Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time to Jump On Board for Tebowmania

With the faith of Tim Tebow comebacks, the strength of his leadership that has brought the Broncos together and his maturity, the Tebowmania buzz of the NFL has swept the nation. The buzz is felt throughout the league, a wave of humanity across not only Denver but the country as fans either glorify or denounce him – raving about his recent fruition or failures.

The finest story in professional sports is Tebow, and debates are buzzing everywhere whether he’s a useful piece in the Broncos’ future. He now qualifies as the most endearing/disdained athlete in sports, a man who once traveled to the Philippines during spring break and summer vacations to help circumcise forlorn children, a man who visited prisons with his bible to share the word and lift the spirits of inmates. He heard the criticism from skeptics, ignored it, took it as motivation and has responded to the negativity each week, leading the Broncos to a 7-1 record since taking over as the starting quarterback.

It almost feels like a surprise, a mirage we never had in mind, refusing to give Tebow the benefit of the doubt. And to think it was supposed to be a disaster in Denver this season, a moment that he proved non-elite among quarterbacks, he has been flawless, a public figure bringing a sense of happiness and charm. It’s been a spectacular coming out party for Tebow, engineering the Broncos to first place in the AFC West following a 1-4 start. It’s a marriage of humility and sheer resiliency. Denver needs him, and they love him in their town, greeting the gracious athlete with idolatry as he gives back to a football-obsessed town that long awaited a playoff-caliber team.

This is what sports needs, a modest public figure, a likable role model whose vows to children are touching in our tangled, cuckoo society. If only we can throw Tebow into a clone machine, multiple Tebows would act as the cure to humanity, strengthen humankind and heal the corruption in this troubled world. This is what sports needs, a kindhearted celebrity whose love is contiguous at Denver and around the country to rid the negativity that sports has become, from the steroid crisis in baseball to the benches-clearing brawls in college hoops to problematic jailbirds in pro football.

It’s time we, in America, come to our senses and jump on board of the Tebow bandwagon and go places we’ve never been before, because each week it seems he conducts a magical comeback to lead the Broncos. In case you’ve missed it, although it has been heavy talk in recent weeks, he’s improved greatly as a starter and has become the bard of comebacks, which is unprecedented and unique in a sense. Quarterbacking Denver in its improbable run, he has become the first quarterback in NFL history with six fourth-quarter comebacks in his first 11 starts, and just the second quarterback with four straight fourth-quarter wins since Peyton Manning had set the incredible plateau in 2009.

If you believe and have faith, like Tebow, then life is more than just an illusion but reality. If you have trust, like Tebow, then optimism leads to greatness. His faith gives him a competitive edge and — as a devout Christian — he is credited more as the most evangelistic figure, just as much as he is polarized for publicly expressing his religious views. The criticism was even slightly amiable, though a majority still questions his performance and doubt that he will ever amount to excellence and evolve into an elite passer. This season, as the Broncos are in their quest to advance past the season and clinch a playoff berth, Tebow has stolen the limelight and become a political debate in sports, absorbing all the attention even though Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are having record-breaking seasons.

The journey has been far more bizarre for Tebow anointed by his worshippers and essentially standing as the religious attribute in sports. But his non-believers have articulated that he doesn’t have the intangibles, not amazed by his arm strength, precision or footwork and not even his religious beliefs – among them – is Broncos former quarterback Jake Plummer, who recently shared his thoughts on Tebow’s success.

“Regardless of whether I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates, I think he a winner,” Plummer said. “I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ, then I think I’ll like him a little better.”

The time to like him a little better is now. Just because he deeply praises Jesus Christ, doesn’t mean you have to disdain Tebow, even if he publicizes his Christianity. He begins his postgame interviews by thanking “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” When he finishes his postgame interviews, he tells the reporter, “God Bless.”

And so Tebow’s faith with his overzealous religion, a holy man loved or loathed, is partly why we root for him.

HOW can you simply not root for Tebow?