What’s The Deal With Tebow?

Over more than 30 years of hanging around the NFL I’ve seen a few things that I couldn’t quite figure out.

But nothing has stumped me like Tim Tebow and the legion of detractors that has for the last two years spent a lot of time ripping him, his ability and his performance. Tebow is the most polarizing figure that’s come into the NFL in decades. Let me amend that – Tim Tebow is the most polarizing figure in the league that has not been arrested or gone to prison.

Why do so many dislike this guy? It’s not just fans. It’s the media that covers the league. It’s even opponents; players like those on the Detroit Lions who openly mocked Tebow before, during and after those teams met earlier this season.

The complaints heard about Tebow are petty and on the level of junior-high playground gossip. He’s too nice. He’s overrated as a player. He gets too much attention for a guy who hasn’t done anything in the NFL.

But it really all comes down to one reason – he talks about God. In this 21st Century, there are two things that are guaranteed to start an argument, a fight, even a war – race and religion.

Let me establish this upfront – I believe in God, but I’m not a religious person. I was raised Catholic, served as an altar boy and at one point pondered the possibility of the priesthood. As I matured, there developed real problems with my feelings towards the religion and its priorities. So these days you’ll find me in church only for weddings, funerals and christenings.

That’s me. Others approach their beliefs in different ways. That’s OK; it’s the American way. Sometimes when hypocrisy shows through in what a person says they stand for and their actual actions, I can get miffed. But that has more to do with individuals than with religions and professing belief in God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

Ever since his days at the University of Florida, Tebow’s religious beliefs have always been part of the first or second paragraph in any story about him. His parents were missionaries who traveled the globe. His father helps run an orphanage in the Philippines, where Tim Tebow was born. Summer vacations for Tebow and his four siblings were going to the Philippines to help. Plus, his mother homeschooled her family and there was great controversy in Florida when a state law allowed children that were homeschooled to take part in extra-curricular activities in public high schools.

That background has always been part of the Tebow picture. He’s never run from it; rather he embraced it, was never afraid to address it and seemed proud of his roots and his faith. Sitting down to interview him, he looks you in the eye, he answers all questions thoughtfully and when it’s done, he’ll say thank you and God bless you.

He’s just too damn nice and that bothers some people, especially those in the media. As a group, it’s pretty hard to find a more cynical group than your average collection of sportswriters and yakkers, although political reporters as a group are probably close. The pattern generally goes like this: the media finds a subject and builds him into a bigger than life figure. Once he does, the media begins the process of knocking him off the pedestal they built in the first place. It’s happening right now with Joe Paterno.

Is Tim Tebow a saint? No, nobody is. Is Tim Tebow a good guy? By, all reports yes. Is Tim Tebow a good NFL quarterback? Not right now, but it doesn’t mean he won’t be. He seems to have the one factor that every team looks for when it comes to a starting quarterback – his teams win games.

As a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback that led his team to a national championship, the amount of attention Tebow receives is going to be inflated in the NFL. But that factor is no explanation for what has surrounded him for the last two years. The tenor and venom directed towards him really has more to say about those firing the shots than it does about Tebow himself.

He’s a young guy, struggling to grow and perform at the toughest position in football. He doesn’t need to be loved, or even liked. But he certainly shouldn’t generate words like hate.

12 Responses to “What’s The Deal With Tebow?”

  • November 12, 2011  - Martin says:

    The only thing to say to that is, “amen”.

  • November 12, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    I was at UF when he played and won the national championship and his outspokenness about his religion was never really questions. Like most college towns, you win championships you don’t ask too many questions (look at Penn). Honestly, he really seems like a genuine guy with religious beliefs trying to make a name for himself in the national football league.

    The worst part about him is that he plays for one of our rivals in the AFC West. I just hope he doesn’t turn into the second coming of Elway. God did that guy ruin many a 4th quarter lead…

  • November 12, 2011  - Josh says:

    Many, many people in the NFL are religious. DQ points to the sky after every successful punt. But everything can, and will, be taken to extremes. If he were gay, kissing his boyfriend before and after a game would be offensive to some. If he were a Satanist, slaughtering a goat would rile folks. My point is that it’s fine for him to have a belief, but to expect others to not vilify the outward display of that belief is absurd. Leave Sunday for football, and if not, plant your rear in the pew and stay there. After all, if he’s so devout, why does he work on a Sunday?

  • November 12, 2011  - el cid says:

    Isn’t the point of being an American, freedom of religion. To many times the PC types get their say at the expense of others. OK he is religious, don’t care. We, the Chiefs, need to win sunday no matter what. Let the religion rest and get on with the game.

  • November 12, 2011  - Randy says:


    I can’t stand the donkeys but I respect the heck out of Tim Tebow. I am a Christian man who is willing to stand up for my beliefs. I feel that Tebow honors God, on and off the football field. He is, not perfect, but a pretty stand up guy. I really admire Tim for using his status as a pro athlete to honor our Savior. I would, however like to see him do it in another division. That would make it easier rooting for him on Sundays.

  • November 12, 2011  - aPauled says:

    I respect Tebow as a man and what he stands for. Any father would hope that his son has the respect for others, manners, kindness, and if Christians…putting his beliefs into actions that this young man has.

    On the football field is another story. His meachanics (footwork, long throwing motion, etc.) and ability to quickly read a defense and know where to go with the ball are horific. Very similar to Jamarcus Russell. Before the Broncos modified the offense to integrate the option and QB runs, a football fan would be left to wonder why this guy was ever out on the field. John Elway himself has been very critical of Tebow’s ability to pass the ball and how he can turn it on at the end of a game but not play consistently thru a game.

    The kid has remarkable leadership ability that inspires even veterans like Champ Baily. His ability to run is amazing. Whether that’s enough and if he can stay healthy running the ball in the NFL remains to be seen. His ability to ever master the passing game in a passing league…is very questionable…leads to much of the criticism…and will largely determine his NFL legacy.

  • November 13, 2011  - rufus says:

    Ratings. It’s a business.

  • November 13, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    Serious business.

  • November 13, 2011  - TDKC says:

    People shun what they do not understand.

    A young man that lives and acts like Tim is in contrast to the look-at-me attitude in sports.

  • November 13, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Bob’s central point is true. We do love to build people into heroes and then tear them down. That’s the other American way. We also enjoy stories of redemption and overcoming long odds. A person’s religious beliefs are and should be their own. They should be respected and not used against them or as a reason to hate them. If they proselytize ad nauseum or preach exclusivity in their beliefs find fault with that, not their beliefs. He seems like a good kid. I say let him play and go smash him this Sunday.

  • November 13, 2011  - el cid says:

    Something is just wrong with some of our thinking. I do not recall such “moral outrage” with the players started holding hands and prayering in the endzone after games. I just wonder if you will all be so PC is it were a racial matter or a religion other than Christianity? By the by why no outrage when a kicker points to heaven after making a field goal? No, some seem to chose their morals from the design on the side of the helmet. Not our finest hour.

    PS The Chiefs better play well and win today or we are back on the road for trouble.

  • November 14, 2011  - jim says:

    Nice job, guys. Very well said. Nothing to add, with the exception that when his football days are over he will probably become more succesful in a future endeavour than football. I think football is something for him to do while he still has his health/youth, and he will make his mark on our society THRU football and what positive impact he can deliver with the financial rewards of his playing days.

    Trust me, there could be many lesser young men in your front room asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage.

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