This will possibly be the most difficult entry that I have ever written in my entire life. As I sit and really ponder what I have been thinking, what I am about to actually declare will forever be held against me by my fellow Dawg fans. But here it goes...
I remember the 2006 Georgia football season like it was yesterday. So many new faces, so many things to be excited about. Georgia was coming off of an SEC Championship and a Sugar Bowl appearance. Sure, we were in a "rebuilding" year, but we had the most touted QB coming out of high school in Matthew Stafford, and all were in awe of what this kid might do.
By week three the Bulldogs seemed to be riding high with this new phenom of a QB. I remember being at the UAB/Georgia game for Stafford's first official start of his college career...and shaking his hand as he made his way through the Dawg Walk, and instantaneously I thought to myself, "That's the one...that's the future Heisman winner, that's the one who is going to bring us a National Championship."
That was week three...and I had no idea about some kid down in Florida by the name of Tim Tebow. But by week six...I began to take notice, as did the rest of the nation.
I had many Gator fans, at that time, who swore up and down that this "Tebow kid was the best player in the country." Of course, being the crazy fan that I am...I would constantly disagree and dog the kid.
I would always be caught saying, "He is not a real QB...all he does is run up the middle," or "Just wait 'til next year when he doesn't have Chris Leak to run the offense for him." I was always dogging Tebow, saying he would never be the QB Stafford would be.
Now flash forward to 2009, and my, what a tell of two tales it has been, huh? Matthew Stafford has had a very good career statistically, but he has not led Georgia to any Championship games...let only won them (granted it's a team effort). He has taken home the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Capital One Bowl MVP trophies.
Tebow, on the other hand, won the Heisman in 2007 and came in third place the year after. He helped lead his team to SEC Championships in 2006 and 2008, and also was a big contributing factor to Florida bringing the BCS National Championship in 2006 and 2008( Leak was really the main reason UF won it in 2006.) Tebow also won the 2008 BCS National Championship MVP award.
But all that aside...this is not why I wish Georgia, the team I have loved all my life, had a Tim Tebow. I wish Georgia had the kid because of what he brings to the game.
When people see Tim Tebow, they see...heart, they see passion, and they see a will to LEAD his team into a war. Sure, he is a great ambassador to the game of College Football. He goes on missionary trips to Third World poverty-stricken countries to help and preach the word of GOD.
Those things are great, but I had newfound respect for Tebow when I saw his press conference after the Ole Miss defeat.
He stood up to the mic and said, “To the fans, the Gator Nation, I’m sorry. Extremely sorry. But I promise you one thing: A lot of good will come from this. You will never see a player, in the entire country, play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season. And you will never see a team play harder than we will play the rest of the season. God Bless.”
With those words Tebow put the pressure and responsibility of the entire Gator season squarely on his shoulders...and as tonight proved and has shown, Mr. Tebow delivered on his promise.
Georgia had a very talented and gifted QB in Matthew Stafford, but what they needed was that little bit extra. That extra gear in a QB that when the game, or the season, for that matter, is on the line...you know the man is going to deliver.
What Tebow has is something I don't believe I have ever seen in a football player. Sure, we all want to win the game...but at what cost? Would you put your name or reputation out on the line for the team? Tebow apparently would have and has done just that very thing.
Now I know Matthew Stafford is going to be the better NFL QB, and he is more than likely going to make a ton of money versus what Tebow might be able to tally up. To compare Stafford to Tebow in terms of Pro-Pocket passer is like comparing apples to oranges. But as a Georgia fan...what do I really care where Stafford ends up in the Draft or how much money he signs for?
Nonetheless, I am thankful for the years that Matthew Stafford has given the University of Georgia and all the memorable plays and games won. But maybe, just maybe things could have been a little different for Georgia had Mark Richt taken a short trip down to St. Augustine to watch a kid play ball that went by the name of...Tim Tebow.
Because this Georgia Bulldog fan was wrong about Tebow......way wrong!