Tebow 3:16

po•lar•ize [poh-luh-rahyz] verb, -ized, -iz•ing.
1. to cause polarization
2. to divide into sharply opposing factions

The most polarizing athlete I have ever seen is Tim Tebow. For those who are not American or live under a rock, he is the second year Quarterback of the Denver Broncos, an American football team. He is the wildly controversial and exciting player that has America scratching their heads after an incredible season where he has been the talk of the league all year. The head scratching results from a season of inexplicable last second and overtime victories that were both improbable and unbelievable. Tebowmania, as it’s being called, has gripped America. Love him or hate him, you can’t help but watch and go one way or the other. He is currently the most polarizing man in America and truthfully the most polarizing athlete I have ever seen, anywhere.

To put it into perspective for my foreign readers, Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese and Real Madrid scoring machine is polarizing. You generally either love or hate him. I hate him but there is little doubt he is exciting to watch. He is polarizing because his arrogant personality, appearance and selfish play cause people to be turned off but you’ve never questioned his skill or desire to succeed. He is polarizing in a way that Tim Tebow isn’t. Ronaldo is a Playboy, he makes stupid and controversial statements, he dates Russian supermodels, drives Ferrari’s, uses a ton of hair gel and has a fro-hawk. Anything he does is seen as arrogant. He is also seen as not a good guy. Tebow is not this way.

Tim Tebow is a religious nut to put it mildly. He truly believes in God and his faith and openly talks about it and prays on the field. He does so in a way that somehow doesn’t irritate most people although many people do get annoyed. Religion is the one topic that people really hate having thrown in their face. Many view this as him on his high moral horse but this is simply not the case. The media is who puts this in our faces day after day, not Tebow, and this is because there has never been anyone like him. His story touches on the two most touchy subjects in America; religion and race; and everybody has an opinion about him. However, the three underlying themes are you cannot question the man’s’ integrity, competitive drive and flare for the dramatic. Again, he is the most polarizing figure in global sports today.
Tim Tebow’s pedigree is he is widely considered one of the greatest college football players of all time if not the best ever. He is a former Heisman trophy winner and three time finalist. He won two national championships at the University of Florida and is renowned for inspiring his teammates and those around him. He is also widely thought to be a virgin and openly talks of his high moral values. His religious views came into full national attention because he was always the best player on the best and most visible team whilst in college.
He was drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos and many saw this as a big mistake as his skills wouldn’t translate into the NFL. It was believed that his erratic arm and running strengths wouldn’t work in the NFL. Perhaps he would have to change positions and utilize his athleticism over his Quarterback skills. This was conventional thinking and the way it had always been with Quarterback’s of his mold-traditionally represented by black Quarterbacks.

Many people argue that he would have never been given the opportunities he has received had he been black because historically those types of Quarterbacks hadn’t even been drafted, let alone given a chance in the pros. It was also thought that his skills weren’t nearly as good as some former Quarterbacks who hadn’t made it in the NFL. So this brought race into the equation; again nothing Tebow has ever instigated.

If you live in America and watch sports television and even mainstream news these days, Tebow is everywhere. Everyone has their opinions and there are tons of haters. The haters seem to get to be less and less each week as the guy keeps winning, keeps competing and people finally accept that he’s simply just a good guy going out there and competing. So what if he believes in God and openly talks about his relationship with God.
I am not a religious person and hate when people talk religion as much as anyone but this guy doesn’t talk down to people. He is constantly asked by the media about it and he just answers the questions. He is the most scrutinized athlete I’ve ever seen. He has had his ups and downs, his statistics are awful and that is undisputed. However, he possesses an “it factor”. He has intangibles that have never been seen before in the NFL. He never stops believing and saves his best for last. You never turn off the TV when Tebow is on and the game is close late because that is Tebow time. You just wait for something special to happen and it has a lot this year. It’s been an incredible ride. I went to a game in Denver in December where they had an unbelievable come from behind victory against the Chicago Bears. It was an amazing night that I will never forget because of Tim Tebow’s heroics.

Yesterday, the Denver Broncos beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tebow had the best game of his professional career leading Denver to an improbable overtime victory and sets up a rematch against the New England Patriots and Tom Brady (The guy married to Brazilian Supermodel Gisele Bundchen) next weekend. I guarantee you, with all the amazing sub-plots, this will be the most watched game in recent memory.
As for Mr. Tebow, he will go about his business, he will politely answer the question the media asks him and he will compete next weekend versus the best team in the AFC. Win or lose, Tebow will give his all and people will love him or hate him but talk about him as they always will. People and pundits will debate his skills until the cows come home but the bottom line is this; Tim Tebow is must see TV. He is the most talked about athlete I have ever seen in this manner. This has been the year of Tebow and I am continually in disbelief and I love it. He is the most polarizing man in America and this is an election year!

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  1. It’s crazy to think that someone who was on the brink of being benched yesterday could orchestrate such an amazing performance in the biggest pro game of his life. To say he is polarizing is a perfect categorization. Newt Gingrich has nothing on Tim Tebow!

  2. Good summary…totally religion and race wrapped in one…he handles the scrutiny so well it seems

  3. I popped tebow's cherry says

    Lee, it’s interesting that you so strongly believe that Tebow is such a polarizing figure. Although I agree that he does has his haters (i.e. John Elway), I don’t see him as such a divisive and dislikeable figure that he would deserve such branding. For instance, many other athletes or public figures, past and present, come to mind who truly were either loved or hated and not just doubted or disliked (i.e. Michael Vick, Tanya Harding . . . ) How would you compare Tim Tebow vs. one of these other people? I think we can all agree Michael Vick is polarizing on a much different level, if you will, then Cristiano Ronaldo, as essentially that match up can be seen as dog killer vs. cocky frat boy. Your insightfulness and witty writing are always appreciated.

  4. Interesting comparison to Vick and Harding on a much smaller level. With Harding-who was cheering for her? In order to be polarizing you have to have both sides strongly for or against. It was all for Kerrigan and she didn’t even win the gold medal that year…what’s happened to Harding since has been tragic though-just sad.

    Vick is an interesting case though. You bring the aspect of race into it and to a lesser but obvious extent, animal rights etc. If you recall, most people and almost all white people were thoroughly disgusted by what he did and that dog fighting goes on at all.

    However, the first I heard different was watching Deion Sanders talk about it and how he didn’t understand what the big deal was. Deion said Vick was a product of his upbringing and that’s just what people did where he grew up and he probably didn’t even think it was wrong. He and many others argued that Vick was being vilified unfairly and along racial bounds.

    It is an interesting case and when Vick came back he was divisive amongst fans of course but he paid his debt to society and did his time. People forgave him and now you barely even think of it when you see him-at least I don’t. Much like I don’t see Kobe or Roethlisberger as a rapist or Ray Lewis as a murderer-I just see the player-right or wrong I don’t know.

    Tebow isn’t just a product of now but he is the most scrutinized athlete I’ve ever seen. Again, he crosses religious and racial lines. I’ve never seen so many haters in the media and even from fans. He never did anything wrong which is another amazing aspect of this argument and this whole thing with him-all he does is what he’s supposed to. Everyone wants him to fail seemingly bc he makes most people feel like bad people. Sadly, people revere success but they root for failure-remember that.

    How can you not root for the guy? He just goes out, does his job the best he can and he wins. He doesn’t blame others or criticize others when all everyone else does is criticize him. It’s kind of amazing.

  5. The amazing thing about Tebowmania and the divisiveness is he has never been in trouble. All the people I popped Tebow’s cherry mentioned have been to jail or committed a heinous act. I don’t know much about Ronaldo but he strikes me as more like A-Rod who is also a polarizing figure. But yes I do agree that Tebow is the most polarizing figure in sports and for no good reason other than people love to hate. Religion and race also has a lot to do with it, religion especially.

  6. I think you make a lot of interesting points (as usual), but I don’t think you can talk about Tebow as a polarizing figure without bringing up the Superbowl Ad.

    For me, religion isn’t a factor, he can pray on the field all day, that’s his prerogative, in my view. And I wasn’t aware of the race issue, which I thank you for bringing to light; I don’t know enough about football to begin to understand all the points you make about black quarterbacks (and I only hope that the converse of what you mention is true… and that in the future, Tebow’s performance will pave the way for the NFL to rethink their position, and ‘take a chance’ on more erratic performers… or whatever it is that is causing them to not give black star college QBs a chance).

    The one thing I disagree with is the idea that Tebow makes people feel like ‘bad people.’ Actually, it may be that they are just not comfortable with someone who aligns with an organization like ‘Focus on the Family.’ While I’m glad that everything worked out for both Mrs Tebow and Tim, not every woman who gets a message such as ‘it’s your life or your child’s’ and has to make such a difficult decision… has a happy ending, as the ad implied. The ad, to me, minimizes the gravity of that scenario, and, in my opinion, is very condescending. Subtly so, but condescending nevertheless. Mrs Tebow is ‘stronger than’ her pro QB son… implying that other mothers who have made a different decision lack physical or emotional strength – are weaklings and/or cowards. To suggest, even subtly, that every family who receives this news can have such a happy ending is misleading at best. In my case, I have felt squeamish whenever I hear his name every since that Superbowl ad.

    Also, it’s not his fault directly (in the sense that he didn’t make the decision), but I also seem to remember that the Superbowl deciders wouldn’t air any so-called ‘issues’ ads… but, they did air that one.

    So, (right or wrong) I do equate the decision made by the Superbowl powers to air the Focus on the Family/Tebow ad, but not any other issues ads with a lack of comfort with/respect for Tim Tebow.

    I was raised in one religion, went to religious schools, etc, but rejected it because I believe fervently in separation of church and state, and that everyone has a right to practice their own religion. The primacy of a Christian right ad in a Superbowl game is what makes me uncomfortable. We are a nation of citizens who practice multiple religions… I love that about the U.S. For me (again, right or wrong) Tebow represents the fact that we as a nation, at times, completely forget or only pay lip service to that fact. We see it in election years, when the ‘we are a Christian nation’ theme surfaces. It slips out at other times too. I disagree with this article of faith, and for the reasons I’ve mentioned, feel Tim Tebow is representative of the ‘we are a Christian nation ONLY’ position.

    I’m being honest, but I know it’s a controversial topic. This is longer than I meant it to be. Once I started writing, I realized I had quite a few thoughts on the matter, I only meant to remind you about the Superbowl ad. Sorry! Hope it simply provides food for thought. 🙂

  7. Good and well thought out post about one of the most talked about people on the planet right now. Can’t wait to see how next weekend plays out.

  8. Great write up about Tebow, very cool

  9. I hate him!!!!!!

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