Tim Tebow: Why Does Tebow Inspire So Much Love and Hate from Fans?

Adam LazarusSenior Analyst IMay 9, 2011

DENVER - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos rolls out and looks to deliver a pass against the Houston Texas at INVESCO Field at Mile High on December 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Texans 24-23.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

I've written literally hundreds of posts and articles during my tenure at Bleacher Report. I've commented on everything from the NFL and college football, to women's' tennis and MMA, to WAGs.

And by reading countless comments from the site's many great followers, I've noticed one trend above all others: Tim Tebow is a sure-fire way to rile up the readers. (Well, that and don't say anything bad about soccer!)

Yesterday I posted a list of the top 10 "reaches" in NFL draft history: see here: NFL Draft 2011: Jake Locker and the 10 Biggest Reaches in Draft History

Without a doubt, the most fervid and frequent comments were about my inclusion of Tim Tebow. Many were outraged that I said he was a "reach"; others were outraged that those people were outraged.

And that was hardly the only time I've ever dared to say something either flattering or unflattering about Tebow. Each time I've done so the comments have been just as passionate and heated.

On several levels, I can understand why so many people are defensive when it comes to the lefty. For one, he did amazing things at Florida, where fans are as loyal and loving as any. And considering his charitable works and the fact that he is such a leader whose character is beyond reproach, he is certainly a "good person," even a "role model."

But college greatness doesn't automatically make him a great pro: Matt Leinart won a pair of National Titles and was a two-time Heisman Trophy candidate, winning one. How'd that work out in the NFL?

And as much as we'd like it to be the case, great humanity has no bearing on the gridiron.

Most people—the experts, the arm-chair quarterbacks, and the fans—who knock Tebow, do so because they don't think he has the passing skills to translate to NFL brilliance. It's nothing personal.

Yet Tebow fans seem to take it as such. That makes me think "the lady doth protest too much." They probably share the same suspicions but don't want to admit it. If that's the case, that's less about loyalty and being a fan, and more about averting your eyes because you don't want to see the truth.

But I'm not content to let the Tebow detractors off the hook either. They think his delivery and arm strength are a major concern, as is the fact that he played in a quirky college offense that was loaded with talent. But I can't help but think that many of those peoples' dislike, even hatred, of Tebow stems from nothing more than the abundance of love for Tebow.

During his four years at Florida, any time CBS or ABC or Fox broadcast a UF game, Tebow was a golden boy who could do no wrong. And to hear Gator fans (and now Bronco) fans tell it, Tebow is some holy blend of Steve Young, John Elway and Ghandi.

That can get annoying after a while. As much as we aspire to it in our society, perfection can get boring; not to mention the concept of something being "too good to be true."

If that is the only reason you don't like Tebow, that's petty. And if it's the reason why you think he won't become a good NFL quarterback, it's stupid.

The bottom line is that both Tebow-worshippers and Tebow-haters should hope that ultimately he is judged for what happens on the field and only on the field. Yes, his off-the-field heroics are something to laud, but as a football player he should want to be judged on football merits.

That's something of a strange concept today, when players like Santonio Holmes, Tiger Woods, Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Favre and many more have (perhaps) tarnished their sports legacies because of an arrest, lawsuit or bad decision in their personal life.