I had a friend in high school. At least one friend. We’ll call him Mitch, because every high school has a Mitch.

He was the popular guy. The ladies loved Mitch, dudes wanted to hang out with him, and I’m pretty sure he inhaled his own flatulence regularly. Yes, every high school definitely has a Mitch.

In hindsight, what was puzzling about Mitch–and every other Mitch in the educational teenage wastelands worldwide–is a very simple question…why? Why was he the popular guy? He was a pretty regular and nice enough guy. He was good at sports, but not exceptional. He had confidence and managed to be associated with all the others who populated the most popular circle of beautiful people. But overall, he was just a regular dude, yet there was a magnetizing quality about him that I assume faded once he left the high school jungle, as it does for most Mitchs.

There are many elements to explain why Tim Tebow is that same magnetizing and polarizing figure in the NFL, and why he’s the league’s Mitch. It starts with the obvious (his religious beliefs), and moves to the recent (his move to the media mecca of New York). They explain why we watch Tebow relentlessly, and why we find him interesting as a person. However, they fail to explain why we find him interesting as a football player, and why two interceptions yesterday in the first Jets practice with media access (a practice in May) meant anything…anything at all.

If you were brave enough to do a Twitter search of Tebow’s name yesterday afternoon, you would have been subjected to people trying desperately to subtract some kind of meaning from the two picks he threw during his first three pass attempts yesterday. In 7-on-7 drills. In May.

You also would have seen Jets beat reporters gleefully live tweeting every Tebow throw and muscle twitch in practice. This was fully expected, yet still incredibly intolerable, and it was a vivid indication of the kind of annoyance we’ll endure throughout the season. We were also told that Tebow practiced with the special teams as a punt protector, and this was kind of a really big deal, despite the fact that it was announced and has been anticipated for weeks.

Tebow is an average passer who happens to run very well, and he can therefore improvise and make plays with his legs. That’s what he is, and that’s what he’s always been. He’s still quite young and raw, so his passing skills may improve in the future as he develops. That’s why coaches are paid quite handsomely.

But they weren’t going to change in May during his first run through a new offense with a new team and new receivers and new coaches. May is the time to learn and make mistakes, just ask Timmy

“It’s seven-on-seven, and those plays were the first times I ran them, so I’ll learn from it. It won’t bother me again.”

Tebow understands the learning process, yet so many who desperately want to hate him and need fuel for their passionate hatred don’t, and they don’t care to either.

And now you want to know the rest of the story…

  • No one understands a slow part of the NFL calendar like the very un-humble scribes who claw for new content and ideas daily in May. So I get it…it is indeed May, and we need something to talk about. But similar to the absurdity of Tebow/Sanchez, can we please calm down on the obsession over QBs in Seattle wearing shorts when it isn’t even officially summer yet. Any QB battle anywhere won’t be settled until at least the middle of August. We’re all aware of this, right? [Seattle Times]
  • The labor agreement between the NFL and its officials has expired, and now the two parties are heading to mediation. Ed Hoculi can surely explain that process concisely. [Mark Maske]
  • Jim Brown still likes to hear Jim Brown talk, and Jim Brown doesn’t think that Trent Richardson is outstanding. [Tony Grossi]
  • DeMaurice Smith is still waiting for bountygate evidence. We all are, De, we all are. [PFT]
  • We’re going to assume/hope/pray this is a joke by Stevie Johnson, who’s no stranger to comedy (especially through well-timed fake baby dropping). If it isn’t…damn. [Stevie Johnson's poolside twitpic]
  • Courtney Upshaw has been pegged as the man who will replace Terrell Suggs’ production, which is a logical conclusion after he was an early round pick last month. But Pernell McPhee is an underrated pass rusher who could be ready to contribute more in his second year. [Pro Football Focus]
  • Tom Coughlin was moved to tears while being honored by the military last night. [New York Post]
  • Kellen Winslow understands the state of the American economy, and knows that it’s nice to still have meaningful employment. [Doug Farrar]
  • When Tebow entered the Jets locker room yesterday after practice, he was teased with chants of “Lolo!” [Shutdown Corner]
  • For your daily does of cute, Brian Orakpo was chillin’ with his son and sharing a bowl of delicious apple sauce last night. [Orakpo on Twitter]
  • The other day I was trying to eat a hot dog while walking. This was easy, since eating food while performing other tasks is something I take great personal pride in. But then I was distracted by a duck, because a duck has no place flying around the streets of downtown Toronto. I rolled my ankle on the curb and it’s still sore. Behind the scenes stories like this should remind you that bloggers are almost exactly like football players, because Sam Bradford is also still dealing with a sore ankle after his severe sprain last year. [SI]