Liking Tim Tebow
I remember when Tim Tebow played for Urban Meyer at UF. As Tide fans, my family and I spent hours of quality time discussing the overratedness of the young quarterback. We speculated at how much of the hype was brought about by Coach Meyer’s public affection and admiration for him. Watching Tebow and the Gators throughout the season, we were sure that he was pretty much all Florida had offensively. Devoted Bama fans, we were also sure that Coach Nick Saban drew that same conclusion and would therefore shut Tebow down and win the 2009 SEC championship game. Which was exactly what happened. Tim Tebow had seemed to be the Florida offensive strategy. My family fairly scoffed at the site of him sobbing after the game. We had been right all along.
And then came Denver. I don’t follow pro football like I do SEC college football, so I only understand the basics, which I am interpreting loosely. Tebow was drafted by the Broncos, but did not make starting QB. After a 1-4 start to the season, though, Denver’s coach decided to give him a try. And they began winning. Even then, Bronco’s vice president and living legend in Denver, former QB John Elway said that Tebow wasn’t going anywhere in the position, that basically he wasn’t the fit the Broncos were looking for. In the meantime, Denver’s record went from 1-4 to 8-8, with a shot at the playoffs.
Taken together, it would seem like the Tide, my family, and I would be satisfied that Tebow had gotten what he deserved. But we aren’t; because that just paints part of the picture of Tim Tebow. I guess one of the reasons we scoffed at his hype and his coach’s regard for him was his religious expression. Rather, his public religious expression. He talked about Christ at press conferences; he told about his mission work with his family. And on the field, he did what is now referred to in reverence and derision–depending on who is doing the referring–as “tebowing,” kneeling down to pray after plays and games, etc. I have to be honest, I didn’t think too much of that when he was playing against Alabama.
But, again, then came Denver. Keeping in mind that my family are staunch Christians, I guess, as my mother would say, the continued talk about him got noticeable. The smugness we had felt at Tim getting his bell rung by the Alabama defense faded as one commentator after another, not to mention comedians, Tweets, and talk show talkers would find ways to work Tebow’s faith into discussions of his football playing ability. And most of them were not giving him much respect for either. And then last week Bill Maher–with whom I usually fall on the same side of the fence–made just a crude, un-funny remark about Tebow and Jesus. He worked in Satan and Hitler, too. More crude and even less funny. Bill reminds me of that guy you sat across from in homeroom who mocked everybody, making you afraid to say or do anything that would attract his attention lest you were next.
Lots of guys (and gals) play sports and are religious. Thanking Jesus and Mama after the game, dropping to one’s knees after a touchdown, and joining the other team for prayer in the endzone are all commonplace. Likewise, guys (and gals) who played Heisman caliber college sports in college who find the pros a little more challenging. That, though, is fair game. Over Thanksgiving my son, who thinks sports news is the actual news, watched two commentators named Mike argue for an hour over whether Tebow should be an NFL quarterback. But the undercurrent of religion was there. It, not his propensity to avoid the forward pass, is the source of the mockery in their voices. And that is out of bounds.
Talking about Tebow is never uncomplicated–and no, apparently it is not an option to not talk about Tebow. He won games for Denver but lost the last three in a row. He prays and wins; he prays and loses. He is both praised and criticized for both running and passing. I have a friend, for example, who sees him as a total hypocrite. “All that ‘tebowing,’ and I bet he gets laid a whole lot. I don’t know. But, would those two be mutually exclusive? Is celibacy also a requirement? Would that help his passing game? During yesterday’s bowl game marathon, I saw his “I ‘preciate that” commercial and I thought it was a pretty healthy response. Here’s the link.
So that’s my Tebow rambling. I know undoubtedly it’s connectable to larger thinking, but I don’t want to expend the thinking right now to sort out exactly what.
More on this later.