September 27, 2008 -
I just want to say one thing.
To the fans and everybody in Gator Nation, I'm sorry, extremely sorry.
I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this.
You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season, and you will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season, and you will never see a team play harder that we will the rest of the season.
- Tim Tebow
Emotions ran high following the shocking loss to Ole Miss. The mighty Gator Nation was stunned and silent. No one on earth had been shaken to the core as much as Tim Tebow that fateful day.
During his postgame speech, you could hear the sorrow in his voice as he began to speak. You could feel the unease in his body language. You could read the fierce determination on his face.
And when he spoke those words, we witnessed something truly rare and precious.
First, Tim apologized and took full responsibility. Like the mythical Atlas, he bore the weight of the world on his shoulders. He did not flinch. He did not blame. He did not make excuses.
Then, he made a promise. He took an oath. He testified before Gator Nation that he would work harder than anyone, and that he would lead others to do the same.
Tim's testimony that day consisted of remorse, responsibility, promise, determination, strength, maturity, and leadership.
Who among us have ever made a promise like this? Who among us would even consider doing such a thing, especially in public and on the record? What drove him to even make such a testimony?
Only Tim knows why he felt that he needed to do this. We can only speculate. Perhaps he felt guilty. Perhaps he needed to reaffirm his devotion. Or, perhaps as a leader, he had no other choice.
I don't think any of us truly understood what Tim was pledging to us that day.
My thoughts were that he was emotional and was grieving as best he could. I could feel his pain. But, I thought with time, this promise would fade into the background, just another video clip buried in the digital world that has overtaken us. Just another snippet of distracting entertainment to mark the time.
Perhaps the team would work harder for a few games, I thought, but surely they could not maintain this work ethic for the rest of the season. I thought at some point they would falter. Tim would falter.
I was wrong.
Before the witnesses of the Georgia Dome, Tim's faith and hard work was made evident in the fourth quarter against Alabama. Some would describe his performance in the fourth quarter as amazing, improbable, even miraculous.
Tim Tebow has delivered on his promise. The entire team has delivered on his promise. And the strength and character that they have cultivated under Tim's leadership will last for the rest of their lives.
Tim is not only the leader of his team. He is a leader of the Gator Nation.
And the Gator Nation thanks him once again. God bless.