I wrote, you wrote

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
1:47
PM PT
TIM TEBOW
We've had about 2,000 comments about this article already -- and over 90,000 Facebook shares -- and 98 percent of them are positive. That's preposterous. You could opine that people not stick sharp things in the eyes of children and you'd get only 95 percent positive reaction. Naturally, we start with the negative ones.

Tebow is all about grandstanding to highlight political-religious issues. He combines lucking into a few wins with this "tourist community service" -- always in plain view of photographers and video cameras -- to push his concerns. The sad part is that so many people (whose number now includes you) have been fooled. There are hundreds of thousands of people doing real service, not photo ops, around the globe, helping people with real, long-term contributions rather than seeking to promote their "brand."
--John (Columbia, Mo.)

You're not just wrong, you're loud wrong. Tebow spends an hour with these kids and their families after the game in a private room off the Broncos Family Room. No photographers or media are allowed. He does the five minutes before the game on the field just to give the kids the thrill of it, but most of the time is private. Tebow constantly makes children's hospital visits and doesn't allow media in the rooms with him. I know because people write and tell me about it. You question his "long-term contributions"? The kid is the son of missionaries! He's been giving time to perfect strangers since he was a small boy in the Philippines. He's trying to build a hospital there now. I'm not a religious person, don't want to be saved, but how can you not be impressed by somebody this bent on helping others?

Those folks Tebow spends time with; I wonder if any of them are LGBT?
--Lester Ballard (Wheeling, W.Va.)

He doesn't ask.

Were any of those sick people non-Christians?
--Rex Hannigan (New York)

He doesn't ask.

Is Tim Tebow nice to anyone who ISN'T terminally sick? How about just regular, everyday schmucks? It's easy to feel sorry for people who about to die.
--mistercrispy (Denver)

Since you asked -- with such charm, I might add -- Tebow is unfailingly polite, kind and friendly to everybody I've seen him interact with, whether it's at a party or in a hallway. I take that back, he's startlingly polite, kind and friendly. Put it this way -- the guy is respectful with sportswriters! Believe me, brother, I was as skeptical as you, but there's not a gram of fake in this kid. I've looked everywhere.

As both a lifelong (62 great years worth) Chicago Bears fan and a confirmed atheist, I should despise Mr. Tebow. As clearly shown by your article, nothing could be further from the truth.
--Dave Grossfeld (Chicago)

Some of my children are curious to know: How does Tim Tebow pick which person gets to come to a game? My (special needs) son asked me, "Mama, does Tim Tebow know us?"
--Kristi Schache (Dunlap, Ill.)

Mostly, Tebow picks from among people suggested to him by W15H, his charity that runs the game trips. W15H is run by his foundation, which is timtebowfoundation.org. But sometimes, Tebow reads about kids he wants to host, like the kid who "Tebowed" during chemotherapy, and makes sure they get invited.

I am an agnostic. I don't know whether God exists, but, if so, I think that God would really like Tim Tebow. I do too.
--Gary Owen (Calgary, Alberta)

Great article on Tebow, but why couldn't you at least give a mention to Tim's belief in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior as being the motivation behind his actions?
--Steve Edmondson (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

I purposely didn't use the words "God," "Jesus" or "faith" in the column because I wanted people to see that this kid gives of himself tirelessly purely because he cares about others. Whenever you bring religion into it, some people immediately reject whatever comes next. Yes, most of the guests turn out to be Christian simply because a vast percentage of Tebow's most ardent fans are Christian and they write him. But from what I've seen, Tebow's generosity and selflessness to the sick and suffering have no religious borders.

TEBOW VS. BRADY
You forget...Tom has 9 seconds to throw. Tim has 2.
--pipo16 (Detroit)

You forget. It just seems that way.

Tom Brady is not a sex symbol for all, nor does Tim Tebow lack sex appeal. My girlfriends and I consider Tebow a far sexier man than Tom Brady because he is genuine, confident, and resonates sincerity. Sticking to one's beliefs has got far greater sex appeal than Brady could ever have for us.
--Jillian (Corvallis, Ore.)

I get that women find Tebow sexy, but to what end?

Are you really comparing Tim Tebow as a pro with Tom Brady? Seriously? That would be insane.
--Kelley Whitmire (Atlanta)

Yes, I was comparing them. You can compare a Humvee to a hummingbird if you want. Doesn't mean they're the same.

TEBOW AND FOX
Really? You think Broncos coach John Fox deserves credit for playing Tim Tebow? Seems like nothing could be further from the truth. He and John Elway only did so grudgingly in hopes he would fail so they could tell the Denver faithful, "See? He's no good. Now can we go and get us a 'real' NFL quarterback?"
--Brian McNulty (Dallas)

Must be wonderful to know everything. And from Dallas no less! Do you read the paper in the morning to see what they left out?

The only reason Fox played Tebow is because Kyle Orton was playing like such crap and they had to do it to keep fan interest. Strictly a PR move in my opinion. Now Tebow and that ridiculous defense are making Fox look like a genious. As a Raider fan living in Denver, this is brutal to watch.
--Adam Pope (Denver)

That's poetic -- a Raider fan misspelling "genius."

49ERS KICKER DAVID AKERS
Great piece on Akers. So often in sports we cheer and boo without considering the human sides of our heroes and villains. At the end of the day, we all have our dreams and demons, and the trifecta of a sick child, financial chaos and professional ambiguity would fell many, if not most. To follow that up with a record-setting achievement and high recognition among your peers is an inspiration and a half -- and, I can't stand the Niners.
--Jay Cooke (Alameda, Calif.)

When you said the fans booed Akers and sports radio blasted him, you forgot to mention that none of the fans knew about his daughter's condition. As soon as that news became public, there was no bashing of Akers.
--Andrew Mackenzie (Philadelphia)

You're right. I should've mentioned that.

You also fail to mention that he loved the city of Philadelphia enough to pay for a billboard, out of pocket, thanking the fans for their support throughout his career.
--Flare f'orDramatic (Philadelphia)

I try to keep all my columns under 900 words so people don't have to quit their jobs to read me. It's just sports, not the American Medical Journal. Not everything fits in 900 words. I never insinuated that Akers had any hard feelings towards the city or the fans, did I? So I think you're wrong. I didn't need to mention that.

Touching blog about David Akers.
--David F (Worcester, England)

No, no, no! Not a blog. It's a column. For some of us, there’s a big difference.

KOBE
C'mon! Kobe is averaging 6.0 assists per game {at time of writing} this year, which is good for 18th in the league, third best among shooting guards. Heck, that total is better than some starting point guards! To not bring up that part of the equation is shortsighted. Fact is, Kobe shoots that much, and still manages to be a better passer than most of the league.
--Andrew (San Francisco)

I agree. Somehow people got the idea that I think Kobe shoots too much. This is because Kobe does shoot too much. But he's Kobe and he'll never change so why mention it? It's like asking a cheetah to go vegan. He's always shot too much and he has five rings. He gets to shoot as much as he wants. He will still be shooting three years after he retires. This year, though, is beyond the pale. He's averaging six more shots per game than his career average. Then again, he's shooting better than he has since the 2001-2002 season. My question is: What happens when he cools off?

BENGALS
Any chance we can get an apology column for your single-handed dismantling of the city of Cincinnati, the Bengals, and their owner? [Ed note: Reilly predicted Bengals wouldn't win a game this season.] Now that Mike Brown has won executive of the year, lowered season ticket prices, won back (some) of his fan base, and re-energized the least successful franchise in professional sports? If not for Harbaugh in San Fran, Marvin Lewis would be coach of the year. If not for Cam Newton, Andy Dalton would be rookie of the year. And if not for Andy Dalton, AJ Green would be rookie of the year. Any chance you might apologize for being SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO wrong?
--Sam Dobrozsi (Philadelphia)

Did it on Cincinnati radio, but I'll do it here. Didn't count on the Red Rifle. Didn't count on Mike Brown finally making a good move. Didn't count on A.J. Green being the reincarnation of Art Monk. So, yes, I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRY!


UNFAIR NFL RULES
Why isn't there more questioning of the NFL's playoff seeding? Isn't it time the NFL ditch the "win division rule"? The Titans were 9-7 to Denver's 8-8, they scored more points, allowed less points, and beat them head-to-head. Why should Denver be a 4 seed? Just like last year, the team with the much better record has to go on the road. It just doesn't make sense. Pittsburgh lost the tiebreaker to the Ravens, and by doing so, they dropped from a 2 seed to a 5?
--Eric H (Joliet, Ill.)

I've railed against this rule on Twitter (@ReillyRick). Pittsburgh was 12-4 and had to go on the road to play 8-8 Denver. In doing so, the Steelers lost their fastest safety, Ryan Clark, who couldn't play at altitude or risk life-threatening illness. So what happens in overtime? Demaryus Thomas outruns the Steelers' Clark-less secondary 80 yards for a game-winning touchdown. Dumbest rule in the NFL.

GUARANTEES
I am sick of the "guarantee". Every year Rex Ryan or some other big mouth guarantees a "Super Bowl" or a victory, and then doesn't deliver. And then they either pout or say, "I have no regrets" and then "guarantee" again. From now on, it should cost them significant dollars, or dress up in a ballerina outfit, or work for free.
--Gary Groenewold (Villa Park, Ill.)

Genius! I'm behind you. Here would be my schedule of fines for reneging on a guarantee that ...

... you'll win a game: Duct-tape mouth for one day.
... you'll win a series: Wear opponent's jersey, mouthpiece and slippers for four days.
... you'll sweep a series: Sweep opposing coach/manager's driveway wearing page 6 from Victoria's Secret catalogue for a week.
... you'll win the World Series: Work as beer vendor at opponent's stadium, one month, unpaid, in SCUBA fins.
... you'll win a championship: Shave head, take vow of silence, move into Tibetan monestery for a month.
... you'll win a Super Bowl: Buy plane, get pilot license, and skywrite every day for one year: (Your Name) Is A Big Hairy Incontinent Liar!
... Jimmer Fredette will not start an NBA game his rookie year: Pay $5000.



JIMMER
Re: Your $5000 pay-up. I like people who keep their word. Now, I'll keep mine and start reading your column again.
--Thomas Bigham (Yorktown, Ind.)

Thanks Reilly. Jimmer started a PRESEASON game. It doesn't count. Our office bet was that he wouldn't start his "first" game. Because of your article my betting friends think that preseason games suddenly count. You're killing me Reilly.
--Matt Jensen (Brigham City, Utah)

Yeah, sorry about that. But he was going to start a regular-season game sooner or later and it turned out to be sooner -- the 10th game of the season (20 minutes, 4 points.) What's weird is he was SO much better in the preseason. Since the regular season began, he seems to be sleeping in a refrigerated truck. He's shooting only 34 percent from the floor, and 28 percent from 3-point range. He seems a little lost and timid. Maybe virginity and the NBA just don't mix?

Your column showed up in some spam, work was slow and so I thought I'd read it. You are an unmitigated class act. I have never heard of anyone in your profession with such a degree of honor ($5K??)...and relentless humor.
--Steve Brown

Spam? (Large sigh.)

ROSE BOWL DONOR FLOAT
Thanks for writing about this float in the Rose Bowl Parade. I am one of the lucky ones that actually received my new kidney from my junior high school girlfriend. Who knew that 33 years later she would wind up saving my life?
--Eric Leviton (New York)

Eight and a half years ago I received the gift of life from unknown hero. The kidney I received then allowed me to watch my son swim in high school and now allows me to be able to coach my daughter.
--Brett Swihart (Evansville, Ind.)

Thanks for the column. I'm a 2-time kidney recipient, now 72, who was given 6 months to live when I was 21. I am a lucky lucky guy.
--Bill Sharp (Long Beach, Calif.)

As a transplant recipient myself, I thank you many times over for the sensitivity you brought to our cause. If it were up to me you would be voted SOTY for the 12th time.
--Gary Foxen (Orange, Calif.)

It IS up to you. Go get a job in the business and cast a vote.

You are everything that is wrong with ESPN these days. If I wanted to read your "Feel Good" stories I would tune in to CNN. I want to read about sports, not the sensationalized, drama based articles that you and your network continue to publish.
--Don McGrew (Phoenix)

I know. I feel terrible about myself when I try to tell compelling stories that inspire people to help each other and help themselves. I suck. I'll go back to writing about pro athletes knocking up women by the half dozen and angrily rejecting $100 million offers. Btw, what's for breakfast? Boiled kittens?

RODGERS VS. FAVRE
Trying to compare Brett Farve with Aaron Rodgers is almost like comparing Babe Ruth with Lou Gehrig - except Rodgers isn't yet anywhere near Lou Gehrig.There is no question that Brett Farve is the Babe Ruth of professional football.
--Bob Patterson (Picayune, Miss.)

If he's the Babe Ruth of football, why can't you spell his last name?

FANDOM
I'm soon to be the father of a baby boy. I've always been a die-hard Cubs fan. However, I've relocated to central Florida. I'm not sure I want my future child to endure the life of "We'll get them next year" and the agonizing feeling when next year never comes. Should I raise him to be a Tampa Rays fan to save him from the pain I have felt, or continue the line of Cubs fans?
--Mat Steckman (Ocala, Fla.)

I'm sickened that you're even asking this question! You'd turn your back on your team just because you MOVED? When American soldiers fought at Normandy, you think they suddenly started liking soccer? What's wrong with you? Of course your kid should be a Cubs fan! There's no choosing! He's born into it! Just as you were! Fandom is not about switching teams just because you're going through a little 104-year championship drought. Have a vinegar and water and man up! You'd trade Tampa for the Cubs? Tampa fans only go to games in hopes of SEEING the Cubs! Tampa is a football town first and a Matlock town second! The Rays might not even BE in Tampa in five years! And when they're gone, it will be another TWO years before the papers notice! But the Cubs will always be in Wrigleyville! And Cubs fans will always have a community blanket of heartache and hope and passion-against-all-odds to warm themselves. It's what binds them together in a bittersweet, wholly inescapable concept called loyalty. Loyalty is what you sorely lack, sir. Tampa? Please. When your kid grows up, I'm going to recommend he seek adoption.



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