11:00 PM ADT: Update-- Finally finished editing
Polls have very little place in any serious discussion of sports, but a couple of polls caught my eye this week. One, done by Sports Illustrated, polled 180 players, asking them to name the most overrated player in the league. Tim Tebow was the overwhelming choice, garnering 34% of the votes, easily outdistancing second place finishers Mark Sanchez and Tony Romo (8% each). Now, polls like this are meant to be fun and promote discussion, and are silly, unscientific, and meaningless, but I thought it was interesting that Tebow would be at the top, and especially by such a wide margin. The first thing that I thought was that, in order for a player to be overrated, wouldn’t he, by definition, have to be undeserving of his high rating? This of course begs the question, “Who’s rating Tim Tebow so high to begin with?” Since declaring himself eligible for the NFL Draft, there have always been serious questions about Tebow’s suitability to be an NFL QB. We’ve been told endlessly that his throwing motion is a disaster. His play has been repeatedly maligned, the statistics he posts ridiculed. And all he did last season was take over as the starter for a 1-4 Broncos team, compile a 7-4 record as a starter, finish the regular season with twice as many TD passes as interceptions (12-6) along with an additional 6 TDs and 3 Two-Point Conversions on the ground, and get the Broncos into the playoffs, where they beat the favoured Steelers in the opening round. Now, after that apparently meagre accomplishment, he finds himself traded to the Jets, where he plays behind the putrid Mark Sanchez on a team that has no idea how to use him.
Of course, if you listen to some people, like this clown at ESPN, then you’ll be told that the “Players nailed it.” What players exactly? The sample of the survey was 180 players. Each team, on any given week, has a game day roster of 45 and an active roster of 53 players. That’s a lot of friggin’ players, the majority of whom are not worthy of asking. According to the esteemed Mr. James Walker, “It’s hard to argue with NFL players on this one.” Now, are we talking about the same NFL players who voted Tebow to the #95 spot on the most recent “NFL Top 100” players list? Yes Mr. Walker, it is hard to argue with anyone who swears to believe opposite sides of the same argument (must be like debating Mitt Romney). If Tim Tebow is overrated, then it’s only because it’s his peers who rated him so high to begin with. Bravo for not noticing, Mr. Walker. Bravo.
I think it would be terribly ironic if Antonio Cromartie was one of the players who said the Tebow was overrated:
Before I get onto my pick for tonight, I want to briefly mention the other poll. This one, by Forbes, purports to measure “The NFL’s Most (and Least) Liked Players.” This being a publication devoted to financial matters, the purpose of the poll is to gauge a particular player’s name recognition and whether the public has a positive or negative opinion of him based upon what the public knows of him. Again, such endeavours are a fun read for fans. It’s easy to see how a player like Troy “Head and Shoulders” Polumalu, or Donald “Mirror Ball” Driver would do well, and it’s funny when a team like the Dallas Cowboys seemingly inspires such strong feelings among the public that its backup QB Kyle Orton, whose only crime as far as I can remember is cultivating one hellacious neckbeard, can make the top ten Least Liked list.
The thing that struck me the most about this poll is the top of the Least Liked list. At number one is Ndamukong Suh, a player upon whom I have heaped much scorn (I recall referring to him as “Stompy the Clown” last season), who has earned a reputation as a dirty player, and who has had some recent run-ins with the law. Second on the list was Jay Cutler, who has committed the unforgivable crimes of sulking, looking bored, and not being super-excited to answer reporters’ dumb questions. Fine. Third on the list is Michael Vick. Let me repeat that: Michael Vick, third. The photo gallery accompanying the Forbes article refers to Vick’s “legal woes from a few years ago.” Well, that’s putting it mildly. See, I remember Vick’s alter ego Ron Mexico. Worse, I remember the other name he went by, Ookie, the one who owned and operated a dog fighting operation for years, who participated in training and breeding dogs for fighting, who sponsored and transported dogs for fights, who tested the fighting abilities of candidate dogs and participated in the killing of dogs deemed not suitable for fighting. Some things should not ever be forgotten.
Buccaneers at Vikings
The Vikes have been a surprise this season in compiling a 5-2 record, and I was sorely tempted to pick them at home against the 2-4 Bucs. It’s a good matchup. Both teams’ defences are strong, so it will be a question of how well their offences respond. Vikings’ QB Christian Ponder has struggled of late, and Adrian Peterson has had to carry the offence. The Bucs are extremely good against the run, and will most likely take the approach that if the Vikes are going to beat them, it will have to be through the air. I don’t think Ponder and the Vikings’ passing game is quite up to the task. The superior Tampa passing attack will be the difference in a close game. Winner: Buccaneers