Tim Tebow meets the fans in liberal New England

Man, that Tim Tebow is way more popular than he should be, in light of his third-string quarterback status. Why is that?

And that Tebow guy does so much charity work and keeps going so far out of his way to identify with people and to make that one-on-one connection that is so rare in the world of mega-celebrities. What's that all about?

You can tell that the Yankees up at The Boston Globe are trying to figure out what they need to say about Tebow and where, in a daily story, they need to say the obvious. It's kind of interesting to watch Tebow just carry on, doing his thing, while located in a region of the country that tends to view people of his ilk like aliens from another planet.

You know what I'm saying, right?

So the Globe team did this story the other day about Tebow's unusually gracious manner with people who are seeking autographs. It's the sort of story that sports reporters have to crank out day after day during the drudge work of training camp. This one ran under the double-decker headline that begged the obvious:

Tim Tebow’s bond with fans is unique

‘There’s something about him, something that can make someone feel so special’

A unique bond. It seems that there's something special about this guy. Now what might that be?

Now check it out: What's the bizarre fact in this opening anecdote that goes without any commentary whatsoever?

FOXBOROUGH -- Madelin Beardsley is a 15-year-old with cerebral palsy. She also has selective mutism.

Sometimes, in unfamiliar settings, she clams up.

So when she planned on attending Patriots training camp last week, her parents suggested what they often do: Make a poster.

“It’s a way for her to make herself known,” Madelin’s father, Scott Beardsley, said. “For her to stand up for herself and communicate what she really wants to say.”

Last Monday night, the Beardsleys gathered in their Virginia Beach home with markers and white oak tag.

Madelin selected the text: “Tebow we came 600 miles to see you, please come see me.”

On Thursday in Foxborough, he did.

Tim Tebow -- the Patriots’ renowned third-string quarterback -- met Madelin after practice. He smiled. He told her he loved the poster.

“A handful of players signed autographs for Madelin,” said Scott, who grew up a Patriots fan in Beverly. “Tebow was the only one to ask her name. I can’t tell you what that meant to her. There’s something about him, something that can make someone feel so special. Even if they meet for 10 seconds.”

Yes, there is a connection between the family and the Patriots. But did anyone ask if, truth be told, these people had come 600 miles in order to meet Tebow? And they're from Virginia Beach? Might this family be identifying with Tebow for faith-based reasons, as opposed to the logic of football?

Did the Globe team even ask these people why they were there or, to be blunt about it, have we reached the point where no on even needs to state that this whole mysterious "bond" between Tebow and many of his fans -- especially the young, the weak and the handicapped -- is rooted in a faith connection?

How do journalists handle this "bond" thing, this far along?

Why is Tebow out there meeting people, way longer than he needs to be?

Why are people driving, well, 600 miles to connect with a third-string quarterback?

The story says that they are identifying with "what he stands for" -- obviously. No need to flesh that out.

Readers learn that the "way he connects with people transcends football." No need to explain that, either. Even in chilly New England?

What's interesting is that near the end of this rather long story, after all of the details and after Tebow has departed with a wave and a cry of "God bless," the Globe team finally states the obvious. Sort of.

Tebow, a devout Christian, was raised on a farm in Jacksonville. A quarterback prodigy, he signed his first autograph when he was 15.

At Florida, he became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. Over time, the folklore grew. Chiseled with steel blue eyes, Tebow once graced the cover of GQ. His name became a verb, slang word, and cultural phenomenon.

Cult-like followings sprouted wherever his football career took him.

Oh, like we need to have THAT explained to us.

The one thing the story never stops to address is the most obvious news angle for this piece: How is Tebow, the person, doing in New England? The team, and the quarterback, are playing things very low key -- which makes total sense. Tebow, the player, has a wonderful opportunity to make progress in one of the best quarterback schools on earth.

But what about Tebow, the person? How's he doing? Is he connecting with fans in one of the most culturally liberal corners of the nation? If the answer is "yes," then that's a story. Right?

Come on folks, start asking questions.

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