Let’s get a few things straight: I graduated from the University of Georgia. I’m also rather circumspect about organized religion in any form. As such, I was not born to be a Tim Tebow fan. However, I dig his love for football, and I find his will—nay, his inherent ability—to win engaging as hell. So, when his memoir, “Through My Eyes,” landed on my desk this month, I was at least mildly intrigued to find out if there was more to the Heisman Trophy–winning quarterback who I had always found to be a little too perfect.
Unfortunately, the book didn’t expand on the commercial-ready personality we’ve all come to know. Either Tebow really is saintlike or he’s exceptionally skilled at playing—and penning—the part. The 260-page memoir takes the reader from when Tebow was in the womb to his early and personally frustrating years as a high school linebacker (I’m a quarterback!) to his rookie year with the Denver Broncos. What sometimes comes off as Tebow’s faux humility is the book’s main downfall, but there are enlightening moments, some endearing anecdotes, and a handful of things you (amazingly) never heard about on ESPN’s GameDay. Here, some Tebow tidbits that even a Georgia Bulldog can appreciate.
1. “The Chosen One” was the title of a documentary film made about Tebow during his senior year at Nease High School in 2005. The film aired on ESPN, and the name stuck—despite the fact that it embarrasses him.
2. Tebow attributes much of his physical strength and toughness to being “farmer strong.” Tebow grew up on a farm outside of Jacksonville, Florida, doing chores that required manual labor. But it was helping with the neighbor’s chicken farm—100,000 chickens!—that he says really toughened him up.
3. Tebow’s signature “jump pass” began with a from-the-one-yard-line play at the end of the first half at Louisiana State University during his freshman year. As time ran out, Tebow hit receiver Tate Casey for a touchdown and “the legend of the jump pass was born.”
4. John 3:16 was not the first eye-black message that Tebow donned. He made the switch from Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all this through him who gives me strength”) to John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”) before the 2009 BCS National Championship Game versus University of Oklahoma. Florida won.
5. During the 2009 season, Tebow took a killer blow to the head, courtesy of his offensive lineman’s knee. Tebow crumpled to the turf, unconscious and seriously concussed. At the hospital after the game, Florida head coach Urban Meyer told Tebow and his family that the first question Tebow asked when he briefly came-to on the field was “Did I hold on to the ball?”