By Jason Keidel
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When we measure his merits as an NFL quarterback, most of us agree that Tim Tebow is limited. But when measured as a man, he soars above his sport, which is already defined by muscle, moxie and mythology.
Does he lay it on thick with the biblical bromides? Sure. But since when is that a problem vis-à-vis the bulging rap sheets we’ve seen in pro sports?
So Tebow’s greatest crime after his suspect left arm is that he cares too much. Strip his stardom for a moment and imagine him as one of us with an identical attitude. If he were a mechanic, he’d return your car flawless, down to the last lug nut. If he sold insurance, he’d dial you seconds after a tornado blew past to check on your family. You’d want your sister or daughter to marry him. Heck, maybe you’d marry him where legal.
All he’s done since joining the Jets is report to work, in shape, work his celebrated tail off and prepare for whatever idle chore his bosses assign him, from punt coverage to clipboard cover boy.
And this is what’s wrecked the Jets this season?
It can’t be that they stink, that their personnel has dissolved over the last three years or that they constantly crumble under the aggregate weight of 43 years without a title. It must be a Christian quarterback who has done nothing but win and show respect for every person he’s encountered. Oh, and there are those missions he takes to the Philippines, and preaching prisoners the Gospel.
Yeah, he’s the problem.
These silly quotes from unnamed Jets branding Tebow as a disastrous quarterback have snowballed into a singular story this week. Maybe it’s a classic case of player-hating. Or maybe it’s filler for the Giants’ bye week, knowing that the Jets won’t finish in the money for the fourth consecutive decade. Why else would anyone care what a dozen losers think about a winner? We don’t know who they are, but I do know that they aren’t half the men that Tebow is.
Like many of you, I lurched back when Tebowmania was in high gear last year because of the creepy characters it attracted. But phenomenons have their own arc and momentum. Not even Elvis could name his groupies. So once the feverish following settled into your garden-variety worship, Tebow became easier to digest and defend.
Just listen to Tebow’s response to the nameless barbs. Hear one bitter octave? Tebow is a template, if nothing else, a treatise on courage and toughness and conviction. The colossal irony is that he serves God, yet the deity didn’t see fit to fit Tebow with John Elway’s arm. But that’s another discussion. We’ll leave theology to those more qualified.
But football is something we all have in common. And, in theory, a success is sprung by a hard-hat ethos and willingness to place the team before self. Such an ethic led Kurt Warner from grocer to greatness. It led Tom Brady from Michigan backup to 199th pick to immortality.
And who knows where it will lead Tebow? We don’t. And neither do those nameless, faceless fools who funnel their opinions through some media surrogate.
Is Tebow’s popularity actually growing because of how well he’s handling this situation? Offer your thoughts and comments in the section below…