By Steven Keys

If you’re an NFL fan or root for Colin Kaepernick, not always mutually exclusive mental states, and feed those foibles by perusing online sport sites, you’ll know it has become common in recent years for certain players to have developed a cult-like following amongst the media, junior scribes, in particular. Individually, five names have received more press than probably every player combined, excepting Broadway Joe, of course, since the National Football League went on-wire in 1920:

1) Johnny Manziel
2) Tim Tebow
3) Michael Sam
4) Colin Kaepernick
5) Richard Sherman

At this posting only one of the five, Sherman, has a job with our nation’s new national pastime (When a home run derby is your showcase event of the season, there’s big trouble) and soon to become international funfest (See; London).

.....Kaep.9.9.12.GB.M.Morbeck.wc.cca.291kOf the other four, it’s possible Kaepernick and Manziel could get a call for a 2017 quarterback tryout as injuries begin to mount in the League on commencement of training camps and contact. But that’s becoming more doubtful as the recent rapid-siging in Miami of free-agent QB Cutler and longer-than-expected list of somewhat suspect number (#) ones (Kessler (CLE), McCown (NYJ), Hoyer (SF), Taylor (BUF), Glennon (CHI), Siemian (DEN), Savage (HOU)) penciled-in for 2017 strongly suggests about their both desirability.

For Tebow, who last played with the Jets in 2012, the chance of an NFL return is nearly nil. Tim’s rather particular (prideful), shunning CFL and tight-end talk, a spot for which he was tailor-made. Same holds true for Sam (nil) who never made a roster after being drafted late in 2014 (7 / 249), having two tryouts (STL / DAL), an invite to a combine and a brief suit-up with Montreal (CFL). Mike does, for some reason, have his own page at PFR.com, sans the Montreal Alouettes statistics.

None of those deactivated states has stopped certain media from alternatively appeasing (groupies) or depressing (fans of sport) readers with a steady stream of stories seemingly designed to persuade, cajole or bully the League, its owners and neutral fans into giving three of the four another shot at the big time.

But “Eddie Haskell” couldn’t bully “Beaver Cleaver,” Reid & Pelosi couldn’t bully Dan Snyder, his Washington Redskins or the American Indian rank & file (See; WP “9 of 10” poll (2016)) and nobody bullies the NFL into deciding who it hires or who it doesn‘t. An exception: Ray Rice and women’s advocacy groups. The ex-Baltimore Raven’s rehab appears real but his stigma sticks: Video is video, thanks to TMZ (ugh).

If you think that’s a poor analogy, then you never knew Leave It to Beaver (1957-63). It’s impact on Americana made Vince Lombardi’s 1960s power sweep look almost happenstance. And if you don’t know the sweep (Kramer – Gregg) you’d best bone up. Start in the State of Ohio, then find George Halas (IL) and go on from there.

Michael Sam

When Sam told the nation of his homosexual orientation just prior to the 2014 NFL draft, likely hoping to forestall his stock drop to a level so low he feared being undrafted entirely, his act was lauded by captured media as socially significant. It might have been more accurately called a self-serving act of leverage. A League that would appear unwelcoming to the first openly gay pro football player, college skill-set aside, might suffer a consumer backlash, so the Suits & Skirts may’ve thunk. Sam gets the call late from a St. Louis Rams club seeking a re-location vote to Los Angeles, then a tryout is afforded by affable Jerry Jones who is always looking for new renters (AT&T). The NFL looked open-minded, Sam got his cup o’ Gatorade® and everybody felt a litte cheated.

Colin Kaepernick

Sherman recently claimed Kaepernick is being blackballed on his race. But that won’t fly. The NFL’s composition is overwhelmingly African-American. Others claim jingoism is motivating CK‘s critcs, arising from what appeared an anthem protest on police brutality, suspiciously timed as the former 49er’s starter-string in San Francisco looked to’ve run out. But America was born on protest (Stamp Act 1765). Refusing to stand at attention for the flag ceremony is disfavored but not necessarily offensive to most citizens of these United States. What owners may’ve found abhorrent (Tuesday nite ESPN reported Giants’ owner John Mara likes the Milwaukee-native to suit-up somewhere in the NFL for 2017) were Colin’s racist white pig socks. It doesn’t have to be a forgiveable act but until Kaepernick takes responsibility, even a re-signing won’t make him legitimate.

What if nobody comes calling from the NFL, where does Colin go from there? Oprah? That’d be nice, for him, when he and his co-author get a book done (I don’t know Dick’s writing skills but he does like a by-line (See; SI.com)). Believing in something (faith) is not enough. Wisdom, and no small amount of courage, do both matter. Protest can be passionate or it can be theater if it lacks heart & soul (truth). And he can forget about autograph shows, they’re pro-diversity and patriotic, but the NBA célébrité will always be welcoming.

John Manziel

Johnny Football: He never did earn that moniker. Jon thought talent was the trick. So did Todd Marinovich, “Robo-QB.“ He could matriculate in a typhoon but made drugs his love. Manziel could’ve been the greatest college quarterback in history but made booze his squeeze. We don’t really know anything’s changed at this posting. For a run-QB who never learned to take hits in the pocket, THE pro skill, Johnny Skittles can’t afford to have fun being stupid any longer. Like Colin, Jon never respected the game, or the business. That won’t be tolerated, not by owners, players, coaches, real fans or the almighty Sponsors.

Tim Tebow

......Tebow.Starlito.L.Garrett.11.1.12.wc.ccaIt’s curious, Tim may be the only NFL signal-caller to have, in his one near-full campaign under center (2014 Denver), compiled a better than .500 record (7-4), led the most captivating team win-streak in recent memory (6-0), won a road playoff game (@ Pittsburgh) on a GWD touchdown strike, yet, the next season, be ungraciously traded away (Jets) where, for one season, he finished his brief career in a non-QB job as a decoy flanker-back (?). Curious, indeed.

Tebow’s fandom is still quite vast, kept current with his baseball venture in the New York Mets minors, one most likely to end in the same fashion to that of his pro football career when (if) on promotion he meets that “wicked” major league curveball, known to derail & dash many a career (See; Bull Durham (88)).

Most scribes never did subscribe to the Book of Timbo, hence, never did promote his cause for return. Bart Simpson just won’t rock to Christian hip-hop. Like all run-QBs, Tim’s skill-set proved limited (47.9 C%). But other wily field generals have too relied heavily on stoking emotional fires to wins and careers. Billy Kilmer comes to mind (1967: 10g, 47.5%, 0-4, 6t-11i (16y)). And then nobody put fans in the seats, stadium and home, like Tebow. The reality for NFL is that flash-QB, with all his shortcomings (rabbit, RIF-fail), is here to stay, given his popularity in college by great success (Heismans / titles) and facilitator of the coaching-lite strategy: Just give the Kid the ball and count the wins.

.....Marshall.Topps.70Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: C.Kaepernick, wc.cca, 10.27.13, D.Hartwig; C.Kaepernick, 9.9.12, M.Morbeck, 291k, wc.cca; Starlito-T.Tebow-L.Garrett, wc, 11.1.12; J.Marshall, ToppsChewingGum, 1970.
Posted: 8.9.17 @ 12:42a EST; Copyright © 2017

Filed under: New York Giants, NFL

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