[Opinion] The Father, The Tebow and The Holy Spirit
Keep in mind that Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007. Never forget that he won two national championships for the University of Florida Gators. One could argue that these are the traits of a proven winner. The guy has made speeches at press conferences that are etched in stone for Christ’s sake. No, really.
Yet, somehow the fact that the Denver Broncos quarterback has managed to win six of his seven NFL starts this season is surprising to some. Sure his completion percentage is, at times, comparable to those of third string quarterbacks and he didn’t exactly light it up for pro scouts before he entered the league. To paraphrase the great Dennis Green, Tebow is what we thought he was. He’s a hell of a football player who doesn’t quit, runs hard and can occasionally complete a big play or two down the field. His touchdown/ interception ratio (15-4) and quarterback rating (85.9) aren’t bad but they aren’t chart toppers by any stretch of the imagination either.
So why has Tebow-mania become such a polarizing occurrence? It’s the way he wins. Time after time, game after game, Tebow plays 45 – 50 minutes of horrible football and comes alive in winning time. And apparently all he does is win. On a routine basis Tebow has appeared to be magical in the fourth quarter. His religious affiliations have only added to his folklore. It seems like only yesterday when Kyle Orton seemed to play as bad as he humanly could and led the Broncos to a 1-4 start. During that spell, a group of guys in Denver actually considered spending their Super Bowl money ($10,000) on a billboard advertisement begging the Broncos front office to give Tebow playing time.
Now, seven wins later, Tebow is talk of the Internet on any given Sunday. Take yesterday’s game versus the Bears for instance. With less than five minutes remaining in the game Tebow was down by 10 points. This typically spells disaster for a second year quarterback who isn’t too skilled at throwing vertical passes. But this is Tim Tebow we’re talking about here. If you were to read my Twitter timeline during the game you’d see that everyone from New York to New Mexico knew it was “Tebow Time” and that the Bears were in for a loss.
True enough they couldn’t have predicted a total brain cramp by Bears running back Marion Barber but the fumble and inexplicable running out of bounds only added to the mystique of Tebow. How could a NFL veteran not know that killing the clock on third down could only help the other team though? Had to be the Tebow effect, right?
Asked after Sunday’s game about the crazy set of circumstances that occurred, the first words out of Tebow’s mouth were, as expected, “I would first like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” No football explanation was needed.Neither would one be accepted. Tebow is certainly not the first athlete to thank God after a performance. He does, however, seem to be the first athlete whose success seems to be a direct result of intervention. Whether that intervention is divine or simply a case of defense gone wrong is still up for debate.
I’ve been watching football for a long time. I’ve seen great players who will undoubtedly be inducted into the hall of fame the second they are eligible. But I’ve never seen a player, who by most estimations isn’t that good, have this kind of effect on both casual and serious fans.
I mean, just look at the types of tweets that typed after Tebow does his thing.
TMZ’s Harvey Levin: “ I’m so intrigued by Tim Tebow. In a weird way he’s more influential than the Pope.
ESPN’s Jemelle Hill: “And a Tebow shall lead them.”
One can only imagine what the response will be if Tebow manages to get the Broncos into the playoffs. As if team Executive VP of Football Operations John Elway‘s job isn’t tough enough already. If Tim keeps winning then Elway will be faced with the unenviable task of deciding the fate of a quarterback who he knows doesn’t possess the typical skills of the classic pocket quarterback.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As it stands, Tebow is just a second year quarterback who has faced some bad defenses and depleted rosters. Either way, he’s winning. But if he continues on this path, the beliefs of many (both football and otherwise) will be seriously put to the test.