Patriots, Tebow took 16 questions and his answers "totaled 1,334 words." Within those answers, he "used the word 'definitely' 18 times, 'great' 17 times, and 'excited' seven times." Maybe Tebow, "because of his name recognition, doesn’t have to be that good" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/3).

VANILLA FLAVOR: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes Tebow "will bring this vanilla rhetorical style to television, where he will be asked to be insightful and occasionally critical." No one "expects him to zing anyone or fire brickbats." Tebow "might work best if he talks primarily about training and preparation, about how players feel before a major game, and about his specific experiences," but he "will probably not excel at chastising players for academic failures or asking tough questions or calling for any coach’s firing." His "inoffensive style could help him avoid staking out controversial positions, but it could just as easily make him look like the odd man out on a network built on a power conference’s tribal loyalties." Tebow "may only need to be Tebow for ESPN and the SEC Network to be pleased with him." ESPN has "long been in the Tebow business, covering him regularly and, at times, relentlessly." He is "seen as a special ratings attraction within the network" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/3).
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