I have a confession to make. I’m a Tim Tebow fan. I’ve mentioned it in passing on this blog but never felt compelled to join the Tebowmania sweeping sports media by writing a full-fledged post about him. Since the Pittsburgh Steelers will be facing Tebow and his Denver Broncos in Sunday’s Wild Card playoff game, I suppose now’s the time to do so.
My reasons for liking Tim Tebow are twofold. And, not coincidentally, they are the exact same reasons so many people don’t like him. First and foremost, I like him because he’s a winner. He won a state championship in high school and a national championship in college. He took over a Broncos team that started the season 1-4 and led them to their first playoff appearance since the Steelers knocked them off in the AFC Championship Game back in 2005. Sure Denver has lost three straight and backdoored into the playoffs but if not for Tebow’s thrilling last-second victories in four consecutive games, they wouldn’t have even been in that position.
I’ve only purchased two non-Steeler jerseys in my life. One was a Doug Flutie #7 when he played for the Buffalo Bills back in the late 90s. I like Tim Tebow for the same reason I liked the Magic Flutie; they’re both exciting and unconventional quarterbacks who may not always look pretty but have an uncanny ability to get the job done. Flutie wasted the best years of his athletic life in Canada because the NFL’s cookie cutter mentality didn’t see him as a prototypical NFL quarterback. A lot of people dismiss Tebow because he also isn’t a classic drop back passer.
So? Doug Flutie ran around and made plays. Tim Tebow runs around and makes plays. You know who else runs around and makes plays? Ben Roethlisberger. Outside of Pittsburgh, a lot of media types downgrade Big Ben because he isn’t a pure passer like Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers. Steeler Nation usually counters with some variation of “Count the rings!” Well, if you’re going to forgive Ben’s sandlot style of play because it works, why not do the same for Tebow? I also find it funny that some people criticize the Broncos for leaning on their running game to cover for their young quarterback as if the Steelers didn’t run the ball 60% of the time during Ben’s first three seasons.
Now we move on to the other reason Tim Tebow is a polarizing figure: his religion. The Baltimore Ravens’ resident loudmouth Terrell Suggs went on ESPN yesterday and made some pretty offensive religious based comments. The Ginger Dictator is quick to hand down fines when players flip off the fans or phone their wife to tell her they’re not seriously injured. What do you think the chances are T-Sizzle will be fined for his comments?
I find it a pretty sad commentary on society that anybody would have a problem with somebody being TOO religious. I’m not going to get into particular faiths but religion in general tends to stress honor, humility and respect for your fellow man (and particularly women). How any of those things could be considered “bad” is beyond me. Yeah, some religions have been tainted by scandal but so has the Penn State football program.
Besides, if any team’s fans should have no problem with ultra-religious players, it’s fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Tebow is the most up-front about his faith in football, Troy Polamalu has to be a close second. The man makes the sign of the cross before every play for crying out loud. And not so coincidentally, he also has the second best selling jersey, behind only Tim Tebow. Sure, some of that has to do with chicks digging Troy’s long luxurious hair but much of it is because he’s not only a great player, he’s a soft-spoken gentleman. You can wear a Polamalu jersey with pride and, if you’re an out-of-town member of Steeler Nation, without being barraged with rape jokes.
Another not-so-hidden message I put in many of my posts is the fact I find many athletes to be obnoxious. When I was a kid, I was lucky to grow up woefully ignorant of what our star athletes were up to. Carnegie Mellon hadn’t invented the internet and the media was better about keeping things secret. I had no idea Lawrence Taylor was banging 14 year old hookers or the Pirate Parrot was selling blow to half the team. Kids growing up today can click two buttons and see Antonio Cromartie forgetting the names of his nine children from eight different mothers or the semen stains Big Ben left in the bathroom of a dive bar down in Georgia. I saw Santonio Holmes’ horse-dick for criminey’s sake. And women whine about Victoria’s Secret babes causing an unhealthy body image. Regardless of personal beliefs, it’s nice to know there are still good guys out there like Troy and Tim.
Oh, about that other non-Steeler jersey I bought? As you may have guessed, it’s a Tebow. So no matter who wins on Sunday, I’ll still have a rooting interest going forward. Although for the record, I’ll be rocking my classic #86 during the game. While I may respect, even admire, this weekend’s opponent, my loyalties will never be divided.