I Like Tim Tebow. So Does Everyone Else. Can We Move on Yet?

What if Tebow Were One Of Us?

Breaking news, guys, apparently people in Florida really like Tim Tebow. He registers an approval rating of 59%, higher than any political figure. This is unsurprising. He plays football, and as far as Florida cares, he’s done playing football and he was a part of two national championships. Beyond that, he kinda redefines the term Nice Young Man.

I mean, yes, he’s super Christian. And yes, he was in that sorta anti-abortion ad in the Super Bowl. But, you know, lots of people have those opinions, so good for him that he’s willing to stand by them and accept that he will be judged publicly by the rather unforgiving standards that come with it.

As such, even among those who identify as “very liberal,” Tebow’s approval rating is 30%, and his disapproval rating is… also 30%. No group actively dislikes the dude.

And yet, you can’t swing a crucifix without running into articles about “The People Who Hate Tim Tebow,” without hearing Fox News’ talking heads blathering on about the War on Tebow, or William “I wrote that book about virtues, then lost $8 million on slot machines” Bennett intoning very seriously that Tebow is not to be mocked. To wit:

Tebow is a good man and a good football player. He’s a man of character, faith and integrity. He’s also a Heisman Trophy winner, a two-time BCS national champion and arguably one of the greatest college football players of all time.


Tebow is a role model for sports fans everywhere. But instead of lifting him up, too many commentators, critics and even fellow athletes mock and deride him and hope that he fails.

The latest example is “Tebowing,” where one kneels in prayer with his or her head bent in mockery of Tebow’s usual touchdown celebration prayer. Several weeks ago, Detroit Lions’ linebacker Stephen Tulloch “Tebowed” after sacking Tebow and Detroit tight end Tony Scheffler “Tebowed” after catching a touchdown against the Broncos.

What is this shit? Tebowing is Tebowing because Tebow Tebows. Stephen Tulloch shouldn’t have needed to explain that he wasn’t mocking God. Nobody on Detroit would have Tebowed if 1) Tebow had prayed in a room privately like the vast majority of the NFL’s Christians, or 2) Denver was winning the game.

If you seek attention, when you fail, you’re going to be mocked in exactly that way. You’re not off limits just because you’re a good guy. And Tebow almost definitely is. But, you know, Bill Bennett didn’t rush to Brian Wilson’s defense when Casey Blake mocked his semi-religious, semi-celebratory, attention-calling gestures. And he shouldn’t have.

Beyond that, Tebow is not some shrinking violet whose feelings need to be protected. Look at him golfing! He invites the conversation. Which, really is all it is. The idea that people hate Tebow is on the whole, false. Go ahead, google “Tim Tebow hate,” see what happens. There may be one or two stray articles that actually profess to hate the guy from marginal sources, but mostly it’s articles about the straw man haters. You may very well note that whole post is mostly about media coverage of Tebow rather than Tim Tebow itself.

Do you want to know why the criticisms of Tebow’s actual play are generally disregarded? Because they’re boring. Let me make them really quickly. Tebow’s style is a different, if momentarily effective one. The reason people doubt his results is not because he is religious. It’s because, regardless of running ability, it is difficult to win games while completing fewer than 10 passes. It is difficult to remain healthy while running the ball double digit times in every game. No quarterback who runs the ball this well and throws it this poorly has ever won a Super Bowl. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, just that it currently looks unlikely. Statistically speaking, the idea of “clutch” has largely been proven to be nonexistent, so more thoughtful analysts tend to disregard it.

However, it’s my opinion that Tebow’s blend of long bombs (9-18, 143 yards being a fairly representative performance), running ability from the quarterback position (which, by the way help frees up the Broncos’ regular running game because it forces the defenders to not rush up-field as hard) and never turning the ball over would naturally lead to a quarterback who is more effective than the numbers would show. Vince Young had a somewhat similar performance in his rookie season. The Harvardites in the link regard Young’s rookie season as a fluke–I tend to believe that these particular skills that rookie Vince Young and Tim Tebow possess are undervalued. But it should be noted VY couldn’t sustain success.

To recap:

  1. Even the group that likes Tim Tebow the least feels neutrally as a whole about Tebow
  2. The idea of widespread Tebow hateration is a myth, and any negative coverage of him is more likely negative coverage of the fawning coverage of Tim Tebow.
  3. Joking about someone is not some horrible moral affront–and in fact it can coexist with liking that person.
  4. Tebow is probably underrated by most statistical measures, but is, at the moment a fairly effective NFL quarterback.
  5. My bad about this post being so serious and about football.
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One thought on “I Like Tim Tebow. So Does Everyone Else. Can We Move on Yet?

  1. kita says:

    I hope you’ll consider the Tebow Straw Man example in a Philosophy text sometime Jordan.
    – I know now I won’t have trouble in future keeping that fallacy straight from all the frightful Fallacies there are out there to trip into. You may laugh, but I’ll glad to finally get that one straightened out from all the If A equals B and B does not equal Cs…..!

    I love the recap!

    Heads up Eva, “Tebowing” is an element of cultural Anthropology. Here’s to you getting into a great Anthropology department next year!!

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