Sports – THE JOCK January 28, 2010

by Tom Weppel
This weekend we will see football All-Star games being played…one on the college level, the other on the professional level.
The college game will be the second game played, with the first one having been held last weekend in Orlando. This one on Saturday will be held in Mobile, Alabama. For this whole week, college players have gone through practices run by NFL coaching staffs, such as the Miami Dolphins. In fact, every single team in the NFL has had someone present to check out thee guys, to see who is who, as they being the process of scouting and evaluating, in anticipation of the NFL Draft in April. While there are plenty of interesting players there to work with, there’s no doubt, without question, that the total, complete, MAIN focus has been on one guy. Tim Tebow. Imagine that.
Its becoming a farce…the amount of attention this guy is receiving, as the clock ticks down to draft time. Mr. Tebow, the Gator QB who won two national titles under Urban Meyer, is being analyzed by everyone and anyone who shares an interest in the NFL. So many out there are wondering if he can make the changes and adjustments he’ll have to in coming into the professional level. There is a lot of tough, negative criticism, mainly because Florida ran a spread offense, and Tebow mainly took snaps entirely from the shotgun formation. Almost all NFL teams do not work that way, preferring that their QB’s line up under Center.
Obviously, Tim Tebow has to make changes and soak in all the coaching and advice he has been receiving, like he did this week. And no matter how he does, in the game, on the field, during practice, etc…questions will remain as to just how good Tebow can be. Its becoming that much more difficult, day after day. Tebow says he only wants to play the Quarterback position. He will not go to H-back, TE, or any other situation critics are suggesting. Meanwhile, because of his personality, his college success, and his outright popularity, he is…and will be…a draw for any team that decides to draft him. That alone is making team evaluations that much tougher.
There is still about three months until the NFL Draft in late April. We are going to hear a lot about this situation. The discussions will be rampant. Bottom line…no matter who drafts Tim Tebow, they will be receiving a lot of media attention and scrutiny…

The ‘other’ All-Star game this weekend is the NFL Pro Bowl, which is being held in South Florida, as opposed to the way it has been for so many years…that being the week AFTER the Super Bowl, in Hawaii.
The NFL decided to do this to see how different things would be, in the attention it would receive, the attendance, and the overall interest, compared to years past.
So far, the one positive aspect is that the game is completely sold out, unlike in past seasons, when the Hawaii game was only attended by a select few, perhaps on vacation.
But the negative aspects to this set up, at least to me, far outweigh the positives.
Consider that, for the rosters that were announced, there were seven Saints players, and seven Colts. Obviously, they won’t be playing. Combinethat with a host of other players…about 15-20 total…that won’t show up, mainly because of season injury, or being simply worn out, and we see that about 30+ players that made the Pro Bowl roster will NOT be there!
And so, the NFL has had to scramble as all get out, simply to find guys with decent stats who are available and still in decent shape, to come down for the week to play in this game that now shouldn’t even be considered a Pro Bowl!
To show how badly its gotten…of the six QB’s who were on the roster, FIVE won’t be there! Packer QB Aaron Rodgers will be the only legitimate Pro Bowl Quarterback playing!
Its gotten so bad, the League asked Jags QB David Garrard to come down and play! And while Garrard is a great guy, the bottom line is the guy only has average rankings in many statistical areas. Garrard only threw for 3,597 yards (about a 225/gm avg.). He only had 15 TD passes, with 10 INT’s, and a QB rating of 83.5! All those numbers aren’t even close to the top QB’s that are supposed to there!
And so, maybe it would be more appropriate to call this game “The Not-Really Pro Bowl”! Perhaps they should just simply say, “Hey! Come on out and see a couple of NFL guys play an exhibition game!” Because, for all intents, that is all this will end up being…

NOTES…
The Australian Open tennis tournament, the first ‘major’ of the year, is coming down to the Finals this weekend. From an American standpoint, there continues to be speculation as to whether we will ever see Venus Williams or Andy Roddick do well Down Under. Both lost in the Quarterfinals. Both players have not won the French Open. It makes for a good bit of frustration and wonderment, at least in the minds of American tennis fans…

At 12-7 as of the middle of this past week, the UNC Tar Heel basketball team is not even CLOSE to what they were last year!
As defending champions, Carolina was expected to slip a little, having had four starters not return for various reasons. But it has been even that much worse! UNC lost three straight games at home for the first time in the tenure of Head Coach Roy Williams! They are not only out of the Top 25, but they sit very close to the bottom of the ACC standings, which is a complete rarity! Heel fans have to be simply blowing this season off, with the hope that by next year, the team can regroup and get back to what they’re used to being…

The Jets and Vikings, after losing their Conference championship games to the Colts and Saints, respectively, are already looking at next season with a lot of anticipation. Both teams made great runs, and their rosters are filled with a lot of hope and talent. Of course, a lot of talk has centered upon the status of the veteran QB, Brett Favre, in whether he will return next season. While I’m sure we can hear anything and everything for the next six months, the bottom line is no one will know how he will feel until training camp starts in August…no matter what is said.

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