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The "end" of Tebow mania

Tim Tebow
Tim Tebowcourtesy of Wikipedia Commons

A reader took the time and trouble to email me, asking that I write this article noting the "end of the infamous" mania over Tim Tebow, as she worded it.

This isn't the first time she's made a special request that I write a specific article, but this time I decided that I'm going to humor her.

I'm afraid this won't be the article she hoped to read, though.

Last night, the New England Patriots destroyed the Denver Broncos in the playoffs 45-10, ending their season.

Many atheists like my reader/friend are celebrating the victory, certain the furor over Tim Tebow will now abate.

And it will. For the moment.

But what my determined reader and friend failed to realize is this: the controversy surrounding Tim Tebow has very little to do with his skill as a football player.

It has everything to do with Tim Tebow's public display of Christian faith and Tebow the human being.

He's going to remain a magnetic public figure with a powerful voice, long after he's finished playing football.

According to at least one poll, Tim Tebow is the most popular athlete in America today.

The visceral, irrational hatred that some have felt free to express about Tebow is not because he's better at running the option than passing the football.

It's because he kneels and prays on the sideline.

It's because Tebow publicly thanks Jesus Christ, referring to him as "Lord and Savior." He is absolutely despised simply because of what he thinks and believes.

My atheist friends suggest if he were really sincere, he'd be quiet.

If Tebow went around saying silly things like "monkeys make men", nobody would have a negative word to utter about him, the only possible exception being this humble writer.

Rick Reilly produced an excellent article for ESPN where he emphasized the authenticity of Tim Tebow the human being.

According to Reilly, Tebow is the same guy off-camera as he is in the limelight.

Admittedly, it would be easier for me to understand the reaction of my atheist friends if Tebow were exposed as a hypocrite.

Often I feel like a hypocrite in regards to my own faith, so I try not to publicly wear my faith on my sleeve.

However, it's because I fail to meet my own expectations and be more Christ-like, not because I'm ashamed of what I believe.

I wish I did "walk the walk" more like Jesus.

Or even more like Tebow.

Every week during the season, Tebow reaches out through his foundation to touch the life of someone suffering a terminal or very serious illness.

After the biggest win of his life over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the first name Tebow mentioned in his press conference afterward was not the receiver of his game winning TD pass, but Bailey Knaub, a 16 year-old girl who has suffered through 73 surgeries in her short life.

With Tebow, it's never about him. It's always about someone else.

Personally, I'm much more selfish than that.

Actually, I've already written about Tebow on my personal blog a couple of times, once about "The mystery of Tim Tebow" and then "The inspiration of Tim Tebow."

And now that I've written about "The end of Tebow mania" for the Examiner, maybe we can leave the guy alone until spring training.

All of that said, my atheist friends who despise him so are going to be sorely disappointed if they think they have heard the last of Tim Tebow.

Granted, he will probably never be the most successful passing quarterback in the NFL or have the "best" arm.

Could he eventually win a Super Bowl?

You'd better believe it. But football is a team sport. Much will depend on the players around Tebow.

But he's got the heart of a champion, no question.

If I have learned anything about Tim Tebow since the days his tenure as the leader of the Florida Gators, it is that I would never bet against him.

I dreaded those Saturdays when his Gator teams played my beloved Georgia Bulldogs.

I cheered whenever Florida lost, seldom though it was.

As an ardent football fan who considers himself reasonably knowledgeable about the sport, before last week's playoff game I would have bet my house on the Pittsburgh Steelers...not because I dislike Tebow or didn't want "him" to win, but because common sense told me that Pittsburgh would destroy Denver.

Kind of like the Patriots just did.

And if I were a gambling man, I would be homeless today.

I've learned to trust that my common sense can only take me so far...

To be absolutely clear, I do not think God loves Tim Tebow more than any other human.

God loves us all. And of all people, Tim Tebow gets that.

What Tebow is obviously trying to do is show us how to love each other like God loves us.

And I'd have to say that he's doing an excellent job of it, by almost every account.

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