The other day, ESPN president John Skipper gave an interview in which he acknowledged the abundantly obvious: that the network's coverage of Tim Tebow had, at times, gone a wee bit overboard. Speaking to John Ourand in Sports Business Daily, Skipper suggested that ESPN producers had grown too enamored of the ratings that Tebow talk provoked. "We all know that if you focus on the Tebow story, for the next 10 minutes you're going to do better," Skipper said. "But the question is trying to take a long-term perspective and saying, 'Guys, let's not get over excited about one story and hyping it.'"
This was a reasonable declaration. Then again, we are discussing the backup quarterback of a sub-.500 football team who hasn't appeared in a game since mid-November. But such is the never-ending and bizarre phenomenon of Tim Tebow: a player who, because of his lack of playing time, should not command a moment of attention, but remains a talking point, making news even when he's not news, to the point where a leader of the country's most influential sports network expresses regret about the manner in which he has been covered, as if Tebow were a celebrity murder trial, or an underreported overseas war.