Why do I root for Tim Tebow? I'll start this off by saying I was originally rooting for Tebow to fail. I didn't like him in college when he and Florida over-matched everyone. I didn't like that he wrote a book. I didn't like all the hype. I didn't like that he was picked in the 1st round. Everything was ready for me to completely hate him. Oh, yes, I watched that first game in Week 7 with glee, deep in the fourth quarter Tebow had thrown for something like 4-14, with 40 yards passing. His career was going to end right there, crushing millions of fans' hopes and dreams.
And then something happened. Tebow was just entering what we all now know as "Tebow time."
The Broncos scored with 2:39 left. They were still down 15-7. So, of course, Denver recovered an onside kick and drove back down the field to score. They needed two points and Tebow got it because we were in Tebow time. Miami wins the overtime coin toss and, of course, Denver forces a fumble and Niel Prater kicks in the game winner. At the time this seemed borderline miraculous. Denver has now made it common.
Why do I root for Tim Tebow? Because he does this. He and his team are completely compelling unlike anything I've seen in a while for football. The Packers are awesome in a machine like way. The Broncos are awesome in a "I can't explain how that all happened" kind of way. I think the second part is much more interesting.
Detroit mocked Tebow in a 45-10 loss, and it only seemed to empower him. He rises again seven days later and beats the Raiders, a team "building a beast." But Tebow is the beast, and Denver ran for 299 yards. Tebow ran for 118 yards and threw for 124. Denver scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for a 38-24 win. Don't they get it? You can't mock him. You have to kill him.
Kansas City gave up 244 yards on the ground. Tebow completed two of eight. Denver won 17-10. The Jets were supposed to put an end to all this nonsense. Tebow ran it in from 20 yards out to cap a 95-yard drive to win the game 17-14. Rex Ryan hasn't been heard from since.
Why do I root for Tim Tebow? He shuts up Rex Ryan. Ryan is a bully, right? He's big, loud, and you would have hated him at school. He's Biff Tannen from Back to the Future. Tebow would have punched him in the mouth for picking on his sister. That's why I root for Tim Tebow.
Another reason is Tim Tebow beats the Chargers, a team that is so fun to watch implode. They were a teetering shell, and Tebow ran at them 22 times. He's a battering ram, knocking down the door to their crumbling castle. You combine him with Willis MaGahee's 23 runs and it's like taking a two-by-four to an old vase. Namely: good fun!
It's old school. It's Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns. It's getting t-boned by a Humvee. It's a full blown college running game. It's the movie Fight Club on a football field. You know you want to see them do this to the Steelers, to the Patriots, to the Cowboys. That's why I root for Tim Tebow.
I love this. How could anyone not like it? It's throw back and classic. It's hard-nosed. It's Larry Czonka and the cage face mask thing. It's Earl Cambell with an option. It's running over people. People love it when Marshawn Lynch does it—why not an entire offense? Detractors will say Tebow has bad mechanics, that he's playing an antiquated game in a modern league, that he is not a long-term solution.
All of these whiny naysayers are exactly why I root for Tim Tebow.
Football has "evolved" into something where the NFL Scouting Combine replaces intangible, unmeasurable things. It why Mel Kiper Jr. has a job and analysts talk about how many reps a guy can do on the bench, and how long his wingspan is. It's saying Alex Smith's hands are too small. It's erudites like Malcolm Gladwell weighing in on the right way to predict quarterback ability while using it as a bridge to talk about predicting teacher success.
Tebow bucks all of this. That's why I root for him. He freaks everybody out—even me, when I watch him go through three quarters and then watch something akin to divine intervention save him. It's something almost totally implausible and compelling. Bill Simmons says its analogous to watching someone walk across a highway and not get hit by a car. And then watching him do it again, and again. That's why I root for Tim Tebow.
He calls into question sports analysts and journalists and anyone else taking the heart out of football and replacing it with miles of metrics. Oh, and you know that makes them nervous. He has the qualities that can't be measured and thus so easily overlooked: heart, optimism, camaraderie. A certain mystical mix that makes it all work on the field above and beyond arm strength and footwork.
I root for Tim Tebow because he represents something in so many of us. Something the modern world wants to chip away at so that we can become replaceable parts. If you can break a quarterback down to raw measurements, you can replace him when needed. It's hubris. It's the Indianapolis Colts thinking anyone—much less Andrew Luck—can replace someone like Peyton Manning. Manning goes out and the Colts might not win a game all year. Tebow comes in and the Broncos have gone 7-1. You can measure the intangibles by the bottom line of wins and losses.
Are Manning and Tebow responsible for all this alone? No. But football players want to be led. They want to look to the quarterback in the huddle and see in his eyes that this is going to work. This is true all over. Everyone wants this, whether at work or in sport. You want to know the other person gets it, not that they read it in some book, or that this has been preordained on some burndown chart.
I root for Tebow because he's sincere at heart. People talk about his Tebowing, but I find nothing wrong with faith. He's not a fanatic. He doesn't demand that you Tebow too. He does what he does and he is what is he. He makes you believe. I root for him because I believe ultimately he is destined to fail. I believe this will not last forever and teams will relentlessly analyze him and break him apart. The machine will win over desire, but for now we get to watch it run wild.
And I root for Tim Tebow because may or may not be dating Lindsey Vonn. And that's cool. Just to be under speculation to be dating Lindsey Vonn is cool. Oh, and she Tebows. Yeah, I'm a believer. Tebow has his disciples. They say either root for him or go to hell. He has an army and they do that work for him--for free. And I became one of them.
That's why I root for Tebow.