More than a few sportswriters couldn't resist marital analogies during the 49ers' recent pursuit of Peyton Manning. And, hey -- it works. The team's for-better-or-for-worse union with Alex Smith finally experiences some of the "for better," vows are renewed -- and cue an aging but hormonally active bombshell (Manning).
It warrants mentioning that Smith just completed his seventh season with San Francisco -- meaning the team experienced the Seven-Year Itch. Wow, perfect! This is the only feasible way to compare Peyton Manning to Marilyn Monroe. (On a lesser note, you can liken the 49ers to Tom Ewell and Smith to Evelyn Keyes).
When you chase two women, the frequent result is ending up with no women. The Niners have patched things with Smith, the living embodiment of adequacy. There are worse things -- and worse things than ending up with nothing. You could land Tim Tebow.
Tebow's friend Jesus has done the 49ers a favor, however, ensuring the marginally talented quarterback and future conservative politician will suit up far, far from here in New York.
There is an upside here for the anointed one. He'll probably get to meet Jeremy Lin. He'll likely ingratiate himself with teammates who have definitively soured on current New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez. He has a legitimate shot to supplant Sanchez, and there will be calls for him to do so at the slightest misstep from the well-paid starter. And New York has more 24-hour churches to go along with 24-hour restaurants and bingo parlors than Denver or San Francisco. If Tebow can duplicate his success in New York City, he will sell more jerseys than God -- and, considering their close relationship, they can likely work out an agreeable profit-sharing deal.
Of course, there's the converse to all of that. Not everyone can thrive in the big city. But one need not necessarily be supremely talented to be a beloved -- and successful -- New York athlete.
Take Joe Namath. The image of Broadway Joe jogging into the locker room after Super Bowl III, pointer finger extended, ensured his place in the city's pantheon. But take a look at Namath's statistics. Far from being great -- they're not even really good.
Namath had a career losing record. He tossed more picks than touchdowns. He barely completed half of his passes. Yes, it was a different time and the stats do not entirely translate. And, yes, Namath's marks are still in many ways superior to Tebow's stat sheet. But the point is this: There is no surefire equation for success -- and success will go a lot further than numbers or the talent required to produce them.
Tebow will not wear fur coats on the sidelines, soap up with 1970s dreamgirls, or sport the greatest of all mustaches. But his peculiar cultural cache will bring in millions of fans, and success will ensnare even those put off by his primordial brand of overt religiosity.
But that's an issue for those on the other side of the country. The 49ers have retained Alex Smith -- which probably doesn't make anyone feel great, but we should all feel good. That's the Alex Smith experience.
There are worse feelings to have. If Tebow was here, we'd have Smith withdrawal.
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