Saturday, December 03, 2011

What's Really Behind The Tebow Bashing?

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall
I am not really a Florida Gators fan nor a Denver Broncos fan but I have been following the strange twists and turns of Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow's journey in the NFL. Tebow, who had arguably one of the most accomplished and recognized college football careers in my lifetime while winning the Heisman trophy and two national championships, was predicted by many football experts to be an utter failure in the NFL.

It was said that Tebow's style of play, his unorthodox throwing motion and the previous lack of success of many QB's coming out of a pro style offense in college would mean that Tebow had no chance of a productive NFL career.  The Broncos surprised most football observers by taking him with the 25th pick in the 2010 draft and some commentators scratched their heads in what they felt was a wasted pick by Denver.

Fast-forwarding late into the 2011 season, Tebow still has much to improve in his game (as most young quarterbacks do), but his team is consistently winning games and looking towards a potential spot in the playoffs. In a league where winning is supposedly all that matters, I've been surprised by the consistent negativity that has been directed towards Tebow.

Larry Taunton has written a splendid piece in the USA Today that, in my opinion, hits the nail on the head as it pertains to Tebow. Taunton says this about the Tebow detractors:
"Now 5-1 as a starter, Tebow's critics are indignant that the Gainesville upstart didn't pack his cleats and go home the moment they declared him inadequate. The simple fact is, they want him to fail. And now, after so much ink and vitriol predicting just that, they need him to fail. So what gives? Why does even Tebow's own coaching staff and management offer so little public support? 
Jake Plummer, the latest to take pot shots at the embattled Denver quarterback, might have been speaking for anti-Tebowites everywhere when he said in an interview on a Phoenix radio station that he would like Tebow more if he would "shut up" about his faith in Jesus Christ. And with that little comment, the cat, as they say, was out of the bag. Plummer said what the commentators wouldn't say. Their dislike for Tim Tebow is not, as they would have us believe, about his throwing motion or his completion percentage; it's all about his open professions of faith and his goody-two shoes image. 
When it comes right down to it, we don't want heroes who are truly good. We want them to fail the occasional drug test or start a bar fight from time to time. It makes us feel better about ourselves. Tebow, however, doesn't make us feel better about ourselves. People like him make us feel a little convicted about the things we say and do. So we find a reason to dislike them. Or, when Tebow says that glory goes to God and the credit for a victory goes to his teammates, coaches, and family, we are suspicious. An increasingly jaded culture, we don't believe that anyone can say such things and really mean them."
As a fellow evangelical, I can't help but feel that at least some of the animosity that is directed towards Tim Tebow has to do with the openness with which he talks about his faith. It seems to me that Taunton is onto something here. The amount of criticism that Tebow has received is simply not commensurate with the winning ways of his team. There has to be something else beyond just football to cause so many "experts" to be so fixated on Tebow and I think Taunton has it pegged.

When it comes down to it, Tim Tebow is a winner, is well-liked by his teammates and is someone, from all appearances, that lives a life that is consistent with the beliefs he professes. From my perspective, I wish more professional athletes were like Tim Tebow and I find myself rooting him on as the season progresses and frustrated analysts seek to find new ways to justify their negative views towards him. Tim Tebow is far from perfect but I hope he finds years of success in the NFL.

To read Larry Taunton's complete article please click here.  


Unknown said...

This is so dead on. I mean Tebow is taking some serious persecution and I know its because of his faith. God bless him, he is living out 1 Peter (well I hope he is rejoicing in persecution). Either way good article Crocker.

scottmcrocker said...

Thanks, Tyshan. I do wonder if we'll see any analysts begin to backtrack if he continues winning. Should be interesting.