First off, if you knew my orange-and-blue-blooded 80-something mother-in-law whose Florida car-tag is like, “Go U Gators,” you’d know that, while she loves me, she’d disown me if I publicly wrote anything negative about Tim Tebow.
True story: When Tebow was quarterback at Florida, my wife and I happened to be with my mother-in-law in Maine. The only place she could view Gator football was a sports bar 15-miles away. Even though it was one of those early-season games that Florida won by 50-or-so points, my mother-in-law got decked out in her orange-and-blue and headed to the sports bar to watch the game. By the fourth quarter, she was the only person left in the bar. (I feel bad telling that story, as I should have accompanied her.)
However, my mother-in-law and the giant Tim Tebow poster on the side of her refrigerator are not why I love Tebow.
And no, it has nothing to do with how great a human being he may be or how he’s a devout religious person. As I’ve said on this blog many times before, my admiration for athletes is strictly limited to what they do within the boundry lines of their sport.
No, the reason I love Tim Tebow is the same reason I loved the movie Moneyball. Specifically, the scenes that included the scouts sitting around the conference room table explaining how great baseball players look or the beauty of their swing or how they handle themselves. But, as the movie and book revealed — and what made them such a great book and movie, the experts who were depending on their “feelings” about some existential aspect of the player were wrong.
The reason I love Tebow is that I’ve heard for two years an endless parade of experts explain why he’s not worthy enough to be an NFL quarterback. I’ve never quite followed the reasons other than the same kind of blasts that Steve McNair used to receive: that you can’t succeed as an NFL quarterback by running. That he’s not a good passer. That he was good at Florida because he was surrounded by great talent. Or that, well, he was too big or too slow or too strong or didn’t think like an NFL quarterback.
The experts (ranging from radio sports talk-show hosts to NFL greats like Boomer Esiason), have seemed precisely like those Moneyball baseball scouts. They have been near rabid in declaring him unfit to be an NFL quarterback.
So the reason I love Tebow has nothing to do with how great a person he may be off the field (but, even though I don’t care about that, I hope he doesn’t crash and burn in that department).
No, the reason I like him is the same reason I like every feel-good sports movie ever made: For at least this season, when he got on the big stage today, the first round of the AFC playoffs, the place he was going to display just how right the experts were, he not only kicked the ass of the Pittsburg Steelers — he kicked the ass of all the pundits who have declared him unworthy.
How can you not love that?