If I were to mention the name Tim Tebow, I would get mixed comments, especially being in Florida. If you’re a Gator fan, like myself, you like him and are thankful for his contributions to the University of Florida, both on and off the field. If you’re a Miami or Florida State fan, you loath him on principle for how he torched each team and helped the Gators to two national championships.
Football fans or not, many people appreciate Tebow and the principles that he preaches and believes in. I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of our society wants him to succeed in his bid to be a successful NFL quarterback.
Everyone that has followed Tebow throughout his career knows his story. From heralded high school football recruit to key contributor as a freshman on Florida’s 2006 National Championship team to first time ever Heisman Trophy Winner as a sophomore to again National Champion in 2008 to first round draft pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. This is not including his long list of off-the-field activities, including mission trips to the Philippines, inspirational speeches at prisons, and other events.
Other than his style of playing football, Tebow is perhaps most known everywhere for his strong religious ties to Christianity. Tebow isn’t shy about his religious beliefs, usually following every interview he gives with “God-bless.” I have no problem with this. I’m not going to question someone’s beliefs that help and guide them through their lives. I say this because lately some of the criticism that Tebow has received has led many to question whether or not a lot of it stems from his openness of his faith in Christianity.
Being an athlete, Tebow is ubject to many forms of criticism. The topic of controversy involves the open quarterback competition for starter in Denver. Most of the discussion started before the NFL preseason officially began. The common belief in Denver at the end of last season was that Tebow would be the starting quarterback of the future. However, the NFL was forced into a lockout set into motion by the expiration of their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The feeling by many analysts was that Tebow would suffer because of the lack of training camp and OTA’s, along with the lack of time to adjust to a new coaching staff.
That’s fine and all. But… All of a sudden, it seemed like analysts unleashed a fury of criticism upon Tebow, some venturing into the fine line between personal attacks and analysis. Merril Hoge. Boomer Esiason. Greg Doyle. The Dallas Cowboy TV Announcers in their game against Denver. Warren Moon. Personally, it was just ridiculous listening to all of this “analysis,” as they put it. There’s a difference between analysis and personal attacks. One saying that Tebow won’t make it because of a flaw in his game is an opinion. But saying that “it’s embarrassing to think the Broncos could win with Tebow,” as Merril Hoge put it on his Twitter Account, is just down right wrong. I don’t think, however, that this stems from Tebow’s open faith in Christianity.
Our society’s obsession with the young man at this point is frankly disturbing. When a person receives that much admiration, respect, and praise, an occasional backlash should be expected. I’m pretty certain that many people saw the reports of Tebow struggling in training camp as an opportunity to shove some of their frustration of being blinded by Tebow-talk in the media back at him. Gregg Doyle’s column, published a couple weeks ago, accused Tebow of committing “blasphemy” because of how Tebow appeared to be using his faith to win the Broncos’ starting quarterback job. Doyle received a lot of back lash for the article, and stirred the debate even more.
I think that people just want to see what happens if Tebow fails at something. How will he react? Will he change his ways? Tebow’s closest thing to “failing,” and this is stretching it a lot, was being a part of a losing effort to Alabama in the 2009 SEC Championship, which cost Florida a chance at repeat National Championship (Florida did go 13-1 in that season). Look, the reality is that no human on Earth is perfect. But Tebow’s image, only blown up more and more by the media and society of the present, projects that idea.
The question is whether people realize this. I guess we will have to wait for the next “Tim Tebow” for the answer.
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