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Tim Tebow's Kinda Football

from the January 10, 2012 eNews issue
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Steelers fans rejoiced to see their team rush in from behind Sunday evening to tie the game with Denver 23-23 with a chance for a win in overtime. To their dismay, the end took just 12 seconds. Broncos QB Tim Tebow threw a bullet to Demaryius Thomas who ran the ball for an 80-yard touchdown. Bam. Like that, it was over, and Tebow fans across the country roared as the Broncos won their first playoff victory since 2006.

Getting Down on Tebow:
On August 13, 2011, Matt Miller wrote for Bleacher Report, "Love him or hate him, Tim Tebow will never be a starting quarterback in the NFL. At least not a good one." Miller simply said what a lot of professionals thought; Tim Tebow just wasn't NFL material. His mechanics were poor. His throws were not accurate. Heisman Trophy and two NCAA championships notwithstanding, Tebow was not going to keep pace with the big dogs.

Since he came on the NFL scene, people have been making fun of Tim Tebow for his overt Christianity as well as his weaknesses on the field. Bill Maher has ridiculed Tebow fairly viciously over and over… and over. He has mocked Tebow's habit of dropping to one knee on the field for a few moments to give God thanks. He's derided Tebow for the Bible verses the young man marks on his eye black. He's made fun of the fact that Tebow was home schooled.

Drive-time sports talk radio hosts Boers and Bernstein called Tebow "creepy" and an "idiot" when the Bronco's drafted him. "He's insufferably weird. His family is weird. Creepy dad. Creepy mom. Creepy kids…And he also can't play." They criticized the Broncos, "And you just used your first round pick on him! …You traded up for a guy you can't use. Maybe nobody can use him. You traded up for a chance that the guy might be able to do something you don't need!"

Others have joined in on the Tebow attacks. Youtubers have put up montages of people doing the "tebow" kneel or back-to-back collections of bad plays Tebow has made.

Whether or not it took him a commercial-break worth of time to throw the ball, or whether his passes were a bit wobbly, or whether he couldn't "break a paned glass window with a football" as Edge Of Sports Radio Dave Zirin said on CBS in 2010, it hasn't mattered. Tim Tebow has made for fun football. He plays hard. He's a fantastic rusher, and who doesn't love to watch the QB break through his offensive line and into the end zone? His rushing scores touchdowns.

On November 30th, Jon Heath wrote for BroncoTalk, "Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow may be among the least accurate passers in the NFL, but nobody can deny his running ability." Tebow has barely entered the game as a second year professional football player, and already the young man is breaking records. On Sunday, November 27th, Tebow rushed 22 times for 67 yards – the most rushing attempts a quarterback has made in a single game in team history. He's throwing the ball more now too - and nailing it, like he did Sunday night when he passed for 316 yards.

The Character:
On the field, off the field, Tebow's great to watch. Any time he's interviewed, he presents a good-natured young man with a great attitude who is able to handle any questions that are thrown at him with grace and humor. He's not hurting for love. He's laughed with Jimmy Kimmel about Tebow's childhood inspiration of Rocky Balboa – doing sit ups hanging in the barn, or chasing chickens with their "greasy lightening speed."

Kimmel was also impressed with a blurb on the back of Tebow's book Through My Eyes. "I mean, it's impressive to write a book, especially at your age," Kimmel said, "but the coolest thing is you've got a blurb on the back of your book from Chuck Norris. That's pretty solid… How do you get Chuck Norris to write a blurb for the book?"

Tebow has chatted with sports writers and the press and critics and he always comes off as a likeable, humble professional with his team's best interests at heart.

And he wins games. The Broncos had lost four out of five games when Tebow took over as starting quarterback toward the beginning of the 2011 season, and soon the young rushing miracle was leading his team to a winning record.

Plus, he's not about himself. He praises Jesus Christ and he builds up his teammates. After Sunday's win, his focus was not on his 25-yard game-winning bullet, but on his teammate, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who caught the pass and ran it for a touchdown.

"[Thomas] made a great catch and a great run after the catch. Our offensive line blocked phenomenal." Tebow said. "DT made a heck of a play." Football is a team sport, and Tebow never takes credit for what his team members do. 

To God Be The Glory:
The rest of America notices, though, that the wins started when Tebow took the lead. Whether or not Tebow is the greatest quarterback in the world, his team keeps winning. That's part of the whole fun of it, especially after all the heckling he's endured.

Ultimately, Tebow glorifies Jesus Christ with his mouth and with his life. He's known as a person of integrity, and he lives by the motto that, "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." He gives the game his all, and yet, the more wobbly his passes, the more his wins truly come across as miracles.

Which brings us back to Tebow's eye black. Tebow's favorite verse to paint under his eyes is John 3:16, and commentators have noticed the 316's in Sunday's win against the Steelers; Tebow passed for a total of 316 yards, with a 31.6 yard-per-pass average (unsurpassed since Joe Namath's 33.7-yard average in 1972 against Baltimore).  The New York Post even pointed out that the Nielsen's ratings for the game peaked to 31.6 from 8:00 to 8:15 p.m.  That might be going a bit far, but then again...

Even people who don't normally watch football are following Tim Tebow's victories. They will gather to watch Denver play New England this coming Saturday evening with hopeful anticipation that the Broncos will snatch another victory from the jaws of sudden death.

Regardless of what Tebow's critics have said, Patriots coach Bill Belichick is not underestimating the 24-year-old. "He had a great game against Pittsburgh, no doubt about it. But he's played well throughout the season, whether it be managing the team, making decisions, running the ball, throwing the ball, scrambling, any and all of the above. He's a good football player."

He's a good player, and whether or not the Broncos win on Saturday, he's been good for football in more ways than one. 

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Related Links:

  •   Tim Tebow Is Smashing QB Rushing Records - BroncoTalk
  •   Tim Tebow Is More Of An Enigma Now That He's Shown He Can Win With His Arm, Too - AP
  •   Tebow Wishes Mcdaniels 'Nothing But The Best' - The Boston Globe
  •   Tim Tebow: Breaking Down Why the Denver Broncos QB Will Never Succeed in the NFL - Bleacher Report
  •   Tim Tebow on Jimmy Kimmel Live Part 1 - Jimmy Kimmel Live
  •   David Zirin On Tim Tebow's Christian Views - CBS
  •   Tebow-Sized Ratings - The New York Post