Why Tim Tebow Ticks (People Off)

Why Tim Tebow Ticks (People Off)

The Denver Broncos just finished another game for the record books. All week we heard talk about the “Third Down package” involving backup QB Brady Quinn that was ready should Tebow struggle. We all knew the leash would be short should Tim Tebow look less than average with his passing.

(Small disclosure: I just bought a Tim Tebow Broncos jersey because I’m a Broncos fan and I happen to like the Tebow guy, but more on that later. I get no checks for endorsing the guy, but should that change, please send me an email publicity guys and I’ll gladly take a donation to baby-coming-soon = poor dad fund.)

As I write, Tebow Norris threw for a season high 312 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers – no other QB has done this all season long. This includes a pretty decent (or ‘dease if you happen to be from a Midwestern state and like to shorten words to sound cool like my buddy from Ohio) QB by the name of Brady who owns more than a few Superbowl rings and nifty records. This included several long, well-placed passes.

So where am I going with this?

No, it’s not a shoot-from-the-hip blog about Tim Tebow being the greatest QB of all time, or even a post about his chances at a hall of fame position some day in the future. I don’t know if Tebow will remain a viable NFL QB – perhaps he will and perhaps he won’t. (This blog is called Graced.Me, after all.) It’s not even a bandwagon post, though I’m riding this one ’til the wheels come off and beyond as a fan.

Tim Tebow is one of those guys that Americans love to love and others love to hate. And that’s what I want to talk about. The question is,well, why?

I will submit that many people like Tim Tebow because he inspires people. I think very few of his most ardent fans will argue he’s Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, or John Elway. Instead, he’s the guy that inspires the team on to victory. He intangibly makes those around him better. I even liked the guy while at the University of Florida.

If you are a Gamecock fan, you hate strongly-dislike-in-a-Christian-way teams in this order:

1. Clemson

2. Clemson

3. Pickens County A&M (Clemson)

4. Georgia + Tennessee + Florida + Clemson

5. Any team that wears orange (to include Clemson).

But, I digress…

He (Tim Tebow) has the same charm that originally made Brett Favre the all-American QB, but Tebow is just cleaner. That’s not to say that Tebow might do the wrong thing and look at some kid the wrong way someday or break the speed limit by 0.05 MPH, but he talks about this Jesus guy while winning football games. Gasp, oh snap.

I completed a little experiment by wearing the jersey today. I garnered both rolling-eyes and several shouts of “Tebow” in the parking lot of a Mexican food establishment. As for the media, look no further than a Google search for Tim Tebow and you’ll see people Tebowing either positively or negatively (or dozens of references, gestures, and comments).

Tim Tebow doesn’t have Jesus Juice, Tebow Power, or Prayer Warriorship. He’s just a guy who lives out his faith in his chosen profession. He’s like the construction workers who have a conversation or Bible Study together at lunch. (But maybe more scary and probably has a few more muscles.) The problem, for most I think, is that he has an influential place from which he can talk about Jesus. When Tebow says the name Jesus, a few million more ears hear it than when Denver or Joe Blow says the name. He kinda takes that whole witness thing to a new level.

For some people that equals a problem. Admittedly Christian site Crosswalk went out and completed a Tebow Sidewalk Survey in which they asked people about Tebow’s rather public faith. Most were fine with it, but then there is the politically-correct answer that Tebow should essentially keep his faith to himself. (He’d surely be treated differently if he were Muslim… He needs to keep his faith to himself and not set a bad example as a role model, etc…)

No real justification for this strange deviation from the American ideal of self-expression can ever really seem to come to the surface either there or in my own discussions. In fact, players shoot play guns (or shoot himself in the foot with a real one), dance, and carry on in random ways all the time but there are no issues there with self expression. But mention Jesus, and suddenly it’s clear you believe that God  condescends to control football games with a divine Xbox 360 controller (“Quick Jesus, grab the second controller and hit A, B, and X to dive Tim Tebow into the endzone” instructeth the Father to the Son.”) in hand. I’ve seen attacks on Tebow from the right (“He’s just a politician in a uniform!”) and attacks from the left (“He said Jesus and everyone knows we don’t do that in the post-modern era unless two other gods are in the same sentence to be fair!”)

I’ve heard the primary defense of the Tebow-haters boils down to this. People want to tear him down because Tebow intimidates people because he’s nice in a Christian way. People aren’t comfortable with a guy who is good – he must have a flaw!

I think this assessment is partially a true statement. This man has faults, Tebow has faults, and yes, even Chuck Norris has faults not pertaining to roundhouse kicks. I think the vitriol for Tebow comes down to a single word:

Matthew 10:22a You will be hated by everyone because of My name.

And that name boils down to one, which is the same word I was talking about. It’s Jesus. Tebow talks about Jesus and it makes some uncomfortable. He’s won games in a miraculous manner. He’s done it in a way that doesn’t make sense. It’s not at all that Tim Tebow somehow has a direct line to the Father and is God’s chosen QB, but it’s simply that Tebow gives credit where he feels it’s due when the day is over and is happy to talk about a God almost falling over himself in somewhat awkward ways.

If you don’t like Tim Tebow, hey that’s cool, but be honest about it at least. In the meantime, I’ll be happy to let my children like a guy who is a positive role model. I tend to like that guy myself.


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