I don't normally blog about sports, but I have a few things I need to say about the media darling that is Tim Tebow. I'm fully aware that doing so may get me excommunicated from both the church AND the South. I'm only half kidding. There are many in the South who equate any hint of criticism of Tebow with heresy. How can you say anything bad about a guy who wears biblical eyeblack? I must have forgotten how I was raised, because here it is.
I have a hard time buying Tim Tebow. I want to like him, I want to believe he is all he seems to be. No one can dispute that he puts his faith out for public consumption unashamedly, and an athlete of his age who will make that kind of public stand is both rare and commendable. But the cynic in me finds him just a little too studiously polished. Take, for instance, his crying jag at the end of the SEC championship game. I found it unnecessarily dramatic and self-consciously showy, like much of the rest of what he does, especially since the outcome of the game wasn't really in doubt for most of the fourth quarter. I don't begrudge the man some tears--it's a tough way to end an exceptional college career. I have an issue with the public spectacle of it. He's played on national television enough times to know what grabs the cameras. It looked to me to be one more opportunity for him to draw attention to himself. Look at me, ESPN, I'm man enough to cry on national television! Thank ya, Jeezus.
And since I'm on a tear, I'm also not quite sure why the media raves about Tebow's leadership. If leadership consists of screaming, double fist pumping and head butting, then yes, he's the second coming of Nelson Mandela. But forgive me if I'm less than impressed by the theatrics. I've seen televangelists who were calmer. Maybe it's a personal preference, but I've always been drawn to leaders who exude a quiet confidence. There's no disputing that Tebow has picked his team up and put them on his back more than a few times. His improvisation, his tough running, his clutch plays--all very impressive. But let's not confuse performance with leadership. If I'm an NFL coach, do I really want my quarterback bursting a vein in his neck screaming at his teammates on the sidelines? Or giving himself a concussion when he head butts a helmeted player? Or would I rather have the calm, confident field general who lets those around him jump around and do the flashy stuff while he directs the winning drive? I think I'd rather have the latter, and I think Tebow's Sundays in the future will probably be best spent in church.