Tim Tebow. The name itself has the ability to create adulation or disdain in the hearts of many who encounter its sound.
Anyone who has read articles on the Bleacher Report knows the various types of diatribes that have been prevalent on the site over the past few weeks regarding Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Yet one would be hard pressed to find an athlete who creates the sense of polarization that accompanies Tebow. Either you love him, or you loathe him.
But who makes it this way? Furthermore, why does it have to be this way?
The answer? The double standard initiated by Tebow’s own supporters and their incessant desire to defend their boy.
Every other athlete in the NFL, and in all of professional sports for that matter, is able to be the subject of criticism without anyone even batting an eye—not Tebow, though. The fable goes that since he was a boy in high school (or maybe he was already a man, like King David) people have been telling him that he could not play quarterback at the professional level.
He even left a school to prove that he could—yet the story continued. He went to college and performed phenomenally. After a storied career that included becoming the only sophomore to win the Heisman trophy, he was once again told that he could not make it as a quarterback at the professional level.
However, like King David, Tebow managed to overcome the proverbial Goliath and make it to the professional level after being called upon by the modern day King Saul McDaniels—but the criticism still continues.
It can’t be because what the critics say about Tebow is actually true, it must be because they don’t like him. They hate him and that is an abomination.
If You Don’t Like Him
How can people not like Tebow?
Maybe it is because he is a vocal Christian athlete. Maybe it is because he is just too darn good for people even to be able to comprehend. Or, and this may be a stretch for some, maybe it’s because he is a professional athlete and with that comes criticism; it is not personal.
I am going to go with the latter.
I know that it may be impossible to fathom, but maybe there are those out there who will acknowledge the fact that Tebow is the greatest human to ever live, but that still does not change the fact that he lacks certain skills at this juncture in his career.
Since when does being a good person equate to being a great professional quarterback? Lord knows we have been made privy to a bevy of morally inept quarterbacks who are great.
When I hear about all of those in the Tebow flock who insinuate that those who are critical of Tebow are “haters” I automatically think of LeBron James. Different sport, I admit, but the premise is the same.
When LeBron made his “decision” it was purported by Lebron that the major mitigating factor as to why he received so much backlash was race. Not that he made an immature decision and acted like a completed jackass—it was race.
The same can be said for those who love Tebow and hope that their children can grow up to be half the man that he has become (this is not made up, it was actually written in an article).
Then You Must Hate Him
When faced with the criticism of Tebow, his contingency automatically throw out egregious accusations of being a “hater” and “less of a fan” and even take things way too personally (this is sports folks) and start to make insidious comments with regard to the critics’ faith base. After all, it cannot be about football, it has to be about religion now.
Instead of facing the questions regarding Tebow’s throwing motion, his sub 60 percent completion rate, his 1-2 overall record as a starter, and the fact that he missed a lot of open receivers in his last start, they refuse to acquiesce.
They deflect to the fact that Tebow spent his Spring Break in the Philippines doing missionary work and performing surgery with his father while all the other kids in Gainesville were on South Beach. Or they may mention that Tebow takes being a role model “seriously” (he’s a role model for role models) and spends time praying with sick children.
These all call to the upstanding man that Tebow is, and they are absolutely irrefutable. No critic of Tebow’s has ever called his determination, work ethic, desire, or character into question. Nor have they made notice of his personal life decisions.
Because at the very same time, they have absolutely nothing to do with football.
When OTAs start and Tebow arrives at camp, he, depending on the coach, will be the incumbent starting quarterback. With that is going to come both expectations and criticism. If Tebow happens to lose more than he wins, there will be backlash—this isn't Gainesville.
Will Tebow be able to live up to the hype that his flock continually presents before him? Nobody knows. Just to make sure—nobody knows. Being a winner in college does not automatically equate to being a winner in the pros. Just ask Matt Leinhart.
The Double Standard: Tebow is Above Criticism
So what is this double standard?
It simply stems from the fact that it is literally impossible to be critical of Tebow, as a player, without being accused of hating the guy as a person (hater), or disregarding the fact that he is a man amongst boys. If you criticize Tebow, well, you are just plain stupid.
With all of the talk of how hard he works, how much preparation he puts in, and how his winning attitude has completely reinvigorated a team that went 1-2 in his starts, it is important to examine how unique his situation is and why he is just so darn special.
Tebow is the first athlete ever to overcome an obstacle on his way to the NFL.
Forget about the plethora of athletes who survived crack ridden homes in the ghetto where the echo of gunfire and the threat of being shot every day haunted them, Tebow’s story is unique. His high school coach told him he wanted him to play running back, or tight end and that was just the motivation that Tebow needed. It was a life altering situation.
I can think of several athletes who also overcame obstacles to fulfill their dream. Denver’s own Rod Smith and Terrell Davis come to mind right off the top. Smith was undrafted and Davis was on the verge of being cut before they got their breaks. Even Michael “The Blindside” Oher’s story pales in comparison to Tebow. But Tebow’s movie is coming—the documentary was only the beginning. Yes, Tebow’s story is different.
If one were to mention the notion of bringing in a veteran QB to battle Tebow, which Michael Keller has vehemently suggested, all hell breaks loose—he’s a “hater” too.
Every move that seems to make perfect, logical football sense, as bringing in a veteran (or keeping Orton) would, somehow gets misconstrued as the conspirators making scathing remarks about Tebow.
Hope Springs Eternal
In reading and writing this article, those with the Tebow acumen and acuity will recognize me as a “hater” too.
Nevertheless, I would be remiss if I did not add that I do like Tim Tebow. Sarcasm aside, I think that he is a fantastic role model, and his desire to be the best that he can possibly be, coupled with the success that he has had despite “haters” is indeed inspiring.
However, the double standard that he has been given (not requested by Tebow himself, mind you) is utterly ridiculous.
I do hope that Tebow turns out to be successful, and I do hope that it is in a Broncos uniform. The franchise has waited a long time for someone to take us back to the Promised Land, and if it is not Tebow, then that just means the Denver Broncos, and their fans are in for a longer road than desired.
Which is really what this is all about, is it not? Yes, it is a veritable truth that football is merely a game and there are bigger things in life than this petty little sport. Tebow’s touch spans way beyond the NFL. However, there are other blog sites to talk about those things.
This is a football blog site, so we are going to talk about football.
In doing so, criticisms of Tebow are going to be prevalent. Granted, some may be unjustified, but as mentioned before, it comes with the territory. Fans were critical of Elway, they are critical of Manning, Brady and Brees too—and it was never personal. It is not personal now.
So let us get back to talking about football.
And get rid of the double standard that Tebow never asked for.