It's been a rough few months for one Timothy Tebow. Despite his excitement over being traded to the Jets during the offseason last year, he's been relegated to punt protect and gimmicky specialist roles (some of them working out with predictably hilarious results), been passed on the quarterback depth chart by undrafted third stringer Greg McElroy, and then painted as an ingrate when media reports surfaced about his dissatisfaction over playing time.
The good news is that Tebow is still young, there's still time and if he gets traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars, he can start at quarterback in that city (his hometown) and go 4-12 for the rest of his career with no fear of reprisal.
But in the meantime, Tim Tebow needs friends to pick him up, and it looks like he's found a new one in ESPN's Tom Rinaldi.
For those of you who don't know Tom Rinaldi, let's do the "Troy McClure" introduction for him...
"Hi! I'm Tom Rinaldi! You may remember me from such ESPN Outside The Lines features as 'Dylan's Gift' and 'Sportsmanship in High School Basketball'!!"
Sportsmanship in High School Basketball
Basically, you know when ESPN does a flowery, often tear inducing, feature on a "sick child who is a big Notre Dame fan" or on the "reformed crackhead basketball player with the heart of gold"? That's Rinaldi. You could take something as raunchy as The Hangover and just stick Rinaldi's voice and some somber piano rifts underneath it, and it would magically (and tragically) morph into a combination of John Coffey getting executed in The Green Mile and the last fifteen minutes of Titanic.
So back to Tebow and Rinaldi. Tebow was apparently one of the honorary Florida captains for the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night, which meant that he (a) had really good seats, and (b) stood next to Rinaldi for at least part of the time. Here is the footage of the two of them sharing a tender moment, perhaps discussing a couple psalms or tithing or Rex Ryan being an asshole or something...
(Hat tip, by the way, to whichever anonymous web dweller set this scene to "Endless Love." God bless the internet.)
As arm candy goes, this is not one of Tebow's finer efforts. Does Rinaldi possess a certain charm, what with his prep school looks and silly gaps between his incisors and side teeth? Yes, yes he does. But we are talking about The Tebow, a man who's walked the red carpet or been deluged by paparazzi with the likes of Lindsay Vonn, Kate Upton, and Kate Upton in tandem with Chrissy Teigen.
My favorite part of the video is Rinaldi's
clearly, CLEARLY phony belly laugh at whatever Tebow is saying. Thanks to ESPN, we've all heard roughly 100,000 words come out of Tim Tebow's mouth over the last two years. Is there one time that you can remember where you thought to yourself "Holy shit, Tim Tebow is HILARIOUS!!"? Of course not, but Rinaldi is doubled over in laughter, which only makes this whole scene that much more uncomfortable because it's the exact same laugh me or one of my buddies would use if we were hitting on a good looking chick and she were trying to be funny.
In short, the belly laugh puts Rinaldi's wanting to bed Tebow on the board as a possibility. It's still a heavy underdog, but it cannot be ignored as a long shot option.
In the end, maybe Rinaldi is slowly realizing what Thom Brenneman realized four years ago when Tebow and the Gators met Oklahoma for the national championship -- "If you're fortunate enough to spend five minutes or twenty minutes with Tim Tebow, YOUR life is better for it."
Somewhere, an insanely jealous Brenneman is slowly jabbing holes in a Rinaldi voodoo doll.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.