Like many devoutly religious people, Tim Tebow says he regularly has conversations with the lord. Whether these are actual give-and-take rap sessions or him praying to his higher power and then gleaning inspiration from the act, only Tebow knows. (I suppose God knows, too.)
I am not a praying man. In fact, as an atheist-trending agnostic, I could hardly have less in common with Tebow when it comes to beliefs.
Even so, these philosophical differences can’t keep me from loving the guy—even if, as of this writing, no NFL team does.
I love Tebow for his leadership, his work ethic, and his invariably team-first outlook. He’s exactly what the me-first, personal brand-obsessed world of professional sports needs more of. Hell Heck, these days we could use a lot more of that in all walks of life.
It’s this undying affection that inspires me to ask, if not beg, for this one simple request: Tim, whether you’re getting your advice from God, your agent, your family, or someone else, please, before it’s too late, switch positions.
Four years into your professional football career, it could not be clearer that you are not an NFL-caliber quarterback. The flashes of brilliance you showed in Denver are now almost two years old and rarely involved passing anyway. If you had exhibited any more of them with the Jets—and you would have, because you always work unquestionably hard in practice—you would have long ago replaced Mark Sanchez, AKA the most reviled leader in New York since Bill “The Butcher” Cutting. This never happened because your skills as a QB have never been good enough for the NFL. As much as it pains me, a diehard football fan, to admit it, they never will be.
You are, however, a tremendous athlete. You are a phenomenal leader. You are a good man. If you told the world, “Even if I can’t be the guy taking the snaps, I just want to play ball,” think of the possibilities. You could be a tight end, fullback, H-back—maybe even a linebacker. (I saw you up close at the U2 concert at Mile High, and you’re definitely big enough to be doling out the hits rather than absorbing them.) You would bring youth, enthusiasm, ability, football savvy, and leadership to whichever team was prescient enough to sign you.
You have often spoken of living your life in the service of God, and you’ve never triggered any doubts about that dedication. In an era when celebrities’ every statement, action, or flub is recorded for posterity while being endlessly mocked or debated, you’ve never given us so much as a wardrobe malfunction to Tweet about. (Maybe one, but that turned out pretty well for you.) How many household names can make that claim?
If you were to try to excel from a different spot on the gridiron, imagine the story you could tell: A longtime golden boy, always accustomed to riding high, is felled by his own physical limitations. But rather than moping into the sunset or stubbornly refusing to change, he reinvents himself, excels anew, and achieves redemption on his sport’s biggest stage, all while delivering his message (and His message) to millions upon millions of rapt devotees.
You, Tim, will no doubt be successful in the long run because you know, deep down, exactly who you are and what your earthly calling is outside of football. Even if you never don the pads again, you will be an earnest missionary, a sought-after public speaker or minister, a popular spokesman for pious causes—and at the very least, an intriguing candidate for any number of future coaching positions. But if you want to keep playing the game you love at the highest possible level, and getting the Word out while doing it, you need to start thinking about taking an alternate route to the Promised Land. Godspeed.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.