Like no athlete before him, Tim Tebow brings God onto the field for every game.
When Tebow is successful, he praises God. When he isn’t successful, he praises God. For everything that happens in his life, I presume, Tebow praises God.
In a Gallup poll last summer, 92 percent of Americans expressed a belief in God. That was lower than the 96 percent who said they believed in God in a 1944 Gallup poll, the first time such a question was put forth by the famous pollsters.
Tebow believes in God. But it doesn’t seem as if 92 percent of American football fans believe in Tebow, even after his 316-yard passing performance Sunday that helped — not led, helped — Denver to a 29-23 overtime win over the big, bad Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC wild-card game.
Why is there such a Tebow backlash? How much of it has to do with performance and how much of it has to do with his sleeves, which always wear his religious convictions?
It’s incredible how polarizing a figure Tebow has become, given that if he lived his life outside of the football spotlight, he would probably be one of the least polarizing people in the world.
Who doesn’t like Tebow, the guy? If you don’t, then that’s your problem. By all accounts, he is an even-tempered, thoughtful, articulate man. Through everything Tebow has endured this season — the ups and the downs — he hasn’t wavered in his demeanor or how he treats people.
He did get angry with the officials during Sunday’s game when an obvious facemask penalty wasn’t called. How many “gosh darns” did he utter?
Many professional athletes would snap under the amount of scrutiny Tebow has been under. How many would have called ESPN’s Merril Hoge or one of the many other Tebow detractors and given them a piece of his mind?
Yet if Hoge entered the Broncos’ clubhouse after practice today, I presume Tebow would be one of the first to greet him and to express no ill will.
Tebow’s supporters, thankfully, are steadfast. This is a player we should get behind.
Instead, so many want to nit-pick his every performance and point out the obvious. Who among us doesn’t realize Tebow’s shortcomings as a quarterback? Who among us believe he’s a refined, finished product? Who among us is suggesting the folks at the Pro Football Hall of Fame start bronzing his bust?
Why can’t we just enjoy Tebow for what he is: A good guy making good. A thoroughly decent human being who is doing what he loves.
Supposedly, ESPN and other media outlets are partially responsible for the Tebow hate. I can’t tell you how many people tell me how sick they are of seeing what they deem to be the 24 Hours of Tebow on their televisions.
Cop out, people. Complete and total cop out.
And even if some of the 24-hour sports channels are going overboard for Tebow, is that his fault? Is it his fault that I have chosen to contribute to the hype by writing a column about him?
You want to lash out at someone, lash out at me.
What is with Tebow that bothers you? Really?
It can’t just be because you think he’s overhyped as a football player. Because for every positive thing said about him there are 10 criticisms, not usually veiled with kindness.
Is it his religion? Does it irritate you when, during a postgame news conference, Tebow makes reference to his faith multiple times?
People who do so can bring about warranted suspicion. Do you suspect Tebow isn’t as devout as he says he is?
For me, Tebow rises above skepticism. I may or may not share his views on religion and God, but that’s not what is important here. The reason I gravitate toward Tebow is because he’s the hard-working underdog intent on maximizing his talent. He did so at Florida, where he won a national championship and a Heisman, and he’s doing it in his second year in the NFL with Denver.
The Broncos thought enough of Tebow to make him a first-round draft pick in 2010. Yes, it was a different regime, prodded by then-coach Josh McDaniels. And since that day Tebow has been under the microscope. People started lining up on one side of the Tebow debate or the other.
Those of us who loves sports live in Tebow’s world. Including Tebow, who surely can’t avoid all the noise he has created..
Yet as skeptical as we are of “too-good-to-be-true,” because of all the times that comes back to bite us, it’s fine to trust Tebow. He’s a player we should get behind.
I’m no fan of the Broncos, but I’m pulling for them in the AFC playoffs. I hope they beat the New England Patriots, a team I like and respect, on Saturday in Foxborough, Mass.
It’s a long shot, for sure. Breaking news: Tebow is no Tom Brady.
But Tebow has something special. When he looks to the heavens after a big play, I wonder what he sees?