It wouldn't seem easy to find anything that Warren Moon, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless would see the same way. Moon, the legendary former CFL and NFL quarterback, now has become a respected football analyst, while Smith and Bayless spend most of their daily two-hour First Take show on ESPN2 yelling at each other about everything sports-related (to the disdain of many). However, there's one thing where they all agree, and it's a conclusion reached here many times before: the CFL doesn't seem to be the best fit for recently-released New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. Here's what Moon told KILT-AM in Houston Wednesday:
"You have to be able to throw the ball up there, if anything. They throw the ball a lot. It's only three downs, so the passing game is much more important up there, and there's a lot more field to cover," Moon said. "If you can't throw the football, it doesn't matter where you play quarterback," he said. "You have to be able to throw it. That's his biggest problem, just being able to complete passes, be an accurate passer. I think he's a really good athlete playing the position, but I don't think that's enough sometimes."
And here's what Bayless (long one of Tebow's biggest backers) and Smith said in response to Moon's comments on First Take Thursday:
Here's the first key exchange from the segment:
Smith: "We know that Warren Moon is absolutely, positively prophetic in this. Every single word he said was right on the money, and more importantly than anything else, Skip Bayless has often acknowledged the greatness of Warren Moon. Skip Bayless reported on Warren Moon from his days in Washington. Skip Bayless knows that Warren Moon is qualified to say what he said. The floor is yours, my brother from another mother. Take it away.
Bayless: "I have nothing but respect for the great Warren Moon. He was a pioneer, he was a trailblazer for black quarterbacks. But Stephen A., I find these remarks unfair. I agree with Warren on one count, and I've told you this many times: Tim Tebow can not make it in the Canadian Football League. They throw it all over the lot on a wider field, as you know, a longer field. It's made to throw, and it's not what Tebow does best. So I'm with Warren on that."
Of course, Bayless then goes on to justify his belief that Tebow can be a great NFL quarterback thanks to him being a "force of competitive nature", which is certainly debatable. However, there's some good logic and reason here from all sides (a rarity on First Take!), and it's refreshing to hear one of Tebow's biggest supporters recognize that the peculiarities of the Canadian game (plus the time it takes for quarterbacks to adjust to a 12-a-side, three-down system) might not play to his strengths. That's something that's frequently been said in Canadian coverage of Tebow's CFL prospects (as is that he'd be competing to be a backup at best at first), but although it's been mentioned in smart coverage of the situation from south of the border, many American outlets have ignored just how hard it is to succeed in the CFL, and how a quarterback not known for his accuracy is unlikely to walk in and dominate in a pass-focused league. Perhaps that will change now that one of Tebow's biggest backers has criticized the Tebow-to-the-CFL idea. After all, it's tough to think of much else that you could get Moon, Bayless and Smith to agree on.
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Skip Bayless
- Warren Moon
- Tim Tebow