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Tim Tebow Makes Us All Stupid

“Maybe you’re reasonable about Tebow. If so, I applaud you. But do you go off the rails elsewhere? Has your rooting interest caused you to be stupid about other athletes?”

Brian Noe

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Women, money, and Tim Tebow — all things in life that cause men to say and do stupid things. To be fair, plenty of women have also gotten caught in the Tebow bear trap. There has never been a sports figure that has generated more stupid comments based on performance than Timothy Richard Tebow. Nobody. He’s at the top of the list. The GOAT.

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Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has been kicking around the idea of offering Tebow a one-year deal to play tight end. No, seriously. It sounds like a Hollywood movie script gone wrong, but somehow this is a real thing. Just the potential of Tebow landing with the Jags has sparked an onslaught of foolishness.

Of course you have the blind believers; the people that say things like, “He’s a leader. The guy is just a winner.” I list these folks under the heading “crazy.” They’re the same people who were waxing poetic nearly a decade ago about a guy that has a 47.9 career completion percentage, and a 75.3 career passer rating. That isn’t good enough to qualify as rotten, yet somehow Tebow is a major asset in their eyes.

It isn’t just Tebow’s production that some people are wildly inaccurate about. It’s also the speculation as to why he’s supposedly on the brink of an opportunity. “White privilege” has been mentioned. Hmm, let’s think about that for a second. Do you honestly think Urban Meyer looked at the Jags depth chart and said, “Man, we definitely need more white guys on this squad”? Really?

This is a classic case of trying to recreate a winning formula from the past. The Raiders have tried for decades to recreate the Cliff Branch vertical passing attack. Steve Spurrier signed a bunch of former Florida guys when he coached at Washington. Meyer is trying to regenerate the magic of Percy Harvin at Florida by shoehorning running back Travis Etienne into a hybrid role. Meyer is also trying to recreate Tebow’s presence and leadership in Jacksonville. The problem is that Tebow hasn’t played the tight end position to begin with, or an NFL game since 2012. It’s laughable, but it isn’t white privilege. That’s just another wacky theory in a sea of bad Tebow takes.

Maybe you’re reasonable about Tebow. If so, I applaud you. But do you go off the rails elsewhere? Has your rooting interest caused you to be stupid about other athletes?

There are a lot of Tom Brady wackos out there. Last Saturday, NFL Network replayed Tampa’s 34-23 loss to the Saints in Week 1 last year. It was open season after that loss. “Brady’s washed. He doesn’t have the arm strength anymore. He’s a product of the Patriots culture and a system quarterback.” Yeah, he went on to win another Super Bowl. To put the Brady hate in perspective, think if the roles were reversed last year. Can you imagine the comments if Bill Belichick won a Super Bowl in his first season without Brady, while Brady went 7-9 in his first season with the Bucs? Oh. My. Lord.

By the way, it is utterly insane that Brady — a 7-time Super Bowl champ — has gotten criticized way more unjustly than Tim freaking Tebow.

Another athlete many people are unreasonable about is Russell Westbrook. “Just look at Steven Adams boxing out so Westbrook can get the rebound.” I swear that’s my sports radio version of those old “wanna get away” commercials. Adams isn’t the reason Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in four of the past five seasons. Westbrook has averaged those numbers because he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer and a relentless Energizer Bunny. Adams doesn’t play for the Wizards, yet somehow Russ averaged 11.5 rebounds this season. He’s a 6’3” guard. That’s absurd.

Wizards' Russell Westbrook averages triple-double for fourth time in five  seasons

What’s crazy is that Brady and Westbrook have produced massively, while Tebow has had a tiny sliver of professional success. And somehow Brady and Westbrook are nitpicked while many put Tebow on a pedestal. It’s pure poppycock with a side of malarkey and rubbish.

If you’re a Tebow realist (aka non crazy person), you’re thought to be a hater. It’s personal. You must have something against him. There’s no way you can legitimately think this guy isn’t destined for greatness. Look, hating Tebow is like hating hugs and happiness. What’s to dislike? He’s a great dude who’s disciplined, committed, and respectful among 73 other admirable qualities. Is it possible that it isn’t personal at all? That in spite of respecting the guy, some people simply think he can’t play?

Yes, it’s possible. It’s also true.

It boils down to this; we know the minute Tebow’s name is mentioned, a tidal wave of stupidity is soon to follow. Is it a good or bad idea to invite that type of nonsense on a sports radio show? Not only is it a good idea, it’s tremendous. People are invested. They care about this subject. We’ve been taught since day one to play the hits. Tebow is a smash hit. The topic might be as annoying as Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe, but it’s popular. You’d be crazy not to ever play it.

Never forget that we are captivated by stupidity. When a contestant on Jeopardy! gives a wildly inaccurate response, we can’t wait to share that video on social media. When Pat Sajak says there are only vowels left in the puzzle, and the Wheel of Fortune contestant guesses W, we belly laugh like Santa Claus. Sometimes stupidity is angering, other times it’s amusing, but stupidity is always an attention getter. It’s the crash on the highway that we can’t help but look at. 

Idiocy - Despair, Inc.

It’s smart for hosts to use emotion to their advantage. Sure, emotion is the enemy of logic, but it’s also the engine that drives the sports radio audience machine. You’ll have to put up with a crazy listener or two (or 60) when Tebow is mentioned. Big deal. It’s the cost of doing ratings business. Don’t avoid stupidity. Invite it. It’s the autobahn to success.

BSM Writers

Jason Barrett Podcast – Terry Dugan & Adam Delevitt, BetRivers

Jason Barrett

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Sportsbooks are creating their own media now, and no company is doing that using more guys that have made their names on sports radio than BetRivers. Terry Dugan & Adam Delevitt talk about the strategy behind that decision for today and for the future.

iTunes: https://buff.ly/3nTJC5K 

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3z9hErM

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3oyi0U0

Google: https://buff.ly/3vh7Tqu

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3w9hqAh

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BSM Writers

Joe Rogan Betting Admission Reveals Gray Area

Rogan’s admission raises a question as to just how ethical it is to place bets with insider information, and whether it should be legal or not.

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Joe Rogan

For nearly a decade, I’ve been fortunate enough to cover the football and basketball programs for the University of Kentucky in some form or fashion. Whether writing for blogs or working with ESPN Louisville as co-host of the post-game show, I’ve gotten to know people around the program I grew up supporting, and other individuals in the media doing the same. I’ve made some terrific friendships and cultivated quite a few relationships that provide me with “inside information” about the teams.

As an avid sports bettor, that information has sometimes put me into some difficult personal situations. There have been times when I’ve been alerted to player news that wasn’t public, such as a player dealing with an injury or suspension. It’s often been told to me off-the-record, and I’ve never put that information out publicly or given it to others.

I wish I could also say I’ve never placed a wager based on that information, but that would be a lie. While it’s been a long time since I’ve done so, I’ve ventured into that ethical gray area of betting on a team that I’m covering. I’ve long felt uncomfortable doing so, and I’d say it’s been a few years since I last did it.

At least I know I’m not alone. On his latest episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan told guest Bert Kreischer that earlier in his UFC broadcasting career he regularly bet on fights. He claims to have won nearly 85% of the time (which I highly doubt but that’s another discussion for another time), either via bets he made or ones he gave to a business partner to place on his behalf.

From his comments, Rogan doesn’t seem to have been using sensitive information to gain an edge with the books, but he also didn’t state that he didn’t. He indicates that much of his success stemmed from knowing quite a bit more about fighters coming from overseas, and he said he “knew who they were and I would gamble on them.”

But Rogan undoubtedly has long been in a position where he knows which fighters might be dealing with a slight injury, or who are struggling in camp with a specific fighting style. It’s unavoidable for someone whose job puts him into contact with individuals who tell him things off-the-record and divulge details without perhaps even realizing it.

But let’s say Rogan did get that information, and did use it, and was still doing so today. The fact is…there’s nothing illegal about it, not in the United States at least. While it’s against the rules of some entities — the NFL, for example, has stated they could suspend or ban for life individuals who use inside information or provide it to others — it’s not against any established legal doctrine. Unlike playing the stock market, insider betting is not regulated by any central body or by the government.

However, Rogan’s admission raises a question as to just how ethical it is to place bets with insider information, and whether it should be legal or not. Many of the after-the-fact actions that have been taken in the realm of legalized sports betting in this country, or those being discussed currently (such as advertising limitations), fall in line with changes made in Great Britain following their legalization.

One of their big changes was making it illegal to utilize insider information, with very specific definitions about the “misuse of information” and what steps the Gambling Commission may take. It lays out what information can be used, the punishments that may be levied, and at what point it might venture into criminality.

Sportsbooks do have recourse in some instances to recoup money on insider betting, but not many. If they can prove that a wage was influenced, they can cancel the bet or sue for the money. The most well-known instance is the individual who bet $50,000 at +750 odds that someone would streak on the field during Super Bowl LV –which he did– and then was denied the payout when he bragged about his exploits. But unless someone foolishly tells the books that they’ve taken them with information that the public wasn’t privy to, they have little to no chance of doing anything about it.

There are ramifications to insider betting that raise truly ethical dilemmas. Just like stock trading, information can be immeasurably valuable to those with stakes large enough to change prices. If I’m placing a $20 prop bet with the knowledge that a team’s starting running back might be out for a game, or dealing with an ankle injury, I’m not going to harm anybody else playing that line. But if I give that information to a shark, who places a $20,000 wager on that same line, I’ve now enabled someone to move a line and impact other bettors.

Online sports betting in this country continues to grow, and every day we are reminded that there are still aspects of the space that can feel like the wild west. As individuals in the media, we have to decide personally what our ethical stances are in situations like this. We also have to keep in mind the impact that betting can have on our biases–especially if we’ve bet using inside information. A prime example is Kirk Herbstreit, who won’t even make a pick on College Gameday for games he is going to be doing color commentary for lest he possibly appears biased on the call.

At one end of the spectrum, you have someone like Herbstreit, and on the other end, you have folks like Rogan who, while he no longer does so, was more than happy to not only wager on fights himself but gave the information to others. And in the middle, you have hundreds of people in similar situations, who might lean one way or another or who, like me, may have found themselves on either side of that ethical line.

There is no black or white answer here, nor am I saying there’s necessarily a right or wrong stance for anybody in the sports media industry to take. I would say that each person has to take stock of what they’re comfortable doing, and how they feel about insider information being used. Rogan didn’t break any rules or laws by gambling on the UFC, but his admission to doing so might be the catalyst towards it no longer being accepted.

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Grading How the Networks Handled the Tua Concussion Discussion

Rex Ryan, Rodney Harrison, and Boomer Esiason stood out with their commentary on the Tagovailoa story.

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The major story going into the bulk of Week 4’s NFL action on Sunday was the concussion suffered by Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in Thursday’s game versus the Cincinnati Bengals.

Amazon’s Thursday Night Football telecast, particularly its halftime show, faced heavy criticism for neglecting to mention that Tagovailoa had been tested for a concussion in his previous game just four days earlier. Additionally, the NFL Players Association called for an investigation into whether or not the league’s concussion protocols were followed properly in evaluating Tagovailoa.

In light of that, how would the Sunday NFL pregame shows address the Tagovailoa concussion situation? Would they better inform viewers by covering the full story, including the Week 3 controversy over whether or not proper protocols were followed?

We watched each of the four prominent pregame shows — ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Fox NFL Sunday, CBS’s The NFL Today, and NBC’s Football Night in America — to compare how the Tagovailoa story was covered. With the benefit of two extra days to research and report, did the Sunday shows do a better job of informing and engaging viewers?

Here’s how the pregame studio crews performed with what could be the most important NFL story of the year:

Sunday NFL Countdown – ESPN

ESPN’s pregame show is the first to hit the air each Sunday, broadcasting at 10 a.m. ET. So the Sunday NFL Countdown crew had the opportunity to lead the conversation for the day. With a longer, three-hour show and more resources to utilize in covering a story like this, ESPN took full advantage of its position.

The show did not lead off with the Tagovailoa story, opting to lay out Sunday’s schedule, which included an early game in London between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. But the Countdown crew eventually got to issue on everyone’s minds approximately 28 minutes into the program.

Insider Adam Schefter provided the latest on the NFL and NFLPA’s investigation into the matter, particularly the “gross motor instability” Tagovailoa displayed in stumbling on the field and how the Dolphins initially announced that the quarterback had suffered a head injury, but later changed his condition to a back injury.

Schefter added that the NFL and NFLPA were expected to interview Tagovailoa and pass new guidelines for concussion protocols, including that no player displaying “gross motor instability” will be allowed to play. Those new rules could go into effect as early as Week 5.

“This is an epic fail by the NFL,” said Matt Hasselbeck to begin the commentary. “This is an epic fail by the medical staff, epic fail by everybody! Let’s learn from it!”

Perhaps the strongest remarks came from Rex Ryan, who said coaches sometimes need to protect players from themselves.

“I had a simple philosophy as a coach: I treated every player like my son,” Ryan said. “Would you put your son back in that game after you saw that?

“Forget this ‘back and ankle’ BS that we heard about! This is clearly from head trauma! That’s it. I know what it looks like. We all know what it looks like.”

Where Sunday NFL Countdown‘s coverage may have stood out the most was by bringing injury analyst Stephania Bell into the discussion. Bell took a wider view of the story, explaining that concussions had to be treated in the long-term and short-term. Science needs to advance; a definitive diagnostic tool for brain injury doesn’t currently exist. Until then, a more conservative approach has to be taken, holding players out of action more often.

Grade: A. Countdown covered the story thoroughly. But to be fair, it had the most time.

The NFL Today – CBS

CBS’s pregame show led off with the Tagovailoa story, going right to insider Jonathan Jones to report. He cited the key phrase “gross motor instability” as a significant indication of a concussion.

Jones also clarified that the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who helped evaluate Tagovailoa made “several mistakes” in consulting with the Dolphins’ team doctor, leading to his dismissal by the NFL and NFLPA.

The most pointed remarks came from Boomer Esiason, who said any insinuation that the Dolphins, head coach Mike McDaniel, or the team medical staff put Tagovailoa back in the game in order to win was “off-base.” Phil Simms added that the concussion experts he spoke with indicated that Tagovailoa could miss four to six weeks with this injury.

Grade: B-. The opinions from the analysts were largely bland. Jones’s reporting stood out.

Fox NFL Sunday

The Fox NFL pregame show also led off with the Tagovailoa story, reviewing the questions surrounding how the quarterback was treated in Week 3 before recapping his injury during Week 4’s game.

Jay Glazer reported on the NFL’s investigation, focusing on whether or not Tagovailoa suffered a concussion in Week 3. And if he did, why was he allowed to play in Week 4? Glazer noted that Tagovailoa could seek a second, maybe a third medical opinion on his injury.

Jimmy Johnson provided the most compelling commentary, sharing his perspective from the coaching side of the situation. He pointed out that when an injured player comes off the field, the coach has no contact with him. The medical team provides an update on whether or not the player can return. In Johnson’s view, Mike McDaniel did nothing wrong in his handling of the matter. He has to trust his medical staff.

Grade: B. Each of the analysts shared stronger opinions, particularly in saying a player failing “the eyeball test” with concussion symptoms should be treated seriously.

Football Night in America – NBC

Sunday Night Football was in a different setting than the other pregame shows, with Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, and Rodney Harrison broadcasting on-site from Tampa Bay. With that, the show led off by covering the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, its effects on the Tampa area, and how the Buccaneers dealt with the situation during the week.

But after 20 minutes, the show got into the Tagovailoa story with Mike Florio reporting what his peers told viewers earlier in the day regarding pending changes to the NFL’s concussion protocol and “gross motor instability” being used as a major indicator.

Florio emphasized that the NFLPA would ask how Tagovailoa was examined and treated. Was he actually examined for a back injury in Week 3? And if he indeed suffered a back injury, why was he still allowed to play?

When the conversation went back to the on-site crew, Dungy admitted that playing Thursday night games always concerned him when he was a coach. He disclosed that teams playing a Thursday game needed to have a bye the previous week so they didn’t have to deal with a quick, four-day turnaround. That scheduling needs to be addressed for player safety.

But Harrison had the most engaging reaction to the story, coming from his experience as a player. He admitted telling doctors that he was fine when suffering concussion symptoms because he wanted to get back in the game. Knowing that was wrong, Harrison pleaded with current players to stay on the sidelines when hurt because “CTE takes you to a dark place.”

“It’s not worth it. Please take care of yourself,” said Harrison. “Don’t depend on the NFL. Don’t depend on anybody. If something’s wrong with your head, report it.”

Grade: B+. Dungy and Harrison’s views of the matter from their perspective as a coach and player were very compelling.

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