Klosterman on the people who hate Tim Tebow

Chuck Klosterman has a strong piece on the people who hate Tim Tebow. I liked this piece because it inverted the usual structure of the Tebow discussion, which I can summarize as “TEBOWTEBOWTEBOWTEBOWHARFHARFHARF”. (Or, as Spencer Hall has accurately put it: “YOUR STUPID NON-COLLEGE-FOOTBALL-WATCHING RELATIVE SAYS: ‘Oregon has the uniforms and the colors and the things, don’t they? What’s with that? Hey, what do you think of Tim Tebow? ‘Cause I’ve got some real strong opinions I’d like to share.'”) From Klosterman:

The crux here, the issue driving this whole “Tebow Thing,” is the matter of faith. It’s the ongoing choice between embracing a warm feeling that makes no sense or a cold pragmatism that’s probably true. And with Tebow, that illogical warm feeling keeps working out. It pays off. The upside to secular thinking is that — in theory — your skepticism will prove correct. Your rightness might be emotionally unsatisfying, but it confirms a stable understanding of the universe. Sports fans who love statistics fall into this camp. People who reject cognitive dissonance build this camp and find the firewood. But Tebow wrecks all that, because he makes blind faith a viable option. His faith in God, his followers’ faith in him — it all defies modernity. This is why people care so much. He is making people wonder if they should try to believe things they don’t actually believe.

There’s lots here, but I do think it’s right, especially the point about the statistics crowd. The statistics crowd wants everyone to understand just how unlikely it is that Tebow is winning or that he will continue to win; how unorthodox this whole thing is versus the typical pro quarterback; and most of all they — and I really wonder if it is because understanding football requires knowledge on multiple levels and the stats guys don’t really “get” the things that Tebow does well — have a difficult time both appreciating a guy’s performance and results without having to feel like he’s the greatest quarterback ever and will inevitably “change the game” or whatever (Cam Newton and maybe Robert Griffin III are more likely to “change the game” than Tebow).

In any event, I don’t really understand why Tebow is so polarizing, on both sides. As Klosterman says, “Equally bizarre is the way both groups [in the Tebow debate] perceive themselves as the oppressed minority who are fighting against dominant public opinion, although I suppose that has become the way most Americans go through life.” I do know that the stats guys all seem to think Tebow is terrible, while there are almost no coaches I know that don’t respect and root for Tebow. With that group, you hear a lot of “that guy could lead and quarterback my team any time.” Tebow has an awful lot to improve upon if he wants sustained success, but the success he’s had so far is not exactly a mystery.

  • Bo Jackson

    One of the most interesting things about Tebow is how so many people seem to miss the obvious: quarterback play is not nearly as important to team success as we have been told. The NFL (and, by extension, the various television networks that collude with the NFL) has a vested interest in promoting the quarterback as the most important player on the field because the position is the most marketable. In fact, being a successful quarterback has never been easier, as rule changes have opened up the passing game, the first generation of quarterbacks raised on West Coast fundamentals have entered the league, and technology has improved communication between the player and the coaches.

  • Anonymous

    I agree and I’ll take it a step further: A lot of teams seem determined to make the game all about the quarterback. That makes sense for a handful of teams — New England with Tom Brady, Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers, and so on — but there’s no reason that the bottom ten teams should be trying to win games the same way that the Green Bay Packers do, but for some reason that is exactly their plan.

    I will give John Fox credit for adapting to Tebow and his team. With Carolina, he tried to play the quarterback game that everyone else in the NFL plays with Jimmy Clausen, and as a result he lost his job and he had the worst team in the league (his team had many other problems as well). This season it appears, after things got bad and given the great play of his defense, he decided to take a different approach and so far it’s working (with some luck too).

  • Bigsandwich6

    I think it is fascinating how we (in a general sense) want to quantify Tebow and his play resists that.  The large majority of people want to compare him to someone else (the next Elway, Brady, etc.) and no one in recent memory comes to mind.  The bottom line should be winning.

  • Bo Jackson

    Well I’ll take it even a step further than you have and commit actual heresy: the New England Patriots have been successful for reasons unrelated to Tom Brady. Their offense emphasizes easy passes and their only real success (not counting 2007 which was a very strange and complicated season) came when they had a versatile and intelligent set of defensive players. The many qualities that people ascribe to Tom Brady are either overblown (accuracy is a good example, as he has real problems throwing medium-to-deep on the outside) or simply myths (the idea that he is a particularly clutch player, despite throwing away multiple postseason games). The Patriots’s offensive system and Belichick’s defensive innovations in the early 2000s were responsible for their success, not Brady.

    The only quarterback I can point to that has been worth building a team around in the past decade is Peyton Manning. As good as Rodgers has been, the Packers were built with their defense as a priority and it was their defense that made them winners last year.

  • Kyle

    To my mind, the biggest problem with Tebow is the over-coverage.  Much as Manning, Brady, etc. are polarizing because people tire of hearing about them, Tebow is the same.  

    I think Tebow hatred gets more vitriolic because the media has never released a negative story about him (even though he played for an SEC team, which means a large segment of the CFB viewing public hated him simply for donning that jersey), and the oversaturation doesn’t seem to be warranted relative to his abilities (i.e., Aaron Rodgers is a much better QB than Tim Tebow, but there are far more Tebow stories than Aaron Rodgers stories).

  • Jwallace0317

    Out of all the explanations offered for the “polarization” and massive media coverage of Tebow, Klosterman’s piece is the first one article I’ve seen that gets it right.  We’ve had countless quarterbacks in the past who had great success in college and it fostered a debate over whether they could succeed in the NFL.  In this respect, the entire “can Tebow succeed” debate is not new.  What IS unique is the intensity of the criticism leveled at the QB from the time he first contemplated going pro.  It’s important to note that before Tebow was drafted, there wasn’t a significant and vocal group of sportswriters who were making a point of saying that Tebow would be a success in the NFL.  Tebow’s fan base certainly loved the guy but most sports fans who rooted for Tebow could (and do) acknowledge his shortcomings related to the pro style game.  So, there’s no other way to explain the justification for that early and heavy barrage of critique (with a ratio that I could unofficially estimate as about 9 media haters for every 1 supporter) other than it was based on an underlying prejudice against his faith (or, at least, his expression of it).  There’s just no other reasonable explanation for it.  The beginnings of the “Tebow will suck as a pro” campaign was a counter to…nothing, because there really wasn’t a group of people saying this technical abilities as a quarterback were actually superb.

    Regardless of its origins, once the “Tebow will suck campaign” picked up momentum, it became a self-generated controversy.  In effect, the media collectively said “wow, it seems we’ve really beaten down this Tebow guy with respect to his abilities….are we right?  Or is it possible for this many sportswriters and former players to be wrong, that Tebow will actually sustain himself as a starter in the NFL?  What a story!  Let’s talk about it and make more news!  Let’s find people who are pro-Tebow and are willing to give an interview slamming Merril Hoge!”  And on and on.  Why the frenzy has been unabated (and, even increased in size) is due to the logs being thrown into the fire by each factual proposition Tebow has proven wrong, i.e., he won’t be drafted high, he won’t actually start a game in the NFL, he won’t actually win a game (the famous Hoge quote: “It’s embarrassing to think the Broncos will win with Tebow as starter!”), he won’t win more than a game or two, he won’t win a game with his arm, etc.  There’s no way to avoid such a huge conflagration of media coverage once so many strongly voiced predictions are proven wrong.  Those who voiced the early and harsh predictions, and the people who supported those predictions, are now faced with saying: (a) hey, I was wrong, it happens; (b) well, I might have been wrong, but Tebow still sucks!; or (c) I won’t admit or deny I was wrong, but here are some more predictions (Hoge now says: Tebow will never win a super bowl).  We’ve mostly seen (b) and (c), which understandably attracts attention because of the lack of intellectual honesty in those positions.  

    The sad thing is that so little of the coverage generated by Tebow, positive or negative, is his own doing.  In fact, the two most significant things he’s done which have garnered non-football-related attention (appear in the super bowl ad, and write a book) are barely mentioned, if it all, in the current discussions about him.  It’s not like the guy is stoking the fire with his post-game interviews (uniformly polite and with little to say other than praise of teammates and coaches), he’s not on Letterman or Leno making appearances, he’s not doing a Dateline special or interview with Barbara Walters, he’s just showing up for work, working hard, and trying to help his team get wins. 

  • Ram


  • Bo Jackson

    I personally dislike Tebow for teaming up with known hate group Focus On the Family for that Super Bowl ad. The content of the ad is immaterial.

  • Yrro Simyarin

    Agreed. I dislike hearing about Tebow because as a college football fan I feel that I have been hearing about nothing *but* Tebow for five years. Because every story wants to credit Denver’s remarkable turnaround entirely to Tebow, and his faith, as though he prays them to victory. Rather than to solid but unspectacular quarterback play, a good O-line, a big improvement in their defense, and the fact that they’ve missed most of the NFL heavyweights during their run.

    It has nothing to do with having “faith” in a player or in statistics. I hugely respect what he did at the college level, and how good he is at leading a team and in plowing through people. I just don’t want to have to hear about him any more.

    Kyle Orton won a fair number of games for Denver as well, and even when he wasn’t he had a solid passer rating. But the only analysis you ever heard out of Denver is “when is Tebow going to start?”

  • Anonymous

    Why do people hate Tebow? Put part of the blame on the Tebow fans (in and out of the media).

    Whenever you say something critical of the guy it’s like you have to qualify it by saying “He’s a good guy, but…” Even if your criticism isn’t personal against the guy, they think it is.

    The media has never been as focused on a guy’s ‘intangibles’ and character, though the NFL has better leaders and men who lead equally moral lives. Many Tebow fans are rabid and irrational and give him credit for wins
    which were the result of a good and opportunistic defense. Some of his Christian fans take genuine criticisms of the guy as an expression of anti-Christian bias. He can have a poor game but all anyone say is “But he wins,” as if the win is because of, and not despite, Tebow.

  • I think you are saying that you hate him because he affiliates with those whom you think hate others.

  • Bo Jackson

    I don’t “think” Focus On the Family hates others. They are a hate group as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their anti-woman and anti-gay agenda. They’ve been major funders of anti-gay rights causes and have been responsible for spreading tons of lies about LGBT persons.

    Tebow willingly did a commercial funded by them. That’s not really acceptable.

  • Bryant Denny

    Should you be on the hate list because you hate Tebow?

    He did a commercial saying he’s glad he wasn’t aborted.  Good grief.

  • Bo Jackson

    Like I already said, the content of the commercial is immaterial. It was funded by a known hate group. He acted as a spokesman for Focus on the Family which is a known hate group. If you care at all about things like LGBT rights or reproductive rights for women (or even keeping blatant lies out of the political process) then you should find his involvement in that ad unacceptable too.

  • Bryant Denny

    “Known hate group” – I like how you and your gang get to define who and what is acceptable to hate.

    “Content of the commercial is immaterial” – No it isn’t.  Whoever funded those commercials paid big money to help folks understand their point of view.

    I don’t find his involvement unacceptable and Focus on the Family isn’t a hate group. 

    Oh, and by the way, I don’t hate gays, lesbians or people who have had abortions.

  • Bo Jackson

    Focus on the Family spreads lies about LGBT people, like that sexual orientation can be treated with counseling or that gays and lesbians don’t want to get married and that their true agenda is to destroy the institution of marriage. They compare gays and lesbians to pedophiles and people who engage in bestiality. If spreading lies about marginalized groups and attempting to deny them their civil rights doesn’t make them a hate group then I don’t know what would.

    I’ve made no accusations about you, so no need to be defensive. I’m not sure who “[me] and [my] gang” are meant to be – liberals? – but I can assure you that I don’t call FotF a hate group lightly.

    With that in mind, Tim Tebow acted as a spokesman for this organization. He agreed to do an advertisement for them directing viewers to their website to read their lies. That is reason enough to dislike – not hate – Tebow.

  • Paul Meisel

    Interesting.  I put myself in the crowd that are just weary of the hype.  However, when the Broncos pull a comeback, it’s a good football story whether the QB’s name is Tim Tebow or Tom Terrific or Joe Bagadonuts.  And when a QB is winning with sub-50% completions it’s a football story too.

    Re Klosterman’s comments on Roethlisberger’s toughness: years ago, when Ben was an infant, I worked with some of his relatives.  Big tough hard working men.  Toughness runs in the family.

  • Yrro Simyarin

    Examples from tonight’s game. Denver finishes a 13-10 comeback win involving a walk-off 59-yard field goal to tie, then a 51 yard field goal to win.

    And the coverage later that night is all about Tebow, even including a specific mention that he prayed for the field goal to go in…

    But no, we hate Tebow because we believe in statistics instead of faith, that’s it.

    *I* see you, Prater. Awesome kicks there.

  • Barry Sanders

    Bo doesn’t know…

  • Richard A

    I think the ignorance and predjudiced opinions really run on both sides. As Bo above demonstrates by being pretty extreme with his characterization of a certain lobby group. I get what he’s saying but his voice comes across as amped up because it takes time and effort to make a comment that really shows the nuances of an idea and also why a competing and divergent idea (your own) could be feasible while still respecting the premises that the other arguments are built on (intellectual respect for others).

    I think a lot of the discussion kinda gets down to an analysis of how you separate a person from their actions. You mentioning needing to qualify criticism got me onto this. How are criticisms not personal? Some people have compulsive addictions and what not but for the most part I think people think about why they do the things they do, and then to suddenly call out those actions, well, that’s like calling out a persons choice in clothing, or music or what they spend their time and money on, which is kind of an extension of that person. And in the case of addictions, or moral corruption, I think it’s certainly fair to have a connection between a person’s actions and responsibilities, to still connect a person directly to their behavior no matter the case. I certainly don’t want any drunk drivers on the road saying it was my disease’s fault that I killed your loved one so I can’t be held responsible, and then getting behind the wheel without getting treatment for ‘a lifestyle’ or ‘inherited genetics’.

    As for defense or Tebow being the cause of their winning, they win as a team, it’s symbiotic, it’s both and I have no problem saying it was a team effort. Really I think it’s silly to think about assigning personal glory in a team sport, everyone does the best they can with their assignments and responsibilities and as a team they either fail or succeed, and I think Tebow does a good job with crediting others for their team success while still working at his responsibilities.

    I say all this as a Christian Patriots fan who enjoys Tebow’s success but certainly hope the Bronco’s lose next week. I mean I know it’ll happen sometime so it might as well be next week, then the Post-Modernists will really be able to lean into us Christian fundamentalists.

  • Richard A

    I guess criticism of a guy in an arena of fictional value, namely sport,
    is the closest thing you could ever get to criticism being an impersonal thing.

    So many fascinating ways to think about how people think are brought up by Tebow, so much to consider.

    I always have the impression that with the ‘net I have to say something on a thread while it’s active to get a response but I never think I put something really solid out with such a hasty response

  • Bo Jackson

    Nothing I’ve said is ignorant or prejudiced. Focus on the Family spreads lies about gays and lesbians and attempts to deny them their civil rights. They are listed by the SPLC, a respected organization, as a hate group. My view is not extreme, ignorant or prejudiced. If you have facts to counter my assertions then please provide them. Otherwise I would ask that you remain civil. It’s a football blog and there’s no reason to get snippy on this point. My only purpose in bringing up the FotF commercial was to point to another reason why a person might dislike Tim Tebow (i.e. he promoted a hate group on national television).

  • Richard A

    Bo, I think you’re a great athlete but I think we see the world very differently and we’re gonna just have to agree to have different beliefs about this.

    I could build a series of airtight syllogisms but really if you want to discount the premises and evidence you could certainly do so because the world is open to endlessly different interpretations.

    Hate is a strong word, and relying on expert testimony which you haven’t exhaustively presented here (not an invitation to) is a partially flawed argument. Nothing is another strong absolutist word, so when constructing statements it’s usually best to avoid such extreme language, unless you’re wanting to pick a fight.

    To me what is really interesting to consider is how others on this board interpret and are affected by our dialogue.

    FYI – Not the real Barry Sanders, Discus for some reason won’t change my name to my real name, Used Barry’s name as a joke for my initial response to you’re battery of comments.

  • Jrt2020_2

    I only dont like him for one reason-I cant stand the religious things on the football field.  Keep it at home or in your own worship house.  I dont see any other professional football player pulling that kind of nonsense-it reminds me of a rookie.  Oh, thats right, he is.  If he wants to give praise to the Man, thats fine, but do it at home and not in front of all the cameras.  Cant we go anywhere anymore without getting sciptural references or religion shoved down our throats?  Come on, its a football game, not a religious lesson.  These type of guys are always trying to “witness” to everybody and convert people.  If you want to do that, quite football and become a missionary.   

  • Zkinter36

    As an agnostic football coach with an obsessive attention to detail in teaching a pro style system, I’m sure you can figure out where I stand in regards to Tim Tebow.  What kills me, is that he is receiving more attention than Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers… All of whom are putting together ridiculous seasons.  Although Tebow’s competitive drive is something that I will never question, I do however greatly question how long this experiment will last.  The key concept here is “style of play”…  It is obvious that Tebow has a very unique skill set that is leading his team to victory.  It is also clear that he has distinct deficiencies in the area of drop back passing.  The question is not about Tebow, the question is whether a certain style of play will be productive over the long haul.  History has proven otherwise.  When the “Wildcat” came into vogue a few years ago, it was very succesful.  Following it’s inception however, it’s effectiveness has consistently declined.  I can also remember another athletic quarterback who came out of a spread college system, experienced a lot of early NFL success, was thought to be the one who could “change the game”, and is now a mediocre backup… Vince Young anyone…

    I’m sure many a Christian would be offended by this comparison, as Vince Young’s character is highly questionable at this point in time.  And therein lies the problem.  Although his intangibles are much better than Young’s, they are both still football players who have to execute techniques.  Intangibles are critical, but your ability to execute plays is what wins you games.  For a certain group of people who buy into superstitous placebo however, dude is Jesus in cleats.  At the end of the day, that is their perogative.  But when I have to hear about it through the media every day, it is my perogative to call out their ignorance.  Tebow does himself no favors with how he communicates to the media either.  Always saying and doing what you are supposed to is not human.  Human’s are inherently flawed, and it is comical to me when an individual presents themself in the manner in which Tebow does.  It is highly transparent, and is very indicative of someone who is incapable of thinking for themselves… If it is indeed genuine.

    One thing that I have great faith in however, is that it is only going to get harder for JIC.  The more teams see you, the more they learn how to play you.  If you are not fully dimensional, your weaknesses will be blatently exposed.  Surely Elway is aware of this, and he is in a very tough position.  I think that he will definitely ride this thing out… But when it runs its course, in what position will the franchise be?

    I also have a hard time understanding why so many people are so hell bent on seeing shotgun/veer quarterback play succeed in the pros.  The NFL is a great product.  Watching Rodgers, Brees and Brady shred defenses is extremely entertaining.  What they do both mentally and physically is incomprehensible.  That is how Quarterback is played at the highest level.  End of story.

  • ric

    saying the word “tebow” in a casual conversation invokes vitriol. im not quite sure that a lot of people understand that the option is a legitimate offense/concept. you get people echoing the “you cant play that way in the nfl” talking point (sometimes just repeating it over and over). but thats what were finding out, isnt it? cam can throw better and is more elusive but tebow is doing a pretty good job of introducing (re-introducing?) this offense into the league, even if they aren’t going to it 30 times in every single game. i hope its not just an experiment. the things you think about as plusses for the option game are still holding true in the nfl: its a completely different thing to prepare for, its inherently difficult to defend, etc. well see how new england defends it. belichick is a great student of the game.

    id love to see the broncos throw that sweet shovel pass into the gameplan

  • Jim

    I hate the guy.  I am a FSU alumni so its the default postion for all uf players.  But, what put it over the top is the non stop praise he got while in college making watching not just games involving him but games that had nothing to do with uf or had implications for uf talking about him for minutes at a time.  Then came the greatest player in the history of college crap.  I know we have a short term meomory problem in this country and always want to label the current the best ever but come on it was 1 year removed from 2 QB’s that both have a better claim on the title than he does in Vince Young and Matt Leniort (sp).  Never mind great players like Tommy Frazier who gets my vote for the greatest college QB of my life time. 

    To go along with this the media all but rewrote history with him.  Before him it has been the custom to reward the winning of a championship to the starting QB or QB that played the majority of the snaps under center at least in the championship game but most often during at least the majority of the season.  Yet, now Chris Leak is written out of history its like he never took the 85 percent of the snaps under center.  Or talk about giving all the praise to the QB when they win.  They act like uf had the talent level of Vandy or something not having what many consider the greatest recuriting class in history.  That uf has to go out of its way not to get a top 10 class of talent. 

    Finally, why he can never win me over that commerical.  Talk about lying.  Kid was recrutied by just about every school in Jacksonville and went to a pipeline power.  He had offers from at least FSU, Alabama and uf.  He was the 3rd ranked QB prospect in ESPN’s history and top ranked QB that year.  He was the front runner for the Heisman for 3 years.  Yet, he has the balls to say none of this existed. 

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  • Bryant Denny

    I would counter that there are examples of sexual orientation being treated with counseling and there certainly is a big part of pedophilia which is connected to homosexuality.

  • Clark

    Um, there are people who are also treated for mental illnesses by cutting holes in their skulls to let the demons out. Doesn’t mean that it’s a valid form of treatment. And FotF’s view also holds that homosexuality is an illness that must be cured.

    On the point about pedophilia being connected to homosexuality, it’s also highly connected to heterosexuality.

    All of this is getting far afield of the unmistakeable fact that Tim Tebow’s brand of Christianity and the hype connected to it rubs a lot of people the wrong way, even a lot of Christians like myself who aren’t generally annoyed by displays of religious devoutness on and off the playing field.

  • Clark

    I wonder what would happen if the Broncos’ defense stopped playing so stellar, but Tebow performed at exactly the same level. Would Tebow get the blame for not being able to lead the comeback, or would the defense get the blame for not keeping them in the game long enough for Tebow to bring them back?

  • Jwallace0317

    I have to say, I’m always perplexed by the childish overreaction to Tebow’s religious expressions.  You would think from some of the comments here that Tebow gives a sermon every time he’s interviewed.  It’s one thing to say that you don’t want religion thrown in your face, and it’s another to go off the deep end and complain about things that are pretty trivial and innocuous.  I’m not a religious person by any means, but I’m hardly bothered by the fact that a player starts an interview with the “thank my savior Jesus Christ” sentence.  I mean, it’s one sentence, and it’s not like Tebow turns his interviews into a discussion of Christianity or gives a religious slant to every answer he gives.  I watched the entirety of the post-game press conference after the Bears game and aside from one sentence at the beginning and a “god bless” at the end, the guy answered football questions for 20 minutes and did nothing but compliment his teammates and coaches.  His bible thumping is practically non-existent when it comes to what a sports fan is exposed to in Tebow’s pre-game and post-game statements.  I mean, Ray Lewis has been giving thanks to the Lord for years, and even stated in an interview that he had a conversation with God before giving a pre-game speech to his teammates, and no one’s out there railing against Lewis for expressing his religious beliefs.  What’s funny is that people are dying for Tebow to say something after a game that suggests he believes God mandated the outcome of the game, but yet Tebow always goes the complete other direction, consistently giving secular explanations for what happened on the field (players believing in each other, not giving up, making plays in clutch situations, etc.), and never saying the things that the haters expect him to say, like “that win was God’s plan, the Lord was looking out for us today,” etc.

    I also think it’s pretty simple minded, bordering on a 3rd grader’s logic, to hate on Tebow because of the extent of the media’s coverage of the guy.  Direct the hate to ESPN or various other media.  Sent some hate email to them if you don’t like how much you hear about Tebow.  It’s not the guy’s fault that he’s being covered extensively.  Pretty much every sportswriter now likes to talk about  “Tebow Time” when it comes to the Broncos’ wins, and last night Tebow made a point of saying “it’s not Tebow time, it’s Bronco time.”  Seriously, give the dude a break!

    I’m also seeing another wave of overreaction with respect to the “how much credit do we give to Tebow” debate.  For the last 4 weeks, just about every single time I’ve seen commentators mention the Broncos’ win streak on ESPN or in any of the network coverage, the theme goes something like this, almost as if everyone received the same script reciting the 3 statements below:
            1.  Tebow does it again!  He sucks for 3-plus quarters, shows off his awkward throwing motion, and then starts playing like a champ! (All this all being factually true)
            2.  Well, here’s the thing, it’s not all Tebow, the Broncos defense has been playing lights out, particularly Von Miller, and that defense has been keeping Denver in the game.  And, the offensive line has been run blocking extremely well for McGahee.  (All of this being factually true), and
            3.  How do we explain every aspect of the Denver team playing better since Tebow became starter?  (increase in team morale, poor opposition, luck (ex: Barber’s gaffes)).
    So, again, it’s not like the predominant view among the sports reporting community or the media is that Tebow is the sole reason for the Broncos’ success.  To the contrary, it’s consistently pointed out that there are numerous other factors at work.  Yet, again, the very theme of the anti-Tebow raging is “he’s not the sole reason for the Broncos’ success!”  The straw man strikes again.  The logic is mystifying.

  • Charles

    I’ve really come to appreciate Klosterman’s work at grantland. He doesn’t write about football, he writes about why we love football, and what we get out of it. America’s obsession with football is not about watching 22 guys running around on a field; it’s about the way we assign some greater meaning to what happens on the field. Think of Ohio State fans and how they view Tresselball as an expression and even a validation of the kind of old-fashioned blue collar Midwestern values they hold dear. Or look at Blutarsky and see how the UGA fans dismiss the flexbone as a paper offense well suited to those D&D playing nerds at Tech.*

    Tebow is the apotheosis of football-as-metaphor. Tebow-led victories are seen as victories for Christians, conservatives, and conservative Christians. Even stranger, every time Tebow does something right on the field, those who don’t like his politics or his version of Christianity seem to take it as a sort of personal affront.  This has led to him being probably the most highly politicized football player
    within living memory.  Tebow would probably not like to think of himself
    and his faith as ‘political’, but whether he likes it or not, that’s
    how people will view him– just see the lengthy politicized digression
    in the comments here.

    Then there are the people who dislike Tebow because he doesn’t fit into the preconceived mold of what a winning quarterback should be. These are people who would like to think of themselves as knowledgeable football fans but whose analysis probably doesn’t stretch beyond “you have to be able to throw deep in today’s NFL.” And these people take Tebow’s success really, really personally. What’s really strange is that here Tebow becomes the countercultural choice. I think it’s this tension that really drives the Tebow debate – depending on which thread of the narrative you’re looking at, he’s either the extreme conservative or the complete revolutionary. 

    * My favorite example is from Walker Percy’s self-help book/philosophical treatise/apologia/parody “Lost in the Cosmos” :   “The
    self is either unconscious of itself or only conscious of itself insofar as it is
    identified with a cosmological myth or classificatory system, eg, totenism. Ask
    a Bororo tribesman: Who are you? He may reply: I am a parakeet. (Ask an LSU fan
    at a football game: Who are you? He may reply: I am a tiger.)” A highly recommended read.

  • Zkinter36

    It’s not what Tebow says… It’s how he is… Ray Lewis is one who uses religion as an answer to the chaos that was inherent to his life… With Tebow… It’s like every single breath he takes has to be colored with the graces of god… He is unable to think outside of that box… He is a puppet for an ideology.

  • Zkinter36

    In fairness to Tebow though… He is a great competitor.

  • NWO

    In some strange way Tim Tebow channels the spirit of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. I know it is a stretch but Jackson had  magnetic leadership and he was famously devout. “My troops my fail to take a position, but are never driven from one !”

  • not bo jackson

     The SPLC is a known hate group.

  • Anonymous

    @f0b5cb14f45d6cd1bbf3b4d72254d739:disqus “…childish over-reaction….” 
    Unbelievable.  Dont know if you’ve noticed, but your in the minority on this one.  Maybe we should be talking about your childish under-reaction.”  This is a football blog, not a place for you to rant about how its ok for your buddy Tebow to flaunt his religious views everytime something good happens.  People dont like him-period.  I like how one guy said it:”…its how he does.”  Enough said.

  • Daniel Andrews

    Yet, there are only maybe 5 or 6 quarterbacks than can play these modified version of west coast and Air Coryell offenses at the highest level and maybe 4-5 other younger quarterbacks who are mildly competent at it.  It doesn’t matter level you are at, if the personnel don’t fit your scheme and can’t execute it competently it will not work. 

    The option can work in the NFL because 80 percent of the teams in the league are not equipped to play against it.  Denver’s offense is a work in progress that takes what it can get each game.  Denver on offense didn’t execute in the pass game against the Bears for 3 quarters and it was no fault of Tebow’s this time.  If he has half of those 8-10 dropped balls the Bears don’t even score ten points.  The Bears were lucky to even be in the game much less leading going into the 4th quarter.  They sold out to stop McGahee, which should be any defenses priority, but Chicago looked confused against Denver’s passing attack much of the game.  Denver has beaten 2 teams in a row who sold out to stop the run and ultimately lost to Denver’s ability to throw the ball. 

  • Gabeh73

    I’m an atheist and a fan of the option. I support Tim Tebow and think the dickwads who don’t like Tim Tebow give atheism and secularism a bad name. I bet most of the anti-Tebows never played much football. There are lots of reasons to be critical of christianity but Tim Tebow is NOT one of them.

  • Anonymous

    @gabeh73  Well I have news for you.  I did play football.  How about you?  How on earth does this make atheism look bad? 

  • Anonymous

    Tebow is a self fulling prophecy (no pun intended). However, if you take someone like him and his “leadership style” (“Compassionate”, “Tolerant”, “Patient”). People tend to perform better under those circumstances. Even if you don’t respect his religious convictions, those convictions (and how *TEBOW* has chosen to practice them)  translate into a “Perfect Leader”. 

    Tebow has a “Mindfulness” to his Leadership. He spreads out accomplishment towards a TEAM approach and takes defeat as his alone to blame. Humans perform better under this leadership style, are prone to work harder and are prone to show a longer lasting sustainability under pressure with a leader like this.  In a nutshell (like or hate his personal convictions) Tebow is the “White Hat Wearing” Hero (Part of a Monomyth) you want to see succeed. 

    I saw tonight on the Science of Tebow on ABC News and they’ve concluded it’s Leaders that show a “Highly Compassionate”, “Other Oriented”, “Tolerant Leadership” provides the best results of any Leadership style….This is TEBOW to a “T”******************“It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the most adaptive to change.” He extends this theory in what he terms “renewed Darwin” to the development of the mind’s leadership qualities. Developing clarity through mindfulness enables leaders to integrate their four drives – security, material acquisition, bonding with others, and the search for meaning – into an integrated decision-making process.—Bill George, Harvard University. 

  • Anonymous

    Even Tebow saying it’s not about winning or losing a Football game can plant seeds that then translate into players performing *BETTER* because pressure is taken off them and a Mindfulness towards the game occurs. 

    This is precisely why Phil Jackson was one of the Best Coaches in the History of Professional Basketball. His Triangle offense scheme never relied on “one player” to perform, the TEAM had to perform at perfection. No one player was a clear “stand out star” so the team picked it up about 36-notches….and the rest as they say is history….

  • Roanman

    The haters hate Tebow because he’s wildly successful, happier than hell and they are neither.

    Then he has the temerity to give all the credit to God which drives em bat shit crazy because the implication of course is that it is his faith that has led to his wild success and happiness rather than dumbass lucky genetics.  And their inference of course now being that it’s the haters lack of Christian faith that is responsible for their lack of comparable success and general misery.

    In other words, the haters miserable existence when compared to that of Tim Tebow is the hater’s own fault for refusing to make God/Jesus the focus of his own life.

    The way they feel it, every time the Christian sonovabitch wins again which is ALL THE TIME, he’s right back at it rubbing his faith in their face, when they know for a fact he’s just a dumb ass cracker lucky sperm. 

    This is way dangerous, powerful stuff.

    Jesus got his ass crucified over this very thing.

  • Clark

    I think most of the haters are just sick about hearing about Tebow’s greatness, when there are clearly better quarterbacks in the league, and there are clearly better players on Tebow’s own team.

  • Jwallace0317

    This is the sort of raging comment I was referring to.  Immature, reactionary to the point of going off the deep end, and with flawed reasoning to boot.  This is indeed a football blog, which is why I was explaining how folks like you who are getting worked up over a simple “thank god” in an interview should probably focus a little more on the football-related content of the interview.  

    Also, please re-acquaint yourself with the apostrophe…it was invented for a reason, my oversensitive friend.

  • Daniel Andrews

    Not to get into a discourse on Religion, Atheism, and Philosophy, but I think what Gabeh73 is saying cuts to a social and philosophical divide amongst modern day Atheists.  Gabeh73 separates the difference between his thoughts and those of Tebow about religion, because Gabeh73’s thoughts are irrelevant to Tim Tebow’s and vice-versa on the subject.  From this you should infer that Gabeh73 is probably not a hard-determinist atheist which probably puts him into the Humanist camp of Atheists, and he is being critical of the “New-Age” Hard Determinist Atheists with their gods called “Statistics” and “Natural Selection” to whom they worship and pray as slaves and without these two gods of supposedly godless men would be nothing more than nihilists.  Since Tim Tebow is a christian and defying the odds routinely is the reason why he is going to fall so hard.   Finally, Gabeh73 understands that Tim Tebow despite their differences in acceptance of a god or gods is also a humanist as well and despite their view on religion they both appreciate that life is worth living how they see fit and realize hard work and belief in themselves and their teammates makes things possible.  This is both rational and logical as is his argument that many people who are atheist and putting him down because of his beliefs probably never played the game because they don’t understand  despite Tim Tebow’s beliefs about religion, his life is about dedicating himself to his God, his teammates, his family, and his friends and working as hard as he can for them.  Tim Tebow the football player has never asked me to believe in his God, to worship his God, to send money to his God, or even thank his God.  Tim Tebow just openly praises his God, his teammates, his family, his coaches, his friends, his supporters, his detractors, and his opponents, because that is what he believes. 

    I actually find it kind of refreshing when he praises everyone in the world beside himself and he works and tries as hard as he can on the field of play.

  • I honestly think some of Tebow’s supporters play as big a role in the reaction to him as Tebow himself does. I think a lot of his detractors react more to the people they see supporting Tebow as much as they react to Tebow himself.

    What’s funny is, back pre-dogfighting, a lot of the pundits that have ripped on Tebow used to say in response to criticism of Michael Vick “yeah but all he does is win.”

  • Jwallace0317

    Any guy who wins a Heisman and a couple of national titles is going to start off with a big fan base, but the majority of those fans, when Tebow was about to be drafted, were not claiming that he was going to win a bunch of super bowls or that he was a technically sound passer.  And Tebow himself was certainly not making a point of selling himself as the next Joe Montana.  I watched a lot of Tebow’s games his senior year with a Florida alumni group, and the predominant sentiment could be summed up as: “we love this guy, we really hope he does well in the NFL.”  Hardly the kind of stuff that would justify “detractors” going out of there way to tear the guy to shreds, unless of course the detractors are looking to take a grinch-like enjoyment in squashing the hopes of a player’s fans.  Of course, once the detractors started getting their predictions wrong, then of course Tebow’s fans are naturally going to point that out, as any reasonable person would.  Again, this is hardly the kind of thing that justifies the hate.

    Vick is an interesting comparison.  He was electric in college and certainly had a huge fan base.  There were doubters about whether he was going to ultimately achieve in the NFL but the coverage was generally more optimistic, as opposed to commentators making bold predictions like “he’ll never get a starting job, he’ll never win a game as a starter, he won a couple games but this won’t last,” etc.  Also, I don’t think anyone used the “all he does is win” argument for Vick pre-dogfighting.  Unlike Tebow, Vick did not start fast (only 4-4 in his first 8 starts) and in his 6 seasons as a starter before prison there was only one season where he won more than half his starts.

  • Anonymous

    Im sure glad you didnt get into a discourse on religion