The Case for Tim Tebow
The Case for Tim Tebow
A lot of college quarterbacks come into the National Football League and, for lack of a better word, get schooled. You know the guys…Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russel, and Heath Shuller. They built your hopes up in college by breaking records and going first round and then…they suck. A college resume does not always equal success in the NFL. I think everyone would agree that you draft on prospect, on faith that a player will somehow live up to their college level performance and your team moves forward.
Tim Tebow did exactly that when drafted by the Denver Bronco’s in 2010. Lest we forget, he was a first round pick for Denver along with the winner of TWO NCAA Football Championships, the Maxwell AND Obrien awards for best college quarterback, and the James Sullivan award winner for most outstanding amateur athlete. In 2008, he led the Gators to their second national championship in three years as the team went 13-1 and he finished the season with 32 passing touchdowns and 23 rushing touchdowns. He did, in fact, win the Heisman Trophy that year.
He went to Denver as a first round pick. While with the Bronco’s in his second season, he inherited the starting job when the Bronco’s were 1-4 under Kyle Orton, and Tebow was given the team. Tebow then proceeded to lead the Broncos to 7-4 and a wild card game. Tebow struggled in the final three games of the season and after the three consecutive losses, Broncos vice president and former quarterback John Elway said Tebow was playing tentatively and needed to "pull the trigger." However, at 8-8 they made the playoffs.
On January 8, Denver hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first round of the NFL playoffs. Tebow threw for a career high 316 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80 yard TD to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime, as the Broncos won 29–23. Tebow completed 10 of 21 passes in the contest, setting the franchise record for quarterback rating in a playoff game (125.6) and an NFL record for yards per completion (31.6) in a playoff game.
Media sources noted Tebow's passing yards (316) and yards per completion (31.6) evoked the Bible's verse John 3:16. The Nielsen ratings for the game also peaked at 31.6. John 3:16 was the top search item on Google the next morning, followed by Tebow and Tim Tebow. The following weekend, the Broncos were handed a 45–10 defeat by the New England Patriots, knocking them out of the playoffs. After the season, Elway confirmed that Tebow would be the Broncos starting quarterback going into training camp in 2012. And then…the Manning event happened.
Tebow was traded to the New York Jets amidst wild rumors of a wildcat offense built for Tebow’s aggressive run-pass play. And yet, for some strange reason, Tebow was relegated to punt protection play on a New York Jets special team that frankly…stunk. Tebow was never given the opportunity to shine (as he did in Denver AND in Florida with a Heisman Trophy quarterback performance) as a quarterback for the Jets. Now, teams have been shying away from Tebow because some Jets organization insiders says “he doesn’t practice well”, “he looks average”, “he hasn’t adjusted to the NFL style of play.”
I beg to differ. Tebow has done what was asked of him in every situation offered in the NFL. He was asked to lead Denver as their quarterback, he did. He was asked to win football games, he did. He placed his team into the playoffs and only lost to the team that later represented the AFC in the Superbowl. Um…sounds like a winner to me.
What seems to be at play here, from my perspective, is a discomfort from the NFL of Tim Tebow’s blatant Christian faith; a faith that even HE puts above his own football efforts. A faith that has drawn fans to his side and, in my opinion, one of the main reasons for his success.
But, the NFL only wants the sideshows that THEY control. It baffles me why this young man with such immense faith AND talent is now something less than the Heisman Trophy winning QUARTERBACK he was only two years ago? Come on NFL owners and GMs!
This Tuesday, Jacksonville General Manager Caldwell says he can’t envision a “scenario in which he [Tebow] would be a Jacksonville Jaguar”. With all due respect Mr. Caldwell, the scenario you should be envisioning is called WINNING football games with a guy who has done it every time he has started at quarterback.
Let’s call this what it really is…the NFL is collectively afraid to embrace someone who’s Christian faith will be first and foremost in his life. The NFL is afraid to have one of their stars representing a wholesome Christian view to the world. Wow, did I just write that?
With the NFL swimming in lawsuits, cheating scandals, payola, videotaping scandals, heaven forbid we have a role model who actually stands for something moral and pure!
Some teams say they don’t want the “extensive press and attention” Tebow brings to a team. Really? Since when? Last time I looked, every team is LOOKING for something to draw attention AND fans to the stadium. What the NFL means is they don’t want the CHRISTIAN attention that Tebow might bring to a team. They don’t want THEIR NFL team labeled as the CHRISTIAN’S football team. Why not?
For now, Tebow remains a Jet with little chance of playing as starting quarterback. His time on the field becoming less and less and his opportunities to perform to the best of his abilities being squandered in punt coverage. I am deeply ashamed of the NFL, the owners, and hope that over the off-season Tebow is respected by his peers and judged on his performance on the football field and NOT his religious convictions.
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