Standard caveat about Tim Tebow coverage...
We can have a reasonable debate about the "Should Tim Tebow or Kyle Orton start for the Broncos?" The latest conventional wisdom: Orton will be QB1 to start the season; inevitably, the Broncos will fall out of playoff contention, at which point Tebow will get his reps.
Orton is the more polished QB now; Tebow needs the reps to move up the learning curve, if only so the Broncos can evaluate whether he is their answer long-term at QB. (I think he can be, but that's actually not the point.)
Then Merril Hoge had to step in with inflammatory Tweets yesterday morning: "Sitting watching tape off bronco offense from last year! Orton or Tebow? It's embarrassing to think the broncos could win with tebow!!" He went on TV and said much of the same thing.
Now, Tebow commands massive -- massive -- fan and media interest. Hoge saying the same thing about, say, Chad Henne simply wouldn't get remotely the same traction. I call it the "It's Tim Tebow" phenomenon, and it has consistently proved that Tebow topics, big or mundane, ALWAYS become a big deal.
I suspect that some of Hoge's trolling was because he wanted the attention that comes with ripping Tebow -- there are lots of fans out there that support Tebow no matter what and flinch at any criticism; Hoge is undoubtedly in the "if they're ripping me, they're talking about me" school. (I'm sure other folks agree with him, by the way.)
Last night, Tebow tweeted out: "Hey Merril...... 'ppreciate that" -- now, you have to understand that Tebow doesn't traffic in sarcasm or snark. Like, at all. These are moments that Tebow-watchers consider rarities (see his taunting penalty in the 2008 national title game). It was kind of fascinating.
Even that engagement would have moved the story into today. But then things got weirder: LeBron weighed in, via Twitter: "Listened to Merril Hoge today on SC and he was just blasting Tebow. The man hasn't even play a full season and its only his 2nd year in. Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played. How bout encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!"
LeBron's participation almost assuredly means the story goes a bit nuclear today (even if it isn't much of a story); it is the No. 2 headline on ESPN.com.
Tebow stories are big enough on their own; LeBron stories are big enough on their own.
Combining them? Just prepare yourself.
More on the radar today:
*Tiger tees off at 1:40 today at the WGC: I never thought I'd say this -- it's a must-follow, if only for the "train-wreck" factor (if Tiger plays well, all the more interesting).
*A-Rod and the poker thing: It's not the poker -- athletes gamble constantly. It's the association with unsavory characters around the gambling scene. (SportsGrid's Tim Burke made a similar point.)
*The NFL "league year" starts at 4 today: Formality.
*CFB: The top QB recruit committed to Florida State. Damn, Jimbo Fisher is crushing it. I'll dig into this later this month, but Oklahoma-Florida State in mid-September is a de facto national championship qualifier, with the winner having an inside track. It's going to be the official coronation of the Fisher Era at FSU when the Noles run OU off the field.
*RIP Bubba Smith: "Police Academy," yes, but his Miller Lite ad is a classic.
More on Quickish all day.