Today’s post is written by Ben Zajdel, a fellow blogger and DFW resident. I have talked a lot about my love for Tim Tebow, but when Ben approached me about a post that included The Admiral, I knew he was a psychic. David Robinson is my favorite baller of all time.
If you would like to guest post, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are few players in professional sports that scream controversy like Tim Tebow. He is a lightning rod for debate, enough so that ESPN seems to find a way to slip him into every roundtable discussion program they air. Many people feel this is because of how outspoken he is of his Christian faith. I disagree.
Tebow was going to be controversial no matter what religion he claimed. First of all, he had immense college success, winning two national championships, the 2007 Heisman Trophy, and setting numerous school and SEC records. Any player who has that much success in college is going to be scrutinized at the professional level. Especially when that player is a quarterback, one of the most controversial positions in all of sports. People pick apart Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. It’s only natural they would go after Tebow as well, who is the definition of unorthodox mechanics. Tebow’s throwing motion was a hot topic when he was in college, which was essentially a regional debate. When he jumped to the national coverage of the NFL, it was a given that there would be many more media types to criticize every incomplete pass and side-armed lob.
Then, to draw even more attention to himself, Tebow did the unthinkable: he started winning. He led the Denver Broncos to a playoff victory in 2011 after they started the season 1-4. There’s nothing this country loves more than the story of an underdog, and with Tebow, they had one of the scrappiest in recent memory. It didn’t matter that all the experts said his mechanics were bad. He won. Tebow defied all the predictions and guided his team to victory, over and over again, often in dramatic fashion. And still the controversy swirled around him.
It has nothing to do with his faith. There are plenty of Christian professional athletes who do not invite the media circus that Tebow does. A good example was David Robinson, center for the Spurs from 1989-2003. Robinson has always been an outspoken Christian, even during his playing days, and there was no controversy surrounding him. The reason? Robinson looked like an NBA center and played like one, too. He didn’t shoot 3-pointers or handle the ball. He played the center position in a very traditional way, and did it quite successfully. I will concede that when Robinson was playing media was very different than it is now, but I don’t think it would make much difference.
Tim Tebow is controversial because he wins in unorthodox ways. He plays the quarterback position in a way that we have never seen before and are unlikely to see again. His Christian faith is scrutinized because it is an aspect of his life, which is already under the microscope because of all the reasons mentioned above. Love him or hate him, Tebow draws attention because he is unique as a professional athlete, not because he speaks about Jesus.
Ben Zajdel is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, works in a Christian bookstore, watches entirely too much basketball, and has written a few short books you might enjoy. You can keep up with him at www.benzajdel.com or on Twitter, @benzajdel.