Here’s a topic that nobody talks about (#Sarcasm)… Tim Tebow!
OK, everyone’s talking about it. If you don’t have an opinion on Tim Tebow you’ve obviously been living under a rock. In case you’re a caveman, here’s the synopsis:
-Tim Tebow is an NFL quarterback for the Denver Broncos
-Tebow attended college at the University of Florida where he won 2 National Championships and 1 Heisman Trophy. He is one of the most decorated QBs in college football history.
-He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft, much higher than anticipated because he was labeled a poor passer with terrible mechanics.
-Tebow started the final 3 games of 2010 for Denver and went 1-2, reinforcing the concerns people had with him.
-The Denver Broncos began the 2011 season 1-4 with veteran QB Kyle Orton. Through intense fan and media pressure , the Broncos benched Orton in favor of the popular 2nd year QB.
-Since taking the reins, Tebow has gone 7-1, vaulting the Broncos to 1st place in the AFC West. Out of these 7 wins, 5 have been in come-from-behind fashion in the 4th quarter.
-Despite the victories week after week, Tebow’s stats are very pedestrian. So pedestrian, in fact, that Broncos’ President John Elway proclaimed that he wasn’t ready to make Tim Tebow their long-term quarterback.
-In every win this season, Tebow has invented numerous—and extremely unorthodox—ways to win a football game. Example 1) Completing 2 (that’s two, no typo) passes in the entire game and still winning by 10. Example 2) Coming back from 15-0 down in the final 5:00 after starting the game 4 of 14 passing. Example 3) Registering more rush attempts than pass attempts and beating the New York Jets on a last minute 95-yard drive. Example 4) Coming from 10-0 down in the final 2:00 and winning in overtime, getting a 59-yard field goal from Matt Prater in the process.
-Oh, and one final tidbit: Tim Tebow is a devout, born-again Christian. He is unfazed talking about his faith in God. Whether it be in a pre-game speech, a post-game interview, or a press conference, Tebow is proclaiming his firm beliefs. It’s impossible for football fans to not try and equate his faith with his success, largely due to the bizarre, unheard of, and downright divine ways that Denver has been winning football games. Because of Tebow’s polarizing personality, he has incurred a host of angry commentaries and cutting barbs about his outspoken religious beliefs. The nation is divided about whether they love or hate Tebow—there’s a very small middle-ground.
So, there you have it. What is the sum of all these parts? Is Tebow a fraud quarterback who’s been the recipient of dumb luck? Is Denver simply a really good football team and Tebow is making their games closer than they should be? Or is the success of Tim Tebow thanks to something more than X’s and O’s? Could it be manifest destiny?
Let’s look at TT from a football standpoint. He’s 6′ 3″, 235; a massive quarterback who can bench over 450 pounds. He’s a quarterback in a fullback’s body. He’s 27th in yard per attempt, last in completion percentage, and last in passing yards per game (over 200 yards worse than leader Drew Brees). However, he’s the 3rd best rushing QB behind Cam Newton and Michael Vick. In the 4th quarter his completion percentage jumps 13%, his QB rating jumps 28 points, his rushing success skyrockets, and his touchdown passes double. He’s the ultimate clutch quarterback in crunch time… and the most cringe-inducing, frustrating, bipolar, McNabb-ian, “I-can’t-believe-this-is-our-quarterback!” quarterback in quarters 1 through 3.
Tim Tebow is no poser. His Christan devotion is 100% ‘walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk’ authentic. He was homeschooled as a kid in a Christian home. He’d go on mission trips during spring break in college (Keep in mind this kid went to Florida. Ya know, the same Florida with Daytona and Miami Beach). He put Bible verses on his eye-black in college (prompting the NCAA to ban messages in eye-black). He’s the personification of a new word: “tebowing” (verb—to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different). It’s no joke, there’s something special about Tim Tebow.
To the aforementioned caveman living under a rock, Tim Tebow sounds like a pretty great guy. Not only does he live out his faith, but he’s respectful, engaging, and totally unaffected by the media circus that surrounds him. Why do people hate this guy? Has he wronged us? Has he told us we’re not living righteously enough? Is it his faith or his football that irks people?
I’ll admit, it IS possible to hate a quarterback for football reasons. Exhibit A: Jay Cutler. This man won more dumb football games because of his defense and Devin Hester even though he’d throw 3 INTs and pout like a disciplined 4-year old after every one of them. It’s safe to say he’s my least favorite quarterback in the National Football League. Tebow wins cheaper games than Cutler ever did, but he gains some grace by not being a total (insert whatever word you want here).
But I don’t think this is why people have disdain for Tim Tebow. I think it’s deeper than that.
Let’s look at ourselves in the mirror for a second. Most of us (and by “most” I mean “all”) are not perfect. We’ve got flaws and imperfections. We have checkered pasts that follow us around. But what makes it OK is that we are surrounded by people undergoing the same crap that we are. We look at our neighbor who just got a DUI, or our buddy who’s filing for divorce, or our uncle with a gambling problem, and relative to them, we’re suddenly not doing so badly.
But then you look at Tim Tebow. No black marks against him. No negative testimonies. No dirty laundry. If Google search was the method by which our sins are counted, Tim Tebow’s record would be stainless … and for some reason this bugs people. We want him to fail so he’s more like us; more susceptible, more vulnerable, more… human. People who disagree with his faith want him to falter in football because they think his words will no longer hold any merit if his win/loss record plummets. They despise the fact that Tebow’s faith maybe, just maybe, is impacting his athletic endeavors.
So now that begs the question, does God care about football? I’m in no position to answer that question, but I think if Tim Tebow beats New England today, the answer to that query is closer to “yes” than it is to “no”. Regardless of God’s interest in the NFL, I love this Tim Tebow story. Never has the nation been so captivated by an athlete. This catchy ESPN Tebow mash-up already has over 1 million views on Youtube. Panelists are screaming at each other about Tebow on live TV. I’m more excited for Tebow’s game than I am about the Vikings! We simply can’t get our fill of this guy! Why? Because it’s like watching magic happen, only it might be something more than magic. Tebow has intertwined faith and football and made it work. Week after week he defies the odds and silences the critics in unscriptable and improbable fashion. It’s refreshing to see a man stand up and be vocal for what he believes in—even if it’s unpopular—and get rewarded for it.
I’m on the bandwagon. Are you?