I admit: I cannot think of a single reason why I should be a Tim Tebow fan.
In 2006, I moved to Tallahassee to attend graduate school at Florida State, which coincided perfectly with Tebow’s time at Florida. To say the guy tormented the Seminoles from 2006-09 would be the understatement of the century. I also have no reason to root for him on the Broncos, as I grew up a Seattle Seahawks fan and never really saw a need to root for division rivals.
As an atheist, Tebow’s evangelical beliefs aren’t really interesting to me. I also assume that we would agree on very little politically, though the only issue I can remember him commenting on was his Super Bowl commercial for "Focus on the Family."
And to tell you the truth, his pro-Mom Tackling belief is one I just cannot get behind. Really, about the only thing I have in common with the guy is the fact that we are both left-handed.
By all accounts, I have no reason at all to like Tim Tebow. In fact, there are plenty of reasons why I should absolutely despise him.
And yet, I cannot help but root for the guy and wish him the best every single Sunday.
Not a Quarterback, a Football Player
Unlike many football fans, I never doubted that Tebow had a place in the NFL. In fact, I actually thought that he would be an impact player much earlier than most first-round quarterbacks, for one simple reason: Tebow possesses a specific skill that is superior to every other player in football.
Simply put, Tebow is the best I’ve ever seen at converting on 3rd-and-1. I have known this ever since the 2006 Florida vs. Florida State game, when Urban Meyer seemed to bring in Tebow (a freshman at the time) every time the Gators needed a short-yardage play.
Nothing that happened over the next three years convinced me otherwise, and it didn’t matter if Tebow was running people over like a bulldozer or side-arming a pass to a receiver that somehow got open.
In a sport that is increasingly becoming a chess match between specialized players, there is something to be said for that kind of talent. Tebow would still be able to make an impact on the field even while learning the ins and outs of being a pro-style quarterback, and it always gave him something to fall back on even if he could not cut it under center.
However, it seems that this skill has gone undervalued by many NFL fans, who only see Tebow’s unorthodox throwing motion and less-than-stellar arm strength and assume he must be a terrible quarterback instead of looking at the total package and seeing he is an excellent football player.
It’s like thinking Luke Skywalker is a horrible Jedi knight because his lightsaber skills resulted in the acquisition of a mechanical hand.
The other thing that seems to turn people off about Tebow is that he is very open with his religious beliefs. I admit that this is far from my favorite trait, but he is hardly the only athlete who wears their religion on their sleeves.
Tebow also seems like a genuinely nice guy (too nice, if anything), and his beliefs have also resulted in numerous charity missions to feed and clothe the needy.
Say what you want about the motivation of that charity work, but it is far easier to have respect for Tebow’s beliefs than those athletes whose religious motivation amounts to little more than hoping a genie grants them three wishes.
Still, there are others out there who simply think Tebow is getting too much media love, and perhaps they have a point. But then again, it’s not like Tebow is new to the spotlight; the national media has known about him since Sports Illustrated signaled him out as a "Face in the Crowd."
And Tebow has always been a compelling character for a media narrative: an unorthodox quarterback with an interesting back-story who leads his team to a great season, and doing so in one of the most entertaining ways possible. The fact that this year’s success was so unexpected is simply icing on the cake.
I find it increasingly bizarre that Tebow has become the most polarizing athlete of our generation. By all accounts, Tebow is a good-natured, hard-working player who possesses an innate ability to rally those around him. Shouldn’t this be a guy we want to root for?
I sure do, even as a Florida State fan. OK, and a fan of southpaw signal-callers.