It’s the Denver Broncos post-game press conference and Tim Tebow is addressing the media fresh off of winning the biggest game of his career in an upset over last year’s Super Bowl runner-up, Pittsburgh Steelers. He is asked what this playoff win means to him. Tebow deflects the credit from himself claiming the biggest win of the day is, “being able to comfort a girl who’s gone through 73 surgeries before the game and getting the chance to hang out with her.”
Tebow’s season has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Not only was he not named the starting quarterback in training camp, but speculation was that he was third on the depth chart to Brady Quinn. After a miserable 1-4 start and public outcry, Denver was forced to start Tebow in what was supposed to be a glimpse of next season. All he did was help resurrect the Broncos season and lead them to an AFC West Division title.
Tebow represents the American underdog. Since being drafted by the Broncos a year ago, he’s been written off as a football player whose game will never transfer to the NFL level. He is a prototypical fullback disguised as a quarterback. His weakness is throwing the football despite playing a position where throwing is a must.
Tebow has overcome these deficiencies with his will to win, leadership and determination. These intangibles have helped him lead many improbable ‘miracle’ comebacks and game-winning touchdown drives at the end of games.
But just as much as Tebow is capturing an entire nation with his never-say-die attitude on the field, he is creating polarizing discussions off of it with his consistent devotion to his religious faith. For example, he can be seen praying after every touchdown and doesn’t pass up an opportunity to thank God in every interview.
While many view him as a role model bringing good to a sport plagued by athletes with off-the-field issues, others want to see him fail. Such individuals believe he is shoving his faith in everyone’s face and question if the way he carries himself is just an act.
But whether he is talking to inmates at Lake City Correctional Facility or visiting children at the local cancer clinic, Tebow is using football as a platform to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Playgrounds across the country are even full of children ‘Tebowing’ – a term used to describe praying in the end zone after a touchdown. In addressing his influence on people Tebow explained, “I’m just very thankful for the platform that God has given me. It is special to have the platform of playing football because I have the opportunity to affect people.”
Time will tell whether we are witnessing a transcendent athlete or just the latest fad. But for tonight’s playoff game against New England, people of all ages – some not even football fans – will be tuning in just to get a glimpse of what is now known as, ‘Tebow-Mania.’