The saintly quarterback is having a serious case of the Mondays.
A week after being simultaneously anointed the Denver Broncos’ savior and the second coming of Jesus Christ, Tebow is once again facing a lot of doubting Thomases. Tebow wasn’t the only problem in the Broncos 35 point loss to the Detroit Lions, but his 46 percent completion percentage sure had a lot to do with it. Only 8 days ago Tebow was focus of a media circus that lasted until the moment he took the field yesterday afternoon, and then everyone jumped ship. Expectations for the Denver Broncos starting quarterback came crashing back down to earth after this weekend’s drubbing. Analysts are have gone as far as declaring the Tebow era over after just two weeks.
Tebow is the most polarizing figure in the NFL. You either love him or hate him — and most people fall in the latter category. Tebow has a been a target for criticism since the moment he stepped into the spotlight as a freshman at Florida. He was used in short yardage situations as a glorified running back, and praised as the strongest guy on their national championship team. Announcers even drooled over stories of Tebow being the first pick in a team tug of war contest. He was a media darling, however he seemed like a gimmick to people outside of Gainesville. Tebow was never a prototypical quarterback, he resembled an ox who preferred to run over people instead of around. When it came to throwing the football Tebow could be described as unorthodox with major mechanical problems at best.
The real trouble with Tim Tebow is his behavior off the field. Over the course of his career his has gotten so much attention for being a borderline saint that it’s become a problem. He worked as a missionary growing up and is probably the most famous virgin in sports history. Tebow is a devout Christian who praises god any time a microphone is put in front of his face. People resent his this perceived perfection. He is a controversy-free athlete in a womanizing, hard-partying world. Since he doesn’t provide us with rape scandals, DUI arrests or supermodel lady-friends his on-field performance is examined with a fine-toothed comb and magnifying glass. His character may be flawless, but his throwing motion and ability to read defenses need a lot of work.
The harsh reality of Tebow’s situation is he’ll forever be dammed if he does and dammed if he doesn’t. The past two weeks of NFL coverage make that inevitability painfully obvious. When he wins he’ll dominate headlines, even with mediocre stats, and his performance with dwarf anything else happening in the NFL, which will make other players resentful. If he loses he faces the wrath of everyone — fans, critics, coaches, ownership, teammates and opponents. He just finished his second game as a starting NFL quarterback behind a terrible offensive line, no running back and no one to throw the ball to — and he’s already a failure.
Tebow will always be considered a walking, talking superlative and that’s an unfair label. He is a project and he has high expectations of himself in the face of millions rooting for him to fail. He’s a nice guy in a sport where villains are considered heroes. There is no telling where he may be in a few years, but right now he’s simply not good enough to win on the field and he’s too good to win in the arena of public opinion. But one thing is for sure, as long as he’s under center in Denver he’ll be the most interesting paradox in sports.