In the world of sports, we tend to toss around words that acclaim players far too often. You all know what words I'm talking about. Beast, genius, "great," etc.
But, one of the words we don't use very often is legend. This is because we rarely stumble upon legends in sports. Much less college sports.
However, down here in sunny (and very hot) Gainesville, FL, we have ourselves a legend who is still playing the game that has made him famous.
His name is Tim Tebow, and he is a Florida legend.
Since the summer of his freshman year, the hype surrounding Tim Tebow was unreal. Who cared if we had Chris Leak? (who at the time was getting ready for his senior season and his fourth year of being the starting quarterback for the Gators), we had the super freshman Tim Tebow.
Of course we all loved Leak, but whenever Tebow came out onto the field, The Swamp went insane. Sometimes Ben Hill Griffin Stadium got so into Tebow Mania, we would boo the Florida coaching staff for taking him out. (We all remember the embarrasing night that we booed Chris Leak).
In the first game of the season against Southern Miss, Tim Tebow came into the game for Chris Leak early in the fourth quarter. Tebow scored on a one-yard touchdown run.
Ever wonder what it looks like when a legend is born?
Tebow was our super freshman, and he was the wild-card that put Florida above everyone else in 2006. Without Tebow in 2006, the Gators would not have made it to the national championship game.
Fast forward one year to Tebow's sophemore year and the talk of the sports world was: "Can Tim Tebow be a full time starter?"
Tim Tebow answered that question on his stat line. In 2007, Tebow amassed Godly numbers, earning 32 passing touchdowns and 23 rushing touchdowns (an SEC record.) Tim Tebow himself was involved in 55 Florida touchdowns. No player in college football could even touch that.
The legend of Tim Tebow grew when he became the first sophemore to win the Heisman trophy. The Tebow hype was at an all time high going into the 2008 season. With more super freshman arriving to help Superman, there was once again talk of a national championship here in Gainesville.
Tebow's hard work and leadership became a symbol of Florida football. His place as the unrivaled leader on the team was solidified during his post-game press conference after Florida's one point loss to Ole Miss at The Swamp.
In the often replayed speech, Tebow promised the Florida fans that nobody would play harder or try harder than the Florida Gators for the remainder of the season. Tebow's teammates rallied behind his promise and ripped off eight straight victories on their way to the SEC Championship game.
It was in this game where the legend of Time Tebow grew again.
The Gators were trailing the undefeated and No. 1 team in the nation, Alabama, 20-17 going into the fourth quarter.
The Gators, rather, Tim Tebow, responded with the best quarter of football in his life. Tebow drove the Gators to an early fourth quarter touchdown to give the Gators the lead 24-20.
Tebow immediately went to the sideline and began talking to his defense. You could see the fire in his eyes has he yelled at the defense "I did my job, now you do yours!"
His teammates responded by shutting out the undefeated Crimson Tide in the fourth quarter.
Tebow played a perfect game as the Gators won their first SEC championship with Tebow as their starter. The win would propel the Gators to the BCS National Championship game.
Jan. 8th, 2009. Miami, Fla. It is here where the legend of Tim Tebow reached its highest plateau.
The first half was a disaster for Tebow, as he threw two interceptions early in the game. It should be noted that Tebow had only thrown two interceptions the entire season, prior to the National Championship game.
The game was tied 14-14 early in the fourth quarter, after a Sam Bradford touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham.
As he did in the SEC Championship game, Tim Tebow took over. But, this time, it was for all the marbles. The way Tebow ran the ball the rest of the game, was that of a man possessed.
Tim Tebow played harder than I thought was possible from a human. But, then again, he isn't human. He is Superman.
Tebow's outstanding fourth quarter clinched the National Championship for the Gators. The second for Tebow in a Gator uniform, his first as a starter.
Now, the legend of Tim Tebow is forever cemented at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. With his name in the stadium for his Heisman trophy, and his historic post-game speech now on a plaque on the stadium, Tebow's legacy has gone beyond original expectations. He is the greatest Gator ever.
Depending on what he does his senior season, he could become the greatest college football player ever.
But, in the eyes of Florida fans, we couldn't think any higher of him.