I’ve been anxious to see Tim Tebow, the controversial Denver Broncos quarterback people love to hate because he is unabashedly committed to his religious faith and fearlessly shows it to the cynical press and doubters.
Tebow had been relentlessly mocked in Chicago going into Sunday’s game with the Bears, but once again he led an amazing comeback in the last few minutes to get to overtime and then win during the extra period. Tebow’s performance was miserable through the first three quarters, and terrific in the fourth. The Bears helped Denver by making bonehead plays and playing soft, “not to lose” football. Tebows’s Broncos have now won seven out of eight with Tebow as quarterback after starting the season 0-4 with Kyle Orton (now gone).
I was extremely eager to see the game because Tim Tebow has gotten so much press, mostly negative. America is so cynical about everything today. My view of pro-football has been shaped by movies like Al Pacino’s Any Given Sunday, and the novel Semi-Tough, by Dan Jenkins. Tebow is the anti anti-hero. Supposedly, Urban Meyer, the head football coach at the University of Florida, where Tebow won the Heisman as a sophomore, had his quarterback checked out by an investigator to see if he was who he said he was. Tebow, the devout Christian who put the number of Bible verses on the adhesive eye-black patches he wore, checked out.
Tebow occasionally goes to one knee to thank God during a game and will exalt by looking to the sky and lifting both arms like signaling his thanks to the Lord for a score.
Honestly, I was set to dislike him because I don’t think God really follows the NFL, but after watching him play I have to love the kid. Not for his authentic devotion to his God, but for his leadership and belief in himself on the field.
In the final quarter of the Bears/Broncos game you had a team with belief in itself, and a team with doubt.
Bill Parcells, the great coach, has said that in most games there is a moment when one team perseveres and the other gives up its belief in itself. This happened last Sunday. The Bears had the game, but inexplicably the veteran running back Marian Barber ran out of bounds when all he had to do was fall down to keep the clock moving. The Bears had to punt, leading 10-7, but knowing that they faced a Denver team led by Tim Tebow that knew in its heart that it was going to win. And they did, with a last second tying field goal and an overtime field goal.
I rooted for the Bears, but I loved watching Tebow confidently lead players who obviously believed in him, and themselves.
Tebow does not have the great technical skills as a quarterback of an Aaron Rogers or Tom Brady, but he brings a palpable, authentic, belief to the playing field. You can feel an aura, even watching him on TV. A leader with authentic belief is a beautiful thing to observe. It doesn’t mean Tim Tebow, with a flawed throwing motion, is going to win the Super Bowl this year. But who am I to doubt it? The doctors said I had a slim chance of survival when I entered the hospital in heart failure three years ago.
Question: Do you think Tebow should restrain his religious demonstrations on the field?