Lin has had more face time on TV and in print over the last few days than Pres. Obama. And in my opinion, he is a great story. But everyone has missed the real significance of the story.
Most analysts are comparing Lin to Tim Tebow. While the public love for the two players is similar that is the end of the comparison. Tebow was the most celebrated college player since Archie Griffin won his second Heisman trophy. Tebow was a first round draft choice. Lin had been passed around the NBA like a bowl of Fritos at a Super Bowl party.
I compare the Lin story to that of Ram QB Kurt Warner. Kurt was stocking grocery store shelves before getting a call from the team. In 1999 he was put on the veteran expansion draft list for the Browns to take when they came back into the league.
People forget Warner had been the MVP of the NFL Europe league. He had also been very successful in the indoor football league as well. Despite my screaming at the TV during the broadcast of the Browns stocking draft, they passed on Warner. As we all know he went on to lead the Rams to a win in the Super Bowl that year. But he only got his chance when the starter went down in the preseason. The bottom line for Warner and Lin was they came from nowhere (Sorry Harvard grads) to become a fan favorite.
Warner has proven his Hall of Fame credentials by taking the Rams to two Super Bowls and the lowly Arizona Cardinals to one. So far Lin is just a great story for the past week. Only time will tell if Lin reaches the rarefied air of a Warner. But that is not the point either.
The real point that everyone is missing is that there is a lot of potential talent in both the NFL and the NBA that goes unrecognized and never comes to fruition. If the starter did not go down, Warner would likely have been a backup at most.
Only the injuries have allowed Lin to get playing time. Given the lack of practice time the lockout shortened season has allowed, Lin’s talent might never have been recognized. Only time will tell how good he can become.
The question is how many potential stars has your favorite team missed because they never got a chance to show what they could do? I would guess a lot. While he hate to see anyone hurt, when a team finds someone like Warner or Lin, it makes the injury a lot less painful for the team if not for the former starter.
That is what I think. Tell us what you think.
If you want a different look at Cleveland Sports, join me on the Internet radio version of News, Notes and Rumors M-Th at 6 PM EST on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.
Follow me @NNRonDSN
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.
- Components of the Best Super Bowl Party (sportingstores.net)
- Pro Bowl Roster 2012 (peytonmanning.sportingstores.net)