I suppose it is kind of obvious that for most sports fans teams and/or individual players fall into three categories.
We have our favorites. I have been a lifelong supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and West Virginia Mountaineers. I graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, WV and so I cheer on my alma mater’s Thundering Herd. I like Nascar and root for Tony Stewart.
Then we have those teams or players we love to hate. Oftentimes it is a rival of our favorites. For example, I naturally loathe the Baltimore Ravens and Pitt Panthers. Other times our disdain is due to a variety of factors that might not really make any logical sense to anyone but ourselves. I detest the New York Yankees, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, New England Patriots, and Jeff Gordon even though they’ve never done anything to me personally.
And then there is the third category, which can best be described as “Who cares??”. The Iowa Hawkeyes are playing the Indiana Hoosiers this weekend?? I couldn’t possibly care less who wins or loses. Monday Night Football is featuring a matchup of the Chicago Bears vs. the San Francisco 49ers?? I’ll watch, but I really don’t care about the outcome except for how my fantasy teams are affected. Kevin Harvick won the race?? That’s nice for him, but it neither makes me happy nor upset.
However, we now have in our midst an individual that somehow doesn’t fit into any of these categories. He’s the proverbial enigma wrapped in a conundrum hidden inside a paradox. He’s a football player that is difficult to dislike because of his magnetic personality but just as impossible to embrace because of his apparent lack of skill. He’s someone that people want to defend against the haters because of the suspicious nature of the hatred, but a player that it is almost illogical to shield from criticism because, quite simply, the numbers don’t lie.
Tim Tebow was a great college football player. So great in fact that he won the 2007 Heisman Trophy and lead his Florida Gators to two national championships. But there have been tons of fantastic college football players…especially quarterbacks…that have gone on to accomplish nothing at the professional level. Troy Smith, Matt Leinart, Jason White, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke, Danny Wuerffel, Gino Torretta, Ty Detmer, Andre Ware…all were QBs who were at the top of the heap in college and completely flamed out in the NFL. And so most thought it would be for Tebow. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way so far, even if logic says it should.
Tebow was inexplicably drafted in the 1st Round of the 2010 NFL Draft and a year & a half later has somehow become the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. The reason this story is so odd is because Tim Tebow is a starting NFL quarterback whose passing skills are so bad that he can rarely hit the broadside of a barn from 20 yards away. He could throw a pass from a boat in the middle of the ocean and somehow not hit water 80% of the time. Yet somehow, for a variety of reasons that make no sense and at the same time make all the sense in the world, Tebow is not only living the dream, he is winning.
Tebow does not fit into any of the categories previously mentioned, atleast for most people. Few people outside Colorado have given a damn about the Broncos since the retirement of John Elway over a decade ago, so for the vast majority of folks Tebow should fit into the “Who cares?” classification. But for some reason everyone does seem to care…one way or another.
Ever since his college days Tim Tebow has been a kind of larger than life folk hero, a guy filled with intangibles that, despite all evidence that should dictate a different result, just wins. On the flip side, his lack of apparent pro-level skill and the absolute overkill of hype heaped upon him by a salivating sports media has sparked an irrational hatred by a large portion of the populace. It is seemingly impossible to be ambivalent about Tebow…one either loves him or hates him, even though no one can really understand why anyone would actually do either.
A major factor in The Tebow Riddle is his Christian faith. In a world where hating on Jesus is as cool for some as gangsta rap, reality television, and little ribbons on your lapel Tim Tebow wears his faith on his sleeve and is an unapologetic Jesus lover. Therefore it stands to reason that a lot of people want to see him fail miserably no matter what, while fellow believers are more than willing to overlook his appalling lack of discernible ability. However, as a Christian myself I am not so sure the issue has as much to do with the constantly swirling controversy as much as some want to think. The problem is, without the easy scapegoat of faith in a humanistic world there is no rational explanation left.
So at the end of the day I am left with only my own opinions and neither a way or a desire to explain the motivations of others. I think that Tim Tebow was a fantastic college player that has no business being a starting quarterback on an NFL team. I think he can be a good change of pace option that can run the ball in for a touchdown from deep inside the red zone. That is his niche and there’s nothing wrong with that. I believe that he has reaped the benefits of being on a very bad team with low expectations. I think there are a lot of people that want to see him succeed because of his faith and as many that want him to fail because of it, but that the vast majority of folks are looking at things thru the prism of football. Those individuals either see a quarterback with frustratingly horrendous mechanics that in no way resemble what a professional QB should embody, or they see a unique, quirky, interesting change from the normal cookie cutter passers who might not have the proper throwing motion but possesses leadership abilities, toughness, and an infectious will to win. My most fervent desire is that someday soon Tim Tebow will slip into the same football oblivion that thousands of others have before him, because quite frankly no matter how much one wants to root for him because he seems like a genuinely good man it is almost impossible when talking heads like ESPN’s Skip Bayless relentlessly shove him down viewers’ throats. Idiots like Bayless have, in an effort to promote Tebow for whatever reason, unwittingly created a backlash against the poor guy. If the Broncos get to the playoffs or if Tim Tebow suddenly morphs into a Dan Marino/Peyton Manning clone then we might have something to talk about, but until then finding some inane reason to shoehorn Tebow into the conversation literally every single day is obnoxious and needs to stop. Plus I sincerely believe that he has a bigger mission to accomplish in life and all this football silliness is just delaying Tim Tebow from achieving his true destiny.
There…I’ve said my peace and expressed my opinion. There is no need for the topic of Tebow to grace these pages again until he actually does something noteworthy on a football field. And for that I am not holding my breath.
- Tim Tebow: Why the Unconventional QB Will Beat the New York Jets Tonight (bleacherreport.com)
- Tim Tebow: If Tebow Was African-American, Would He Be a Starting QB in the NFL? (bleacherreport.com)
- NFL Fact or Fiction: Tim Tebow Is Here to Stay (bleacherreport.com)
- Broncos paid a big price to draft Tim Tebow (denverpost.com)
- The Tebow Tebows Are Tebowing Up The Standings In The National Tebow League [Tim Tebow] (deadspin.com)
- Broncos’ Tim Tebow hot topic for New York media (denverpost.com)