Take a deep breath. Hold it in. Breath out again.
Now close your eyes. Drink in the calm, the serenity. Imagine birds singing, squirrels frolicking, puffy white clouds drifting by on blue sky...wait a second. Now wake up.
There's the neighbor's dog, doing his thing on your lawn. The landlord phoned, saying he can't fix the air conditioning until next week and today your boss put up the new schedule. You're on graveyard now with that guy who doesn't believe in hygiene or teamwork. Terrific.
Okay, so your life's no bed of roses. But wherever you live, whatever smidgen of sanity you enjoy today, savor it, bottle it up and hide it under your bed because before you know it, Tebowmania II is going to hit the fan. And when it does, it's going to be everywhere.
It's building offshore but when Hurricane Tebow makes landfall later this summer, his image will be splattered all over the consumer landscape like a Jackson Pollock painting, courtesy of Creative Artists Agency.
The ionosphere will be so saturated with Tim-ness it wouldn't be crazy for ESPN to craft a separate channel to accommodate the mass of minutia generated by Mr. Sunshine's New York City experience. Call-letters: ESPNTT; permanent host: Skip Bayless and the occasional antagonist: Stephen 'Don't forget the A.' Smith.
Tebow's narrative is just one puzzler that looms large over NFL America this summer.
There are, of course, some givens for NFL 2012:
The Patriots and Packers will again toy with the rest of the league. Brady and Rodgers will continue to throw for record numbers. Big Ben Roehtlisberger would be included in that bunch but with the beating he takes every year in Pittsburgh it's a minor miracle if he makes it to the playoffs in one piece.
When fans realize draft dandies Andrew Luck & Robert Griffin III can't walk on water, both will be given sanctuary by the fact Colts, and to a lesser degree Redskins, are major reclamation-projects.
Half-measures get you the Chicago Bears. After landing prize catch Jay Cutler they got stingy. They have talent at their key positions with Cutler, Matt Forte, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Devin Hester but Chicago's still no match for the Packers. Their collapse against Denver in 2011 was low point. Soldier Field fans deserve better, but instead they settle for 9-7.
Here then are the biggest brain-teasers to ponder on the porch-swing before NFL 2012 lifts-off this September:
1) What flavor of quarterbacking will Cam Newton and Carolina select?
2) How will the Saints tumultuous off-season play on their 2012 performance?
3) How much life is left in Peyton Manning's multi-million-dollar arm?
4) Was the NFC in 2011 that bad or were Jim Harbaugh's 49ers that good?
5) What does Rex Ryan have up his sleeve on the Tim Tebow experiment?
Flash In The Cam
No first-year quarterback has ever made as big a splash as Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton did in 2011. His unexpectedly advanced passing skills were matched only by his record-setting mobility (14 rush touchdowns). Whether he chooses to develop into a great pocket-passer or follow the run-rabbit-run routine of Vick and Tebow may be the most intriguing storyline of 2012.
"The truth will set you free." It's a Bible verse. It's about as popular today as 'Love thy neighbor.' It appears as if Roger Goodell, James Harrison, Jon Vilma, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have hunkered down into a mental-bunker of denial, opting for the 'us-against-the-world' tact in dealing with exposure of their well-documented bounty program.
Wing and a Prayer
Not a gambler per se but John Elway must have a soft-spot for QBs headed to Canton. The rumor mill aside, Manning and his handlers in Denver (and Indy) have kept news about his suspect wing & neck under wraps. Regardless of Broncos pedestrian pool-of-talent in the receiver-corps, Manning elevates everyone around him and, if healthy, takes them back to the promised land.
Real Deal 49ers?
The team Belichick didn't want to face in SB46. Careful what you wish. Jim Harbaugh is the off-kilter coach who's fast becoming the next Jerry Glanville that wins games and enemies. Harbaugh brought defense back to the NFL and it's a good thing, given how he didn't know a lick about offense. Rex Ryan was suppose to be this guy.
Answering the Tebow question isn't paramount in NFL 2012 but it may feel that way, given the hullabaloo it generates. In rare circumstance, duel quarterback system can work wonders (Waterfield / Van Brocklin). This isn't a duel quarterback system though. Ryan's been around the game a long time, won a ring in 2000 with the Ravens and shouldn't be so silly as to turn his quarterback position into a game of musical chairs. Jets' brass know they already have a talented, successful albeit, sometimes erratic, still maturing signal-caller in Mark Sanchez.
Tebow's not in New York City to upset the apple cart. He was brought in to do what he does best: motivate. It's his calling and he's good at it. Tebow's primary mission is to light a fire under Sanchez.
And keep in mind, Sanchez will not put up the big numbers, week-in, week-out like marquee-quarterbacks Brees, Rodgers and Brady. He's a skilled manager, like titlists Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson. But if Ryan & Tony Sporano can't jump-start the Jets run game and shore up the defense, it won't matter who's under center.
While this all weighs on Mark's mind, Jets would wise to return Tebow to his original high school position at tight end. God knows he likes the contact, has the speed, the hands and a nose for the end-zone. If Hall-of-Famer and Heisman-winning Notre Dame quarterback Paul Hornung can embrace the theory of evolution so too can Ryan and Tebow.