January 12, 2012

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if Tim Tebow wasn't so likeable? Would more people like him then?

I understand (partially) now, by trying to figure out why so many folks are rooting against Tim Tebow, that editorials like this are part of the problem.

It seems like much of the animosity surrounding the Denver quarterback is media driven. Headlines that heap praise on the controversial character are nothing new to our world. Let's face it, a bit of a hubbub has always helped sell papers. Some of our best selling issues have been courtesy of a tumultuous letter to the editor, or two.

So ESPN ensures thousands upon thousands of comments on each article they can do that includes Tebow's name. They insight many by apparently giving all of the credit to the quarterback, who led an unlikely rebirth of the Denver football team, including a first round playoff victory over Pittsburgh.

But a brief glimpse at the headlines from the other playoff games, puts this theory to the test. "Brees shreds Lions, Saints Advance", or "Eli, Giants handle Falcons, move on to face Pack". Apparently, quarterbacks often get at least partial credit from the media, when their teams win.

Perhaps, it is because, on paper, these QBs appear to be better than Tebow, and thus are more deserving of the accolades?

Apparently, many still dislike the fact, that this man, who ranks at, or near the bottom of the NFL, statistically for quarterbacks, receives any credit at all.

Many of the numbers seem to point to the fact that Tebow isn't a great quarterback. I raise the question, would you rather have a guy who throws for 350 yards a game, but also gives up two or three interceptions a contest, and who wilts under the late-game pressure, when his team needs him the most?

Tebow himself said it best, "The only thing that matters is if you win or lose."

Does an underdog have to have major character flaws in order to insight the masses? Is it conceivable that so many people dislike Tebow, because he is just too good to be true?

He is ridiculed because he has chosen to remain celibate until he is married. He is mocked because he is "overly" vocal about his faith and how he chooses to show it on the field. He is hated, because the media gives him too much of the credit for the win.

Yet have you ever heard him take any of the credit?

I listened to ESPN's Ed Werder, question Tebow following the overtime win versus Pittsburgh. Despite the fact Ed constantly reminded him how bad, statistically, he was at quarterback, the youngster, coming off an unbelievable emotional victory, never batted an eye. Instead he offered thanks to his Lord and Savior, to the Denver fans and to his teammates. The only time he said I, it was "I have great teammates and they make me look a lot better that I really am."

You have to wonder if there is a pool among sports interviewers to see who can be the first person to trip him up.

Of course there are plenty of folks who dislike Tebow because of his faith. The Bible sums that one up pretty clearly in Matthew 10:22 - All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Tebow is better known for a different verse, John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In college, we wore the verse inscribed in the eye-black so often seen beneath athletes' eyes.

Last night, Tebow threw for 316 yards passing and in the process set an NFL playoff record with 31.6 yards per completion. Coincidence?

According to a L.A. Times article about this "coincidence" John 3:16 was the most searched item on Google last night, just ahead of Tebow himself. That's some amazing marketing of The Word.

Instead of helping convince people to like him, editorials like this only seem to fuel the fire of opposition. I pray that is the plan, so more people can hear the message. I'm pretty sure Tebow, and his heavenly Father, are okay with it. They both know that it doesn't have to be pretty, as long as they win.

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