I’ve never been a fan of the Denver Broncos. No reason really. The Philadelphia Eagles just got to me first.
But then the Eagles hired a quarterback named Michael Vick and I signed off for reasons I’ve related previously.
Since then I’ve bounced around the League like a CFL wide receiver trying to make the practice squad, spending time rooting for New Orleans, Green Bay, Oakland and Buffalo.
Then along came a guy named Tim Tebow.
Tim was a star at the University of Florida where he won the coveted Heisman trophy in his sophomore year. On graduation, he was drafted by the Broncos. But nobody seriously considered he’d have a noteworthy NFL career.
Without going into details that would put anybody but football-geeks to sleep, Tebow’s skillset is better suited to the wide open game of the CFL than the way the NFL plays.
But he came to national attention after admitting to be a virgin in a televised post-game interview and then agreeing to do a Pro-Life commercial with his mother that ran during the Super Bowl.
Now, Tim had a particular and personal reason for being Pro-Life. His parents were Baptist missionaries in the Philippines when he was conceived and during her pregnancy, his mother experienced complications that threatened her life. The doctors recommended an abortion. She refused.
Between that and his homeschool upbringing, Tebow developed a strong set of Christian values – values that don’t fit the current template for sports heroes and celebrities.
That’s led to a lot of mocking the man and a gang of pundits piling on with expert opinions on his lack of technique and/or football smarts.
Through all of it, Tebow has continued to profess his faith, openly pray on the sidelines and – win football games.
He began the 2011 season as the Broncos’ backup quarterback, moving to start after Denver had lost five of their first six.
Since then, he’s quarterbacked them to a division leading 8-5 record, virtually all of those wins coming after being down by several points in the final quarter.
Yet, somehow, all of that success had made him an even bigger target for those who don’t much care for what people like Tim Tebow stand for.
And it has led to a lot of discussion about whether religion has any place in professional sport and how anyone could believe a Supreme Being has any interest in the outcome of a football game.
All of which completely misses the point.
Now, I’m a Christian, albeit not a very good one. And maybe for those reasons or a lot of others, I don’t hold with some of what Tim Tebow stands for either.
But that doesn’t stop me from admiring what he does.
At its core, football, and just about every other professional endeavor, is about character and believing you can overcome whatever adversities you face.
As Tim Tebow has often said, “If you believe, unbelievable things become possible”.
Whether you believe your fate is in your own hands or those of an invisible friend, the process is the same – you just never stop believing.
That flies in the face of the multitudes who would prefer you fail, for their own selfish reasons or just because unexplained success or achievement that hasn’t been pre-approved only makes their failings and inadequacies appear even larger.
But the rule still holds. You get nowhere without believing completely in something.
The following is Tim Tebow in a hopeless situation last Sunday. He’ll be in an even more impossible today against the New England Patriots and Tom Brady (who’s generally accepted as the embodiment of Satan in places like Buffalo).
Oh, ye of little faith – pay attention! This guy is onto something.