Darren McFadden has proven he's not a sore loser, but I sure as hell am. Never mind that I wasn't actually up for the Heisman, however valid the point. The look of disappointment on a face I'm so used to seeing with a grin from ear to ear made me want to burn my ESPNU subscription on Mark May's lawn.
ESPN's late-season push for Tebow made the going-away party for Nutt look positively dismal. Even Tebow seemed a little uncomfortable. He's a great player, and he had a tremendous season. It's not like he's Troy Smith. But if I hear a 20-year-old man with a single monster season under his belt referred to as a “myth” one more time, I'm liable to burn more than my subscription.
This is the Fox News of sportscasting, and they're concerned with another game entirely: constructing a marketable narrative. But knowing that doesn't make listening to all this talk about Tebow's “life journey” and how he has a lot of “class” and how he's so “eloquent” any easier. That horseshit only makes me wonder what they all really think of McFadden.
McFadden escaped a totally different life in the Rock. He overcame obstacles that Tim Tebow, having received nothing but the same kind of love and support all of his life as he received on stage Saturday night, couldn't begin to imagine. These same people who heap praise on the sophomore's character still talk about McFadden breaking his toe last season as if he was just beating up some random punk at a club, not bothering to mention or sometimes even find out that he was in the process of defending his brother's property from thieves. I always think to myself that that's a little... suspect.
And then there's the numbers. McFadden piled up his best season this year while sharing duties with two other top-level athletes in Peyton Hillis and Felix Jones. Florida had to send Tebow over the top every time they got within five yards of the end zone. Maybe that's an argument in favor of the sophomore, but I think it's evidence of something else. Everyone knows that McFadden was hurt on the short mid-season stretch that the analysts keep bringing up. But when they talk down his rushing stats versus MSU they apparently don't know that he also threw for a touchdown and broke a reception for 57 yards in the same “sub-par” game. Pretty convincing for a crowd that has shown so much interest in all-purpose yards.
But all that sweat adds up to one more loss in an already heartbreaking season. I guess things have to be burned clear down to the ground before they can grow again.
I for one don't think Tebow's gonna suffer from the Heisman curse. He's no Danny Wuerffel or Chris Leak. He's got a tremendous arm and has been steadily improving his already stellar passing game. I think he could learn to be comfortable in the pocket. But I also don't think NFL defenses will be all that forgiving when he lopes over the line of scrimmage, if he even gets that far.
McFadden, on the other hand, will always be McFadden. He doesn't need validation. All he needs is the ball.