I try to leave the sports writing and opinions to my friends, Les and Chris, here at the Times-Tribune, but as a big sports fan, the occasional story will grab my attention.
Tim Tebow is a professional quarterback who even non-sports fans have likely heard of.
He played for the Florida Gators in college, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007, and a national championship in 2008.
In 2010, he was drafted by the Denver Broncos to play quarterback in the NFL.
In 2011, he became their full-time starter leading to one of the biggest media frenzies I can remember.
Tebow had captivated sports fans and the nation alike by being both an outstanding athlete and also someone who vocally admits his love for Jesus Christ.
As the 2011 NFL season progressed, the Broncos won a lot of games during Tebow’s tenure as starting quarterback. Many of the games were very close, however, with the outcomes being decided by some late-game heroics by Tebow. Sports fans started calling this “Tebow Time” as Tebow seemed to really turn it up a notch when games were on the line.
Tebow and the Broncos ended up winning enough games to make the playoffs that year, defeating the traditional powerhouse Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round.
Despite the success, Tebow and the Broncos drew a lot of harsh criticism by everyone in the media.
They started out by criticizing the strength of their schedule because many of the victories were against average or below-average teams.
Then the football analysts began to attack Tebow personally as many felt he really wasn’t that great of a quarterback most of the time. It was the general consensus that Tebow was not necessarily leading his team to victories, but was merely doing everything he could to not lose games for the Broncos.
Tebow also began to draw criticism when he would profess his faith on the field.
Many times after scoring a touchdown, he would point up to Heaven thanking God.
He would also take a knee on the sidelines and pray. This led to the social media sensation of “Tebowing” where people all across the globe would post pictures of themselves kneeling down like Tebow.
These celebrations caused many of the players in the locker room to speak out in protest as his professions of faith made them uncomfortable. They felt as if Tebow was trying to force his faith onto them.
Once word of these protests got out, the analysts had even more to debate as they argued whether Tebow was crossing the line praising God on the football field.
As more and more TV personalities began to bash Tebow, the general public started to turn against Tebow, as well, due to the overexposure. It seemed as though sports fans began to blame him for all the attention he was drawing.
Every little complaint people could find, they would throw at him. If the Broncos won, it was because the defense bailed them out. If the Broncos lost, it was because Tebow played terribly.
I’m not arguing whether all that is true, but in my opinion, it was a lot of criticism placed on one person’s shoulders simply because he went out and played hard for his team, all the while praising the Lord.
Tebow never asked for the attention. Sports analysts and fans turned what should be a positive story into a running joke.
Tebow eventually got traded to the New York Jets as Denver brought in University of Tennessee alum Peyton Manning. Following a 2012 season where Tebow never did thrive as the Jets quarterback, he was waived and is currently a free agent.
It is such a shame to me when you look at the sinful lives that many other famous athletes and celebrities lead. Most of them get idolized and praised for the decisions they make. And they would never get scolded as much as someone who is just trying to be a witness for Jesus Christ.
Luke 9:25 says, “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself.”
In this instance, Luke 9:25 reminds us that winning all the trophies and awards doesn’t really mean anything if you have to turn your back on the Lord in the process.
Tim Tebow earned many accolades throughout college and his first few years in the NFL, but he always remembered to thank God and keep God first in everything.
He is truly an inspiration for me, and should be an inspiration for everyone.
Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com