Why People Worship Tim Tebow

Ryan FliederContributor IOctober 6, 2009

LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 26: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators looks up at the scoreboard during the second quarter of the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 26, 2009 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

If you don't hate me already, get ready to.

I've been absolutely perplexed as to why people love Tim Tebow as much as they do. He's a great college player, but people treat him as though he's the second coming of Christ in shoulder pads.

He's transcended beyond "a good football player"hell, beyond "one of the best college athletes of all time"and he's treated like a folk hero by about half the country.

I get why you'd like him. He's a great college player.

I get why you'd adore him. He's a strong Christian character.

I even get why you'd love him. For all he's done, at the very least even I'd admit that Tim Tebow is most of the reason why the Southeast region of the United States has gained so much national attention, respect, and adoration.

But people don't just like Tim Tebow. They don't just adore him, or even love him.

People worship him.

I'd been mulling this over, because for all my rants about how Florida is overrated or how people are oblivious to the circuitous logic regarding college football—Man, the SEC is so great! Only SEC offenses can stand up to SEC defenses! And only SEC defenses are good enough to face SEC offenses! Therefore the SEC has both the best offenses and defenses in the country!—I never understood why people truly worship Tim Tebow.

And then it popped into my head.

Tim Tebow is white. He plays like a stereotypical black quarterbacknot all that accurate of a thrower, not fast enough to be a pure running back, but damn, can he make plays with his feetbut he's white.

I'd participated in some discussions about making an all-white Madden 10 team because I thought it was interesting (and if you do it, it's like The Twilight Zone because it's just weird to look at).

I'd even talked often about the stereotypes of "black" and "white" for positions in footballlike why Ian Johnson went undrafted, why people are always quick to point out how "evasive" JaMarcus Russell is when he throws the ball into the ground five feet short of a receiver...and all the stereotypes regarding players like Darren Sproles being talked about like cattle because he isn't big like all the other black running backs.

It honestly made me happy when I saw Danny Woodhead run for a long touchdown in the preseason, because I think I feel the same type of sports marginalization that women talk about when they quote statistics about how some high percentage of company CEOs are white men or how black Americans talk about the high percentage discrepancy of white coaches versus non-white players.

Obviously I'm not trying to directly equate college football with the civil rights movements, but it's the same type of feeling diluted and constrained to a game.

The feeling doesn't really change, though...and I'm waiting in anticipation for the day when a black player doesn't need to be able to run to play quarterback, and the day when a white player doesn't automatically get relegated to fullback or linebacker when he can't throw.

So in that light, Tim Tebow is way more than a player. He's a symbol that a white guy can go and be a super stereotypical white-Christian-moral-leader but play just like JaMarcus Russell or Vince Young. In fact, he's BETTER than they were!

People worship Tim Tebow because he's a symbol of white racial angst. It's a sort of "Take THAT, black athletes!" lurking in the subconscious of every white person who talks nonstop about how he's the best college football player of all time.

He's worshipped because he's a "black quarterback"but he's not black.