ESPN Announcers Joke About Net's Heavy Tebow Coverage During College Hoops Telecast
The playing status of Jets QB Tim Tebow has been debated in many different venues, but it popped up in a strange place yesterday -- ESPN’s coverage of the Butler-Xavier men’s college basketball game. Xavier was comfortably ahead with around four minutes left in the game when ESPN analyst Dan Dakich asked his broadcast partner Bob Wischusen, the Jets’ radio play-by-play announcer, why the Jets are not playing Tebow. Feigning disgust, Wischusen asked, “Why are you doing this to me? We’re having a very pleasant afternoon, and you’ve got to do that to me?” A few minutes after a commercial break, Dakich again began talking about Tebow. Wischusen said, “Didn’t we get word from Bristol that we had actually allowed, like, 11 minutes of airtime to go by without mentioning Tebow. I think that’s the standard company rule. Every 15 minutes of every program -- regardless of what sport is being aired -- Tim Tebow must be mentioned. So good job of you following the company line.” Laughing, Dakich said, “Execs at ESPN, I did not say that. He did. But I will say this: I wonder when Brett Favre is coming back!” Later, as time was expiring, Dakich noted Tebow “resurrected” the Broncos last year. Wischusen: “Can we run the clock, please?” (“Butler-Xavier,” ESPN, 11/13).
NEVER ENOUGH TEBOW? DEADSPIN.com's John Koblin wrote ESPN has had a "yearlong infatuation with Tebow, a player who hasn't made much actual news since he was traded to the Jets in March." ESPN execs have "decided that what we want -- or what we should want -- is Tebow." Author Jim Miller, who co-wrote the ESPN book “Those Guys Have All the Fun,” said, "They want to own the Tebow story. They want to put their watermark on it." Koblin wrote this helps explain why ESPN during the summer "dispatched veteran reporter Sal Paolantonio and a crew to cover Jets camp as if it were the run-up to the Super Bowl." It also explains "why ESPN2's 'First Take' referred to Tim Tebow more than seven dozen times in late May even though there was absolutely no Tebow news to report on," and why it "seemed perfectly reasonable to a 'SportsCenter' anchor to ask in-studio guest Liam Neeson whether Tim Tebow should be the Jets' starting quarterback even though Liam Neeson had no clue what he was talking about." The steady stream of Tebow "non-news is as much a part of ESPN's identity now as Chris Berman doing NFL highlights on Sunday night" (DEADSPIN.com, 11/12).
READ ALL ABOUT IT: ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" spent a fair amount of time this morning discussing a N.Y. Daily News report in which Tebow is described as "terrible" by an anonymous teammate. ESPN's Jalen Rose wrote on his Twitter feed, "Breaking news: The media mandates not to over-analyze Tebow until he actually starts a game. ... that was a nice dream" (TWITTER.com, 11/14).