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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Tebowmania: the second coming

Published: January 20, 2012
Section: Sports

The rollercoaster ride that was the Denver Broncos’ season finally came to an end this past Saturday with a blowout loss to the New England Patriots. Tebow had a sub-par performance with no touchdowns, five sacks and a lost fumble, but the Broncos team played even worse, which is clear in the 45-10 loss. Some people would like to think that this game put Tebowmania to bed, but an overwhelming majority still can’t seem to get enough of that Tebow. Tebowmaniacs can take a sigh of relief because this entire offseason will be dedicated to following the Denver quarterback.

The offseason edition of Tebowmania has already begun with John Elway’s “vote of confidence,” saying that Tebow will be the starting quarterback going into training camp. This is the most unconfident vote of confidence I’ve ever heard; I think what Elway meant to say was that Tebow will be trying out to keep his starting job this summer. If people looked at Tim Tebow like any other quarterback, a phony statement like this wouldn’t even be necessary this early, but that is one huge if. Since nobody can seem to look at him as the quarterback he truly is, it drains out all the drama.

If you look past the mystique of Tebow and simply look at him as an NFL quarterback, you get this: Tim Tebow had the worst completion percentage among quarterbacks this season, along with the lowest pass yards per game. He’s tied for second in fumbles for quarterbacks and threw 12 touchdown passes, the same number as Jacksonville rookie Blaine Gabbert. Rookie Andy Dalton of the Bengals led his team to more wins and had much better numbers than Tebow, but America didn’t go through “Dalton Fever” or “Andy-mania.”

So what was it about Tim Tebow that captivated football fans and defined the entire NFL season? Why did the simple act of bending on one knee in prayer, which athletes have done forever, create the term Tebowing? I don’t have all the answers, I don’t even think the guy for whom Tebow is kneeling knows, but I think people like seeing Tebow prove all the critics wrong by grinding out and winning games without having the prototypical skill set. Tebow is the anti-Brady, the anti-Brees and the anti-Elway, and fans like this deviation from the norm. They want to see a guy beat all the odds, do things his own way and most importantly win his way.

Last Saturday Tom Brady threw six touchdowns, tying the NFL record for pass touchdowns in a playoff game, but Tim Tebow left the field surrounded by dozens of cameramen and reporters, not Brady. It is a sure sign of the constant surveillance that Tim Tebow will be under this offseason. Golf tournaments, charity events and even vacations will be followed just as closely as one of his fourth-quarter drives down the field. CBS even asked Tebow to join their studio as an analyst for the remainder of the playoffs; however, Tebow denied. Tebow will probably still be in commercials, unnecessary press conferences and, who knows, maybe even a new reality show. I think “Kourtney and Kim Take Tebow” sounds like a sure hit.

Don’t be surprised to see hours of offseason practice footage of Tim Tebow and the analysis of his throwing mechanics that is sure to follow. People will question his future with the Broncos and his potential as a quarterback in the NFL. Even people who don’t believe in his ability as an NFL quarterback will have to talk about him. They’ll simply pour on the compliments to his personality and work ethic. “He’s such a great kid.” “Nobody works harder than Tim Tebow.” “The kid is a winner.” Even Tebow’s own coach, John Fox, took part in this, refusing to comment on his raw skills, as the 31 other head coaches have done concerning their quarterbacks.

Whether you like it or not, Tebowmania is here to stay and it’s going to be a long ride. If you need a break from it this offseason, I suggest watching college basketball, unless Florida is playing of course, or watching the NBA, unless the Denver Nuggets are playing. Maybe just put on some golf but don’t watch the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach in a few weeks because Tebow was invited to that too. On second thought, your best bet is to read a good long book, work on your penmanship or clean out that cluttered attic. Just stay away from the Internet and keep the TV turned off. You could explode from a Tebow-verdose when you see Tim Tebow’s golf swing examined in slow motion on ESPN. But why does he need a good swing? He’s such a great kid; he’ll find a way to win.