As cliché as it may sound, I believe that all would agree that New York is the biggest stage there is in professional sports.
It's the ultimate fishbowl, a place where an athlete can showcase their talents, capture the hearts of the New York faithful and bask in the inimitable glow that comes only when one is lionized and celebrated in the greatest city in the world.
Derek Jeter is unequivocally a fixture in the Big Apple, and has accomplished more than most sports icons could even hope for. He may very well be as close to New York sports royalty that we will ever see.
But in the waning hours of an incomprehensibly successful career, Jeter is becoming more and more mortal, something that compels us to look for the heir apparent—someone to assume the role of the king of New York sports.
Yes, Eli Manning has a fairly impressive resume as well, but despite his penchant for winning the big game and his Super Bowl rings, Manning has never managed to elevate himself to regal status.
This is not a knock on Manning.
The two-time Super Bowl MVP is a true gentleman and a paragon of humility, discipline and selflessness. But those qualities, while certainly worthy of emulation, do not catapult athletes into the realm of deities.
David Wright comes to mind, but the onerous burden of carrying the entire New York Mets' team for all these years has proven to be too much for a nice kid from Virginia.
The New York Rangers certainly have many talented players, but one is more non-descript than the next.
And while New York Knicks' upstart Jeremy Lin set the city and entire NBA on fire for a couple of weeks with his mystical feats, “Linsanity” proved to be, just as many basketball pundits predicted, a blip, a transitory glimpse into the sort of idol worship and fanaticism that all of us here in New York crave insatiably.
Enter Tim Tebow.
Sanchez still is the New York Jets starting quarterback.
However, those who were in the midst of planning the coronation for Sanchez have found that disappointment and trepidation have replaced expectation and jubilation.
Last year proved one thing, fairy tales are just that—the slipper does not always fit.
Enter Tim Tebow.
I know many New York fans are incredulous about Tebow’s ability to play quarterback in the NFL. Some of these “nay-sayers” are my friends and fellow Gang Green supporters.
Come on folks, let’s be fair. Give this young man a chance. These are exciting times.
Besides, as a life long Jets fan who has suffered enough, there is no room here for negativity—I need to be optimistic.
We all do.
Tebow has excellent football skills. He also plays the game with a unique blend of boyish enthusiasm and gritty resolve.
This makes Tebow special—it makes him a winner.
Even though the jury is still out as to whether or not Tebow can be successful in a traditional offensive scheme (if that’s what the Jets ultimately decide to do), he also possesses something else of note.
Something intangible, something that is the other prerequisite for laying claim to the kingdom.
Tebow is endowed with a magnetism that is rarely seen, a hypnotic allure that lies suspended somewhere in the amalgamation of his extraordinary athleticism and his charismatic, somewhat idiosyncratic on-field presence.
The fact that Tebow has made such a significant impact on the sport and is still not even two years removed from the college ranks underscores his exceptional ability and limitless potential.
But it is the other facet of his persona that speaks to us: the flair or panache with which he conducts his weekly business that is so captivating.
Tebow is the sort of athlete who makes you suspend what you are doing for the moment and watch when you pass a television set.
Tebow has that savoir faire.
Anytime a community of ardent spectators successfully alters the grammatical usage of a player’s name (unlike the short lived “Linsanity,” “Tebowing” is still alive and well) it suggests that something rather special is unfolding.
When the season opens up in the fall, the Jets and Rex Ryan have stated publicly that Mark Sanchez will be the starting quarterback for the New York Jets.
I believe that is true. And it may be the case for several weeks.
But make no mistake about it; Tim Tebow will see the field before long, and while there are obviously no guarantees, he will get his opportunity to capture our imaginations and perhaps endear himself to us forever in New York sports folklore.
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