OK, full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Tim Tebow, and becoming more so every day. So if you’re one of those people who still hates him as a player, even after all the games he’s won, please crawl back under your rock, because I’m about to insult you, and I don’t think you can handle it.
The fact is, the only reason to hate Tebow now is that you’re a Christophobe and you hate him simply because of what he believes.
I started out as a Tebow doubter myself. I saw his many technical flaws early in the season but knew that he had superlative leadership qualities that would help him succeed. So I wasn’t necessarily surprised when so many analysts and so-called “experts” questioned his abilities, especially when his passing production was sub par (and remains so, I must say).
But as the season wore on, and the wins kept coming, I was left to wonder why so many people still hated Tebow so much. Yes, HATED. Most vociferously and forcefully. With malice aforethought…:) Why? Because he was “unconventional”? Because he ran too much? Because his passes, at times, make wounded ducks look graceful? Well, maybe: up to a point.
But most writers and lovers of the game agree that the prime measuring stick for quarterbacks is their win/loss record, and the last time I checked Tim Tebow is 7-1 as a starter. That’s after taking over a desultory team of 1-4 losers whose season looked stillborn until number 15 came along. Yet still the criticism continues.
The question that needs to be asked, then, is why would anyone continue to heap abuse on what is by all accounts a very likeable young man whose main on-field attribute seems to be that he wins football games? Why, when plenty of unconventional players in the past have had poor performances for years and years before they were able to actually convert their talent into playoff berths? Yes, John Elway, your first year sucked, OK?
I’ve been watching football for 40 years now. I think I know a good player when I see one. But you don’t have to be a good subjective judge of character to like this young man. All you have to do is believe, and that isn’t easy, because what I’m seeing every week is pretty unbelievable…miraculous, even. No, I don’t think God cares who wins football games, but I know I’ve NEVER seen this many comeback wins in a row…last minute, come from behind, overtime victories that leave you on the edge of your seat and opposing teams wondering what happened to them.
What happened to them? They got Tebowed. And yes, Tebow is getting a whole lot of help, especially on defense, from his teammates, and a lot of people are giving a lot of credit to the rest of the Broncos cast. Acknowledged. But where were they during the first 5 games of they year? They were losing. I would argue that now they are playing up to and perhaps beyond their potential as individuals, and are rising to every occasion to win games because of one man: the quarterback.
So we have a guy who’s winning football games, and whose team is playing at a high level since he took over. We have a team that went from wondering how they’d rebuild for the next season to thinking about how far they’ll go in the playoffs. We have an unflappable quarterback who manages to engineer one game winning drive after another, and gives credit to everyone but himself for the victories.
If this were anyone else, he’d be celebrated as a hero. And to his many fans, he IS. But there’s a whole lot of people who don’t, who still even this late in the season are ready to pull out the tired old arguments about his technical abilities. But I don’t think that explains the level of invective and downright hatred that I hear about him from other team’s players, TV analysts, and fans of the sport. No, something much darker is at work here.
I was sitting in a bar last night watching Tebow do to Chicago what he’s done to 6 other teams this year when a man sat down next to me. The first thing he said to me was how “though I don’t go to church myself, I don’t have a problem with Tebow praying.” Well, I don’t believe that, because if you really don’t have a “problem” with it, why do you mention it at all?
I think the reason is self-evident: that many people are only OK with Christians as long as, well: they don’t ACT like Christians. Keep your religion hidden, and we’re OK with you. But please, quit with the praying, won’t you? And above everything else, DO NOT mention the name of-gasp-Jesus Christ on national TV! Otherwise, we’ll ridicule you in spite of your accomplishments, we’ll take every opportunity to try to sew discord among your teammates…we’ll even come up with a new verb to satirize your belief: “Tebowing”.
But you know what really pisses the Christophobes off? None of this bothers Tim Tebow. He gives credit to his opponents. He accepts the criticisms. He laughs at the cartoonish images that poke fun at him. And he humbly acknowledges that he needs to get better, and that there are things more important in life than football. If that is your problem with him, and for far too many of you, it is: maybe the biggest problem you’ve got with Tim Tebow has nothing to do with Tim Tebow. It has to do with what’s in your own heart, and the bad news for you is: it ain’t pretty. Now crawl back under your rock, and come out when the sun’s shining again, and you’re ready to admit you were wrong.