After saying "God bless you" to Josh McDaniels and the Denver Broncos for selecting him in the first round of the NFL Draft, Tim Tebow should express gratitude toward Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, and Brandon Marshall.
The 25th overall selection was not a value pick—it was a character pick. Who could harbor any resentment at Tebow the man who openly professes his faith, goes on mission trips, abstains from sexual activities, and still had enough time during his busy collegiate schedule to win a Heisman Trophy and two national championships at Florida?
Tebow is anti-Adam Jones, Michael Vick, and Tank Johnson—more likely to find him starring in a "Play 60" NFL spot than in the police blotter. That is why Denver traded multiple draft picks to take what amounts to a developmental quarterback.
How else can you explain Tebow getting drafted ahead of Jimmy Clausen, who attended Catholic-laced Notre Dame, although many regarded Clausen to be more talented than the former Gator signal-caller prior to the draft?
Well, when you have NFL apologists overlooking Tebow's bumbling performance at the Senior Bowl, which included several dropped snaps from under center, wobbly out route deliveries, and the inability to make quick decisions in the pocket to go out of their way to praise work ethic, desire, and a will to win that seems to be unique to the "Mile High Messiah" (You can thank a Tebow Wikipedia page entry for that nickname).
The more we were indoctrinated about Tebow's character, drive, and leadership being lauded by the national media on a weekly basis as being the reason for success at the next level, the more we all believed it. Anyone who dared to stray away from the "Yes, we can" mantra (sorry President Obama) to question Tebow's ability in the NFL were called haters and placed in the same category as Tea Party members.
There are legitimate concerns about Tebow and how effective he will be as a pro quarterback. However, the pro-Tebow camp have told the masses there is nothing to worry about because eventually a little hard work and a endearing attitude will go a long way in crafting him into a Pro Bowl caliber-player in the not-too-distant future.
I've held the stance that while Tebow was no doubt a great college football player at Florida, it will be difficult for him to emulate that same success in the NFL based on his current skill set.
Which brings me back to why Tebow was drafted in the first round. By no means am I sold on Clausen or former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. I don't believe either one will be impact contributors right away. However, there is something to be said that Clausen was not drafted the first day due to character concerns.
Several NFL teams expressed their displeasure with Clausen's perceived arrogance. Cleveland Browns President Mike Holmgren was quoted as saying, "I wished I liked (Clausen) more."
Arrogance and an inability to get along with McDaniels was the reason Cutler, a Pro Bowler, was traded from Denver to the Chicago Bears last season. Even though Brandon Marshall is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, he was dealt to the Miami Dolphins in part because his character.
Tebow was also helped to a degree by the Roethlisberger saga. AOL Fanhouse scribe Jay Mariotti went so far as to write a team should draft Tebow in the first round as a morality stance.
"If I ran an NFL franchise, I'd draft Tim Tebow in the first round and, for now, put him in a mascot suit. He's the perfect anti-toxin for what ails the NFL, the annual roll call of bad actors that now focuses on Ben Roethlisberger and what should be a four-game suspension, or much longer if the raw, creepy details of what happened that night in a Georgia bathroom stall are remotely accurate," Mariotti wrote in his column.
I know we are all tired of opening up our newspapers, turning on our HDTVs only to be inundated with reports that a star athlete was busted for drugs, drunk driving, or some other questionable late-night decisions.
However, that does not mean we should go overboard in placing a guy like Tebow on a deity pedestal for just being himself.
I respect Tebow for the person he is and the values he has. Bob and Pam Tebow should be commended for raising what appears to be a wonderful kid.
Nevertheless, lets not attempt to will Tebow into being a NFL starting quarterback on the basis that he says please and thank you to senior citizens on the street. Having great character and coming from a Christian background unfortunately does not translate to pro football stardom. Sure, NFL teams should taken in account character in addition to talent when determining who they will hand millions of dollars over to.
Just like talent shouldn't be the overriding factor in drafting players, character should not either.