I remember the day even now.
Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009: the annual football game between LSU and Florida, a bloodbath in the Deep South that involved two victory-hungry fanbases and enough pro prospects to field a full NFL team. There is a distinct possibility that all 11 of Florida's defensive starters that day will be playing in the NFL in the next three years.
And all of that was forgotten for one man—Tim Tebow.
Tebow has won two National Championships as quarterback for Florida to go along with being the first-ever sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. He was home-schooled and grew up in a significantly religious family. His father is a powerful spiritual leader for an Evangelical church, and Tebow himself is famous for his pilgrimages to various prisons and developing countries to help the impoverished and influence people to join his church.
It is often the case in sports today that ESPN chooses who our sports heroes are far us: Pittsburgh Penguins' forward Sidney Crosby, basketball players LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Kobe Bryant, the members of the New York Yankees, and Tim Tebow.
Although Tebow is a good player, it is always odd to see him getting the accolades and praise that he receives. In the July 27, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated, he was pictured on the cover with a determined scowl on his face. The article inside was headlined, "You Gotta Love Tim Tebow," and consisted of a passionate love letter to the man.
His connection to God is normal, but to see someone flaunt it at every possible turn is nauseating: his comments about how he is waiting for God to tell him who to vote for in the 2008 presidential election; making it very public that he is a virgin—despite the fact that his alleged girlfriend could possibility bring the Internet to a standstill if she ever became famous; declining a spot on the Playboy All-American team because of the misogynist nature of the magazine—and then being photographed shirtless in GQ a couple months later.
When Florida played Kentucky last year, cameras caught Tebow screaming red-faced at his offensive line. He was jumping up and down, pumping his arms, getting right in their faces. Broadcasters referred to the moment as "Tebow pumping his team up. He's a leader, he's telling them to get going."
The next day, the Buffalo Bills lost to the New Orleans Saints by double digits in which Terrell Owens goes without a catch. Both men have similar reactions, yet it's Owens who gets blasted later on the postgame recaps.
Tebow, ever since he first chose to play his amateur football at UF, has been the most talked about athlete by a wide margin, even though his skill set and style of play leave him little hope for success as the pro level.
He has no significant college passing records—a large amount of SEC records, though—and spent the first month of every college year dominating D-II schools. He was drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos, who apparently decided to draft their player based on character rather then on skill level.
His play for Denver this preseason has been about average. People would rather talk about him and ignore the outstanding improvements of fellow QB, Kyle Orton.
His supporter's chalk him up as a selfless individual, but he is known as a scrambling quarterback, a selfish quality that has doomed the pro careers of Akili Smith, Michael Vick, and Vince Young.
The greatness of Tim Tebow is as false as any politician running for office. His trips to the deepest and darkest southern hemisphere prisons to lecture inmates about God are as false as Sean Penn bringing photographers with him to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina so his "acts of kindness" could be aired all over the world.
ESPN analyses tell glowing remarks about his character. They are as lame as Fox News reporters preaching conservative ideals, or Bill Maher discussing Barack Obama like he's some 21st century prophet. It's not a bad thing to think of Tebow as a great quarterback, but he doesn't deserve to be called one.