Don’t think about the Major League Baseball pitcher esque wind-up that you’d probably see coming from Boof Bonser instead of a professional quarterback.
Forget the fact he hurdles 20 yards backwards before taking five steps forward.
Don’t think about his planted foot that has more dance in it than Emmitt Smith’s twirl on Dancing With The Stars.
Instead, gaze into the off-field contributions that Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has dealt throughout the course of his young NFL career.
As ESPN.com columnist Rick Reilly pointed out in a recent piece, the certain selflessness that he possesses is one of a kind, and while he may never don the ring of a Super Bowl championship, he will certainly wear a crown that makes him one of football’s greatest heroes, even if he never sees another starting snap after the 2011-12 season (don’t get your hopes up, FSU fans).
I’ll let the grand master of sports opinion writing take it away…
“Every week, Tebow picks out someone who is suffering, or who is dying, or who is injured. He flies these people and their families to the Broncos game, rents them a car, puts them up in a nice hotel, buys them dinner (usually at a Dave & Buster’s), gets them and their families pregame passes, visits with them just before kickoff (!), gets them 30-yard-line tickets down low, visits with them after the game (sometimes for an hour), has them walk him to his car, and sends them off with a basket of gifts.
Home or road, win or lose, hero or goat.
Remember last week, when the world was pulling its hair out in the hour after Tebow had stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers with an 80-yard OT touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in the playoffs? And Twitter was exploding with 9,420 tweets about Tebow per second? When an ESPN poll was naming him the most popular athlete in America?
Tebow was spending that hour talking to 16-year-old Bailey Knaub about her 73 surgeries so far and what TV shows she likes.
“Here he’d just played the game of his life,” recalls Bailey’s mother, Kathy, of Loveland, Colo., “and the first thing he does after his press conference is come find Bailey and ask, ‘Did you get anything to eat?’ He acted like what he’d just done wasn’t anything, like it was all about Bailey.”
More than that, Tebow kept corralling people into the room for Bailey to meet. Hey, Demaryius, come in here a minute. Hey, Mr. Elway. Hey, Coach Fox.
Even though sometimes-fatal Wegener’s granulomatosis has left Bailey with only one lung, the attention took her breath away.
“It was the best day of my life,” she emailed. “It was a bright star among very gloomy and difficult days. Tim Tebow gave me the greatest gift I could ever imagine. He gave me the strength for the future. I know now that I can face any obstacle placed in front of me. Tim taught me to never give up because at the end of the day, today might seem bleak but it can’t rain forever and tomorrow is a new day, with new promises.””
Now, after reading that, one may ask: How can someone possibly show any signs of hatred or resentment towards such a compassionate and caring individual.
Because he thanks Jesus Christ whenever he has the opportunity?
Because he was a (GASP!) Florida Gator?
Or maybe it’s sheer jealously, pulled from the air because for the first time, there isn’t a man that has been arrested nine times with tattoos up and down his arm telling reporters to shove it after a loss.
Instead there stands a man more mature than anything the NFL has seen in decades, possibly ever. And for the first time, it’s not because of his play on the field, it’s for the tireless contributions off of it.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I am still yet to find a concrete excuse to hate him.
Don’t worry about the arm, the feet or the battering ram he can turn into when his team needs it most. Forget the fact ESPN said his name 168 times in an hour on SportsCenter and forget Superman wears his pajamas. Just take off the rose colored glasses and look at what he does. Look at his true self, not just his 34% completion percentage.
Just enjoy it. You may never see it again.