Over the past month or so it seems like a day doesn’t go by that there isn’t a story or column or something talking about Denver quarterback Tim Tebow.
So what’s the deal with Tebow? Well, when the Broncos looked as though they were ready to pack in a rather lousy season, the team turned it over to Tebow figuring what did they have to lose except more games?
Ha. Funny thing happened. The newby quarterback has gone 7-1 as a starter giving Denver new life. He has amazed some with a bunch of late-game heroics, something the Eagles have been searching for for so many years.
Yet if you read closely, much of the Tebow talk isn’t about tossing a poor spiral, throwing the ball at the feet of his receivers or totaling too many INTs. No, the talk is about his spiritual nature, his exhuberance on the field after a touchdown, his ability to talk about his religion when asked.
I think it’s so amazing how we as fans approach our athletes. And it’s actually a pity how the personality of pro sports and pro athletes has changed since I was a kid. Way back when, you idolized the likes of Johnny Unitas, Dick Butkus, Vince Lombardi. In other sports there were the guys like Larry Bird, Gordie Howe. You found joy in their success, their attitude of winning and hard work. They respected their games and more important they respected each other.
All of that has gone away. Now the athletes are all about the fame, the gobs of cash they make in signing bonuses, endorsements. There is the jewelry, the cars, the money, the effects of social media — Twitter and Tweets about their lives, their agents, their girlfriends and their wives — or ex-wives.
It’s all about how to make it to the ESPN highlights rather than beating the opponent fair and square. The NBA is a dunkathon, the NFL is kill the quarterback and on and on. Don’t even get me started on Major League Baseball. Now there’s talk that Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins hasn’t signed back on because his feelings are hurt. Please, spare me.
But back to Tebow. Not that I am a religious fanatic or anything but I do find it interesting that we as fans are all about two NFL teams huddling together after the game, kneeling prayer yet the moment guys like Tebow or former QB Kurt Warner mentions religion, God or anything of that nature, the fire alarms go off.
Why do we hate a guy like former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb? He set most Philly quarterback records and stats, was a good citizen from a good family. He did charitable work and seemed like a decent teammate. We hate him but we love a guy like Michael Vick? I don’t get it.
Tomorrow’s Daily Local features a column from Linda Chavez on the editorial page. She talks about Tebow and about some of his harshest critics. Read it.
Meanwhile, when I have coached kids, I have always used role models who were and are good people. If I am coaching a pee wee football team you better believe I am telling my kids to play and behave like Tebow and McNabb.
As a referee, I hold kids accountable for things like a potty mouth. I ask them if they would say things vulgar to their moms. Sadly they probably would and do.
So, news flash: It’s OK to be a pro athlete and be a good citizen like McNabb or religious like Tebow. Hey coaches, parents, tell your kids please.
I know there’s no going back in the world of sports. I can dream though and I can do my part.
— Andy Hachadorian