Monday, January 23, 2012

America's Love/Hate Relationship With Tim Tebow

No matter how hard I try I just can't understand the whole Tim Tebow issue. Why does a quarterback in the NFL warrant so much attention and why does the mere mention of his name elicit such fervent commentary from both sides of the love/hate crowd? It all seems rather silly to me.

Yes, I know many of the haters base their opinion on their interpretation of his actual performance but judging from personal experience and what I've seen and heard, this rational contingent is a minority. So he's a Christian and he's not afraid to show it, big deal. Good for him. Whoop-de-freaking-do. Get over it. His choice of religion hurts you how, exactly? The 2 or 3 seconds he spends on one knee ruins your football experience how, exactly? Oh, it doesn't. So what's the issue? It's not like he's the first NFL player to ever perform an on-field ritual derived from or related to religion and I doubt he'll be the last. It's not all that uncommon to see a player raise their eyes toward "heaven" and mouth a simple thank you (or more), or even to see a player make the sign of the cross. So why is Tebow so different?

No, I am not a Christian nor do I hold Christianity as a whole in high esteem, quite the opposite is true so you can forget that argument. I don't consider his brief displays offensive. What I do consider offensive is the generally asinine attitudes of people as a result. It's so blown out of proportion that his 2 second prayers took precedence over the game. More offensive to me is when "news" cameramen rush over to literally shove a camera into the man's face in hopes of catching his prayer on film while completely disregarding the game itself. WTF? The entire free world knows he prays, it's no longer "news". A man's prayer to his god of choice is frankly nobody's business but his own. I have little remaining respect for the religion but I do have respect for his right to practice and observe it.

Even sillier is how perfectly willing so many people are to heap blame on the man when his team loses, but how completely unwilling these same people are to give him any credit at all when they win. Don't you think that's rather hypocritical? Seriously, if he can play bad and be therefore responsible for the loss, why can he not be responsible for the win when he plays well? The Broncos' record improved dramatically when he took over as quarterback, but he sucks. He can throw pass after perfect pass to receivers who are running full speed some 30, 40, even 50 yards down field, passes so perfect that the ball practically falls into the receiver's hands without need for them to so much as break stride for even one step. But he sucks. He set team records, he set records in college, and he set records as far back as high school, but he sucks. So what, exactly, does a quarterback have to do before you admit he may have talent? Oh, that's right, he has to forget his religion when on the field because after all, that's what really determines an athlete's skill. Silly me.

Is he young and inexperienced? Yep. Will he make mistakes? Yep. Funny thing about that, every player on every team in every sport has been there done that. Yes, he and his Broncos got their ass handed to them by the Patriots. Wow, what a surprise. The Patriots are a team led by a veteran quarterback who's been one of the best for over a decade, a quarterback who's been to the Superbowl four times, winning it three of those times. Comparatively speaking the Patriots are an older and more experienced team. It should have been no surprise at all that a team led by a rookie quarterback still establishing himself as the team leader, who has still not played the equivalent game count of an entire season, would lose to a team such as the Patriots. Then again, the Patriots are smart enough to respect Tebow's abilities and properly defend against them, probably why they were the only team able to beat him twice. They beat Tebow by not allowing him to do what he does best, throw the football. No quarterback can be "good" when he has no protection and no open receivers for the majority of the game. The Broncos lost that game, not Tim Tebow.

Then there's the crowd who adore the man, and go apoplectic should anyone dare utter a single negative word about him. Again many of these people base their opinion on their interpretation of his actual performance but judging from personal experience and what I've seen and heard this rational contingent is also a minority. From my observations, most of these people think and speak so highly of Tebow simply because he is Christian, these people have no clue regarding his athletic prowess, most probably couldn't even name the team he plays for. I have family in this category, much to my embarrassment. This religion inspired pro-Tebow camp only know that Tebow is one of "them". However, if he were to unroll a prayer rug, kneel on it then prostrate himself while uttering a quick prayer to Allah I suspect they'd have a significantly different opinion. In fact, I'd bet most of this crowd would be shitting bricks, foaming at the mouth while rabidly demanding such public displays of religion be immediately, permanently, and irrevocably banned. Thus is the hypocrisy of Christianity. "God wanted Tim Tebow to win that game."  How absurd, like any "God" would be even remotely concerned with the outcome of a football game. That's funny.

What I find most interesting about the whole thing is that both sides use the same justification to legitimize their differing viewpoints, and this justification in actuality has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue. "He prays, therefore he is a good player" and "He prays, therefore I like him" are as equally nonsensical as "He prays, therefore he is a bad player" and "He prays, therefore I dislike him." Religion does not define the measure of a man, neither does his publicly displayed observance of that religion. From what I've read about the man he does a lot of good in this world through his own organization and through his participation and/or affiliation with numerous other charities and similar organizations. Those actions tell more about the man than his religion ever could. 

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