Tebow Time

This weekend the legend of Tim Tebow will explode.

Depending on the final score of this weekend’s marquee matchup with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, it will either continue to swallow up small planets, or shatter into a million pieces.

If it feels like Tebow-Mania can’t possibly get any bigger, imagine what will happen if his Broncos defeat Bill Belichick’s evil empire?

Now imagine what it would be like if he threw for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in the process.

And that’s only what might happen ON the field.

On the field this season Tebow, a remarkably good athlete and competitor, has taken over as the Broncos starting Quarterback and led his team to more unbelievable come-from-behind successes than MacGyver- despite being the worst football player on the field for the overwhelming majority of the game.

Because the victories haven’t come as the result of remarkable overall play or even a demonstration of mastery over the most basic skills (like taking the ball from the center) the speculation of what makes him successful has become almost ridiculous.

His success has been labelled “magical”, “miraculous”, “unprecedented”, and “mystical”.

As his legend grows the experts, as well as the casual fans, have been left consistently wondering the same thing; “How does he do it?”, “How does he win all those games.” The answer is surprisingly easy.

 

He Doesn’t. His team does.

It’s a surprisingly easy answer because Tebow says this all the time… we just don’t believe him.

See we’ve gotten used to the false modesty that flows from athletes after successful endeavors. Even if you scored 9 touchdowns and performed an angioplasty during the halftime of a victory, you aren’t allowed to admit it.

Professional athletes are expected to “aw shucks” and “it’s a team effort” their way through post-game interviews but after the game, when they are partying in South Beach or making a record they finally get to reveal to the world how awesome they think they are.

This is why we don’t believe Tebow when he contends that he’s just a role player on a team with a great coach, good defense, and outstanding kicker.

We don’t believe in his humility.

This is sad because it’s his humility that sets him apart in ways that his skill and ability can’t yet. Consider this statement from NFL Quarterback guru Trent Dilfer on Colin Cowherd’s ESPN radio show:

“Everyone is trying to define what is magic or what is intangible about Tebow. Tebow’s humility makes everyone better.”

Dilfer went on to say that Tim “feeds” the people around him in a way that makes them want to fight for him:

“Nobody has to try to get credit for themselves when Tim is handing it out left and right.”

Tim’s success on the field isn’t possible because he mitigates his short-comings while playing to his strengths. His success is possible because HIS ENTIRE TEAM is willing to mitigate his shortcomings while accentuating his strengths.

For three quarters of a football game Tebow struggles while his team holds it together, waiting for his furious fourth-quarter rally to kick in.

They don’t fight for him because they believe in his arm, or his brain, or his legs; they fight for him because they believe in him.

Tim Tebow’s humility, which comes from his profound desire to reflect the life of Jesus Christ, is that “magical”, mysterious”, “spiritual” intangible that no one can seem to identify

…because they see it so rarely.

This humility that draws people together and makes them better in community is available to anyone who is willing to follow Jesus… it’s just rare that anyone, even Christians, are willing to take him up on it.

This whole thing is a lot less mysterious than it seems.

The Broncos aren’t re-inventing football and Tebow isn’t revolutionizing the way Quarterback is played. If anything they’re returning the game to the way it was played in the 1940’s and ’50’s when the Quarterback was the “running back who passed” as opposed to “the passer.”

What’s mysterious is how successfully they’re challenging our western notion that individualism, pride, and “self-respect” lead to team success, and how hard this challenge is to recognize.

When leadership is marked by humility, and humility inspires a responsible effort, teams become more important than players and victories more important than achievement.

Isn’t this the way that sports are supposed to be?

Isn’t this the way that life is supposed to be?

Regardless of the final score this Sunday, Tebow’s humility is returning us to the way that legends are supposed to be made.

It would be really fun to see that kind of explosion wouldn’t it?

2 Responses to “Tebow Time”

  1. Andy Schreiber December 16, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    There’s no “I” in Tebow.

  2. Jon December 17, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    Just a cross… I mean T.

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