You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.
- James L. Allen, American Novelist and Short-Story Writer (1849-1925)
Never has an NFL player faced so much doubt and so much hate.
We’ve never seen a player get called out to this degree by fellow players, both current and former, guys like Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith, Jermichael Finley, Joe Flacco and Merrill Hoge . . . it goes beyond a few guys just questioning whether he has what it takes, it’s the level of the criticism, you just never see that kind of sniping from NFL players against another player.
Even as Michael Vick was going to prison for betting on dogs and cheering it on as the dogs tore each other apart, his fellow players had his back and were either silent about it or offered Vick words of encouragement.
What has Tebow ever done to attract all the doubt and all the hate? Bend on one knee after a touchdown and give his Lord and Savior thanks?
“I don’t get it,” said Champ Bailey, the Broncos’ star cornerback. “You can say it looks different or whatever you want, but don’t say he won’t make it. You don’t do that. This is like a big fraternity for me. Guys who do that, I lose respect for them.”
And then there’s the legion of scumbags like Bill Maher, who go far beyond ill will wrapped inside of football analysis and are completely undisguised in their hate for Tebow, hating him for who he is and everything he stands for.
Watching Tebow win, I honestly don’t know which I enjoy more, seeing a kid with such great heart and character exceed all expectations, or thinking of all the Christian-hating bigots like Bill Maher, clutching his remote in anguish, wanting to change the channel, but unable to turn away because Tebow’s shocked the world again, and now Tebow’s down on one knee, praying to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ after another game-winning touchdown and they’re nearly apoplectic because this can’t be happening because they said he couldn’t make it, he wasn’t not good enough, he wasn’t skilled enough . . . ahhhhh! This can’t be happening!!!
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So for all the haters out there, let’s relive your misery and take a look at what Tebow has treated us to so far in his first season as an NFL starter:
- In his first start, led the largest comeback in NFL history with fewer than 3:00 remaining, bringing the Broncos back from down 15 to beat the Dolphins.
- In a comeback win against the Jets, Tebow capped the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run with 0:58 remaining, marking the longest game-winning scoring run by a quarterback in the final minute of regulation in NFL history.
- Down 8 at the half, another 4th quarter comeback win in Minnesota gives Tebow a tie for the NFL record with five 4th quarter and overtime comeback wins in his first 10 starts.
- The very next week, Tebow and the Broncos overcome a 10-point deficit against the Bears with just over two minutes to play. In the history of the NFL, no quarterback has ever had as many as six comeback victories in their first 11 starts.
- Add to the six comebacks the fact that in all three of the overtime comebacks, Tebow had to engineer a game-tying 4th quarter drive just to send it into overtime and you could call it three more comebacks within the six comebacks.
- Looking back on the 2011 regular season, the Broncos were 1-4 and looked like one of the worst teams in the league when Tebow got the starting job. At the end of the season, Tebow had helped lift the team to one of the most improbable playoff berths ever.
- Tebow’s first NFL playoff game? The best performance of his career. He passes for 316 yards, breaking John Elway’s team record for most passing yards in a playoff debut. Tebow connects on four passes of at least 30 yards in the second quarter alone (first time in a playoff game since 1960) and finishes with 5 for 30+. He sets the Bronco franchise record for QB rating in a playoff game (125.6) and an NFL record for yards per completion (31.6) in a playoff game. Tebow throws for a game-winning touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in overtime, the 80-yard touchdown pass is the longest overtime touchdown pass in NFL playoff history.
Whatever happens against the Patriots Saturday night, Tim Tebow’s rookie season has been more storybook than anyone could have ever imagined – best story of the entire year. Suck on that, haters.