Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill sure gets a lot of attention for a guy who might be the third-string QB on Miami's roster next month. And while there are a handful of reasons why Tannehill's face and name can be seen practically everywhere in the football media universe right now--some reasons good (he's the first first-round quarterback selected by the Dolphins since you-know-who, and his ceiling is somewhere between the Taj Mahal and an area only a lunar module can reach), and some reasons very bad (he's also the de facto boom-or-bust prospect this season, and he was a freaking receiver at this time two years ago)--it's clear that most of us, regardless of pro- or anti-Tannehill stance, are missing the real point with this guy.
Yes, Ryan Tannehill is a quarterback-turned-receiver-turned-quarterback who managed to claw his way into the top 10 of last April's NFL Draft. More important, however, is the fact that Tannehill is the official face of the Stephen Ross/Jeff Ireland/Joe Philbin hydra in Miami--the quarterback whom Ireland supposedly held out for the whole time (and whether or not you actually believe that talk is essentially irrelevant, because the Dolphins weren't bad enough to get Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, and they weren't good enough to take a chance on selecting Tannehill six or seven picks back from their original No. 8 slot).
Regardless of whether he's starting games or holding a clipboard this season, Ryan Tannehill represents the future in Miami. Is the future bright? Not quite, but it's a hell of a lot nicer than when the butt-chinned robot was under center.
And that brings us to the latest stop for the Tannehill media train extravaganza: ESPN the Magazine, who was kind enough to put down the stories about steroids in baseball, Justin Timberlake's love of crappy Memphis sports teams, and whether or not Matt Kemp is better than Willie Mays (spoiler alert: he's not) just long enough to chat with Tannehill. Look, if you want to be dramatic about what Tannehill means to his new team, he is basically Miami's Luke Skywalker--the last hope for Obi-Wan Kenobi (Mike Sherman), C3PO (Philbin), R2D2 (Ireland) and the Rebel Alliance (the Dolphins franchise). Ridiculous, I know, but not that far off, either. And since the Dolphins have practically everything riding on Tannehill's brain and right arm, you'd think ESPN could come up with questions better than, "How are you handling (wife) Lauren's fame?" and "What's it like to have Ochocinco in the locker room?" How about questions about how Tannehill is handling the "overdrafted" tag? Is he developing a close relationship with his new head coach? Is it weird that his current offensive coordinator is also the guy who made him switch to receiver at A&M? Does he feel safe playing behind stud linemen like Jake Long and Mike Pouncey? How does he feel about Jonathan Martin? I've got pages of this stuff, guys. Pages.
This isn't all to say the interview isn't worth reading--it's very much worth it. But if ESPN the Magazine (a publication I actually enjoy, but shhh ...) is going to sit down with a quarterback who, at this point, is well on his way to appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone, at least ask him some questions he hasn't repeatedly heard ad nauseum during the last 10 weeks or so.
Oh, who am I kidding? I find ESPN to be witty and informative. And honestly, I am just happy they're actually paying attention to the Dolphins these days.
You can read the Tannehill interview here.