ESPN’s Hoge offers mea culpa on Tim Tebow

By Adam Silverstein
December 12, 2011

ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge, who sounded off on Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow on Twitter in August, writing that “it’s embarrassing to think the Broncos could win with Tebow,” began to change his tune about the second-year signal caller in an interview Monday with ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning.

Though Hoge once believed that “college credentials do not transfer to NFL, rah-rah speeches do not work” and that someone like Tebow “must possess a skill set to play [and win],” he is beginning to rescind some of those comments.

“My analyst eyes have been clouded by something that’s more important in sports than trophies and Super Bowls,” Hoge said at the beginning of a two-minute exaltation (audio). “I wrote a book last year called “Find a Way,” and those words have always inspired me to help me live the dream and fight to live. The living part of the dream was playing in the NFL; the fighting part was to beat cancer when I was diagnosed with cancer.

“As I watch what Tim Tebow – and actually the Denver Broncos – are doing, I’m not saying they’re going to win a Super Bowl, but the lessons that they are showing what sports is about. Regardless of your skill set – and I’ve been obviously hard on Tim Tebow, very critical of him as a quarterback and his skill set. Those eyes have clouded probably something that’s more important in sports than a standard skill set but how you maximize that skill set. What you do with what you’ve been given and how you work at it, how you harness it, how you build it.

[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]“Once guys get in the NFL, you can’t teach them anything anymore. They know everything. To watch a guy that has worked as diligently, a coaching staff that has molded an offense around what they do well, it’s a great life lesson. If they don’t win a Super Bowl, does that mean they’re not champions or they’re not winners? Absolutely not. In fact, I think that’s one of the wrong things in sports – if you don’t play in a Super Bowl or win a Super Bowl, you weren’t a champion or you weren’t a winner. There are so many people who never play there that are winners and are champions.

“And I’ve been wrong on a lot of levels with him. The opportunity now is to shed light on what an amazing story on how he has worked, persevered, changed, his diligence. All of those [are] things that you try to teach young people, that you want sports to really be about. What makes sports great is there are life lessons to be taught there.

“You have a certain skill set. Will you work hard on that skill set and will you give it all you have? You can look in the mirror [and say], ‘I gave it all I had, and I don’t have anything to be ashamed about or embarrassed by.’ That to me is what I see in the Denver Broncos and in Tim Tebow. I’ve been wrong on a lot of levels, and I’ve become now a huge fan in watching not only the Broncos play but Tim Tebow play.”

Hoge’s rants on Tebow did not conclude with his August tweets as he continued to dismiss the player’s success on numerous occasions via the network’s various media outlets. However, like so many others who once doubted Tebow’s ability to win, it appears as if Hoge is finally willing to let the results speak for themselves.[/EXPAND]


  1. Bob Beatty says:

    After watching Hoge once again vilify lampoon Tebow yesterday morning before the games with backhanded compliment after backhanded compliment that even got Mike Ditka riled up, I came to the opinion that there is nothing Tebow could do that would make Hoge go back on his gleeful remarks about Tebow’s lack of skill.

    I’ve come to nothing but disgust whenever he spews his doublespeak and to be honest, this is too little, too late for me.

    ESPN has really become a mockery of itself IMO with too many talking heads blathering about just to fill time. Yes, Tebow’s easy to pick on b/c he’s so unconventional, but damnit #allhedoesiswin and that’s enough for me.

    GO GATORS (& God Bless)

  2. SaraGator says:

    Hoge, who??? Seriously… Hoge doesn’t deserve this much attention.

  3. SC Gator says:

    Hey Merril…… ‘ppreciate that

  4. Zurbo says:

    Go find another quadruple Windsor knot Merrill

  5. Joe says:

    I can’t say I have ever taken as much satisfaction in being right as I have watching TT. I’m almost in disbelief at how the kid has matched and exceeded my once considered “unfathomable” expectations of him. It just goes to show that some metrics just can’t be measured.

    I wonder if these analysts are starting to finally realize, you can’t bet against the drive, will and work ethic of Tim Tebow.

  6. npgator says:

    Hoge has become more famous for bad mouthing Tim Tebow than for anything he has ever done on the field in fact – Tebow has done more in his 8 games as a starter than Hoge did in his entire carreer. For some of you younger readers here, Hoge actually played and had a non- descript carreer.

  7. Daniel M. says:

    On deck……McShay.

  8. Bobg says:

    I would really like to be able to compliment Hoge on manning up and admitting his error. However, the truth is that he had to change his tune, however grudgingly, to stop the bleeding.

  9. Gator John says:

    and in the hole….Chalres Barkley

  10. Drew says:

    F that guy. I think that cancer ate the logical thinking part of his brain. He didn’t do squat while he was in the NFL, and I can’t fathom how his opinion of Tim could be called rational as far as analysts go. There is something personal there, and seriously doubt his while schpeel on ESPN radio was from the heart, most like from someone higher up on the food chain. I think everyone at ESPN finally got sick of listening to him and told him to make nice and shut the hell up, or take a walk.

  11. Matt says:

    Just a backhanded compliment at best. It was probably forced based in the fact that his ” critique ” was overboard and borderline personal.
    18-24 for 196 in under two minutes to lead his TEAM speaks for itself.
    I wonder if he had a number one receiver if would help ( feel the sarcasm! )
    Problem is half of those people butchering hi
    Aren’t even doing based entirely on his actual skill set but his personal beliefs. It’s obvious as they critique him. He was phenomenal at UF but as much as I want him to succeed the jury is out still. Seeing as how few games he’s actually started I like his chances.
    By the way John Elway you do support the Bronco TEAM, right?

  12. Joe says:

    Hey Hodge, The NFL is NOT about style points, it’s about W’s.

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