Hating Tim Tebow Doesn't Make You Cool

Virgil RichardsonContributor IAugust 10, 2009

Do you have any idea how tired I am of people dogging Tim Tebow? Especially people who are in any of the following categories:


Football Fans.





Everyone else, go ahead and hate the guy.


I get it. I know how it works. I grew up in a town where the vast majority of boys were either die-hard Gator or Seminole fans. Oddly, not a lot of Hurricanes fans, but that doesn’t surprise me because most my friends had IQs in double digits.


I literally had a friendship end over the game played the last weekend in November every year. We had been friends our whole lives, but an argument started over who was better, somebody said something about someone’s mamma, and next thing you know, we were sitting at different lunch tables.


I was 12, ok?


But lately I have been hearing more and more people talking bad about Timmy He15man as if that makes them hip. Somehow there’s a perception that has developed that if you’re the one (or two) guy(s) that has something negative to say about him, you’re the cool kid(s) in the class.


Changing his last name to “Te-blow” and then slapping high-five with your buddies and then pounding another light beer is equal parts original and hilarious. It shows everyone that you mean business and you are far and away superior when it comes to all things college football related.


Yeah... no it doesn’t. It makes you a dolt.


So you’re a football fan? Here’s a guy that in three years has won two National Championships (the only QB in the BCS era to do so), the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore (the first ever to do that), set multiple conference and NCAA records, and is widely recognized as one of the best clutch players in the nation, especially on short-yardage situations. He has been called by many the “best short-yardage running back in college football.” A “running back” who has thrown for 6200 yards and 70 touchdowns in only two years as a starter.


“But you could say the same about a lot of college athletes! Why is Tebow special?”


Great question. Thanks for asking. The majority of my friends are professing Christians. A large percentage of those who are not at least believe in some “higher power” and feel that living by a moral compass of sorts is the center point at which to aim their behavior.


Tim Tebow, at 21, is finishing up his junior year in college. In his three-year career at Florida, he has been on five missions trips. He has spoken at prisons more times than even his coaching staff and “handlers” at the UF Sports Information office can confirm. He has fed hungry kids. He has lived in orphanages and a freaking leper colony.




His Christian influence is undeniable, even for the most fervent “haters.” His coach was so moved by Tim’s personal walk that he took the Meyer family on their own missions trip to the Dominican Republic to feed starving children last summer. Then there’s the eye black. While most of your favorite players write something horribly meaningful like their zip codes (or my personal favorite “street money”) on their eye strips, Timmy prefers scripture.


Usually he goes with “Phil 4:13” (I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength) but decided to mix it up in the National Championship game. Instead, he went with “John 3:16.” Basically, the Gospel in a nutshell.


Check this out—he put the most memorized, widely-known verse in the Bible on his face during the most televised game of the year in what was the most attended game ever played in Dolphins Stadium. It seems like everyone I know can probably tell you what that verse says. But apparently not everyone in America. During the telecast on Fox, the #1 most searched term on Google was “John 3:16.” Think about that for a minute.


I have been involved with church for a long time and have attended churches with 10,000 members and churches with ten. But nobody I have ever met at any of those churches has ever had such a measurable, immediate impact on the culture that a football player from Florida had one Thursday night in January. A 21-year-old football player. What were you doing at 21?


I’m not naïve enough to think that hundreds (or even tens) of people got saved because they googled Tim Tebow’s eye black. But the fact that he is exposing people to the gospel is undeniable and should be pretty exciting, even if you don’t “buy into the whole Christianity thing.” How bad would it be if mainstream celebs (read: role models) were a lot less “Pacman Jones-ish” and a lot more "Tim Tebow-ish?" What if our youth were infatuated with selfless servants and cared less about dog-drowning thugs?


The one thing every church I have been to has in common is that they aim to be relevant. How can you not like a guy who is all at once the most relevant college player on the planet and uses his platform to speak the name of Jesus? Repeatedly! And he’s not like most athletes/actors/musicians who spend all their time being "Street" but then suddenly get religion when they win something and have a microphone shoved in their grill. This kid lives it. I wish I loved God as much as this kid does.


Between you and me, how can you not like the guy? Honestly, I know he doesn’t play for your team. And I know that means that you have to not like him in public, but seriously- shouldn’t you pull for the kid every week he’s not playing your team? Probably my two favorite NFL players of all time are Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn. Anybody know where they went to school?


(I’ll wait while you google it, but here’s a clue—it rhymes with FSU.)


So keep hating Tebow because my team got him and yours didn’t. Fine. That’s not going to take away his four rings, his Heisman, or any of the rest of it. It won’t change the fact that the SEC went 6-2 in bowl games (and 2-0 in games against the big, bad Big 12 quarterbacks …)


It certainly won’t change his character, which as far as I can tell is way more important than any of that other stuff.


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