Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tim Tebow: Love Him or Hate Him?

Seriously, let me know if you love him or hate him...

As a fellow Christian, I hope he continues to inspire people even though he kinda sucks at playing football!

I’ve been on this planet coming up on a quarter of a century.  I know there have been professional, collegiate, and amateur athletes that have come and gone that have stirred up controversy.  However, in this day and age, with technology (social media, smart phones, laptops, and tablets) Tim Tebow has stirred up quite a bit of controversy.

First, let’s take a look at Tim from a football perspective.  He played high school football at Nease High School in Ponte Verde Beach, Florida and Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville.  He was one of the top rated senior quarterbacks in the nation.  He attended the University of Florida from 2006 to 2010.  As a freshman back-up quarterback, he helped starter Chris Leak and the Gators to the National Championship.  His sophomore year brought him starting quarterback status as well as the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman Trophy.  If that wasn’t enough, as a junior he led the Gators to another National Championship.  In his senior campaign, they were the #1 ranked team but lost in the SEC Championship to eventual National Champions Alabama. 

He was then drafted, surprisingly, in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos as the 25th overall pick.  He started the last 3 games his rookie year when the season was a lost cause and in 2011, he took over just 5 games into the season.  After starting 1-4, he led the Broncos to a 7-4 finish and the AFC West Division Title.  This past Sunday evening, he shocked the 12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs by throwing the winning touchdown pass on the first play in overtime.  To look at Tebow from this perspective, you would have to agree that he’s accomplished quite a bit in the short amount of time playing football.

So why the controversy?  Tim Tebow is what we like to call unorthodox.  As a collegiate player, he was a dual threat quarterback that fit Florida’s (and seemingly most of college football’s style of offense nowadays) spread offense attack under Urban Meyer.  Being as accomplished as he was, there were many questions regarding his game translating to the NFL.  He wasn’t your prototypical quarterback with smooth mechanics or a great arm.  He’s not crazy athletic like Michael Vick or can stand in the pocket picking apart defenses all day like Tom Brady.  However, his believers go back to the one thing that seems to constantly surround Tim, his ability to win and inspire teammates. 

This season Tim Tebow in the regular season threw only 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions for 1,729 yards for a passer rating of just 72.9.  Those numbers are measly considering the gargantuan efforts put in by Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Matthew Stafford.  His completion percentage is only 46.5% and in 6 of his 11 starts he only completed 10 or less passes!  That doesn’t even include the 10 completions he had in the first round of the playoffs this weekend.  Are you beginning to see why everyone is kind of freaking out about Tim Tebow? 

Tebow was drafted surprisingly high by a Denver team seemingly already set with Kyle Orton at quarterback.  You don’t draft a lot of players in the first round and expect them to sit several years in the waiting.  On top of that, his combine wasn’t awesome and his skill set didn’t scream, “o man, play me right away at quarterback, I’m the next Peyton Manning!”  I’m not even sure what the Denver front office believed when taking Tebow.  Of course the coach at the time is gone and now legendary John Elway runs the team with John Fox as head coach.  Still, the franchise has put their money where their mouth is and stuck with Tim Tebow for better or worse. 

That is only part of the reason Tebow generates so much attention.  The part I’m more interested in is his personal life.  He was actually born in the Philippines and has been a Christian most of his life thanks to his family.  He still regularly visits there and preaches the gospel in prisons.  He is not shy about his faith and stance on religion.  During last year’s Super Bowl, he even was in ad against abortion, well it was a pro life ad anyway.  During games you can see him praying before, during and after.  In fact, he’s started quite a craze in terms of celebrations in what everyone now calls “Tebowing.”  He doesn’t shy around quoting God in interviews or just wearing his faith on his sleeve.

Listen, I can’t stand the fact this guy is a starting quarterback when I see a guy like Brady Quinn not even get a chance (can’t judge the guy when you play for the Browns).  Tebow on stats alone should not be a starter in the NFL.  He’s genuinely awful.  But what I do love is his appearance.  No I’m not talking about his relatively good looks and smile.  It’s the way he presents himself.  The media out does his story week in and week out.  We get it ESPN, you’re killing me.  Especially you Skip Bayless, no one likes you, go play in a microwave already.  His stance on Christianity with his prominent role in society is something to behold.  I am also a Christian, not a great one…yet.  His attitude inspires me.  He didn’t ask to be in the middle of all this.  The Broncos chose to put him here because all Tebow asked for was a chance to play quarterback.  If it didn’t work out, he would consider changing positions just so he could play.  Last time I checked, more teams could use attitude like that. 

Tim Tebow is gaining admirers all over the country because he doesn’t let outside influences affect who he is as a player or person.  He’s doing the absolute best he can given the situation.  It’s extremely impressive he’s already won a playoff game!  His confidence and faith give me hope that one day I too can make an impact no matter how difficult or paradoxical the situation happens to be.  I don’t wish injury or bad things to happen to Tebow even though I hate Florida and his inability to hit receivers in stride on most passes.  I can however acknowledge the fact that the Broncos defy all reason and logic.  Even if the Patriots do win by 2 touchdowns this weekend, it’s safe to say the Broncos overachieved.  I hope Tim leads to more athletes being so open about their faith and stance on humanity.  We could use more role models and all-around good, young people in the realm of sports where the likes of LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Floyd Mayweather, the Busch Brothers, Ryan Braun, and others dominate headlines for negative activity.  I’m not saying Tim Tebow is God or anything but he’s certainly a wave of fresh air.

Oh, and Tim, I hope you read this when I tweet this article straight at you.  I love and hate you at the same time.  Also, do me a favor, I say I’d like to say I want the Patriots to crush you but I don’t really believe that.  Crush everyone’s soul in Foxboro this weekend!
Godspeed TT!