Tebow Mania: Why do we care so much?

Tim Tebow can believe it is not butter. The recent earthquake off the coast of Florida measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, or .024 Tim Tebows. If tapped, a Tim Tebow rushing play could power the country of Australia for 44 minutes. When taking the SAT, write ‘Tim Tebow’ for every answer. You will score more than 1600. Tim Tebow ordered a Big Mac at Burger King and got one. Tim Tebow played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won. Life does not give Tim Tebow lemons. Life asks him which fruit he wants.

Move over, Chuck Norris, you are no longer the only one with larger-than-life jokes. As Tim Tebow has soared to the 5-1 record, so has Tebow-Mania and its unprecedented following. It is quite mind-blowing if one thinks about it. This young kid has taken the NFL social world by storm and drawn people, who never previously cared for football, into following the NFL weekly.

What is it about this kid that forces everyone to have a strong opinion about him? When discussing Tebow, the devout followers and the harsh critics pop up, yet there are very few who are completely indifferent on the subject. He is either a savvy quarterback, a savior, and a role model, or someone who makes a mockery of professional football and smiles entirely too much. As a result, many just wish he would fade out of the spotlight and quit distracting from the sport itself. Yet he keeps winning, giving fuel to his supporters and frustrating his critics.

YouTube music videos have been tailor-made for him and ESPN.com produces new articles on the enigmatic quarterback daily.

Whatever it is, Tebow has rapidly risen back into the national spotlight. A rarity in professional sports, there is now a man who stands for something bigger than himself, who makes the news for his overt religion rather than his nightclub incidents. This polarizing figure has briefly captivated the entire sports world and immediately made an impact, raising his team back to NFL relevance.

Perhaps this is what bugs his “haters” so much. American high school football players are given a roughly 0.2% chance of making it into the NFL, even as the fourth string quarterback. These same high school players are three times more likely to become millionaires. In order to have any chance of making an NFL team, players must be the best, be perfect in every aspect of their position, be physically dominant and have a brilliant football mind.

Now enter Tebow, a young quarterback that cannot throw a spiral to save his life. When he launches a fade route, he looks like he is flailing all over the place and about to fall over himself. Plus, even when he does not want attention, the media shows up to ask repetitive questions. For many, it would be difficult not to let Tebow’s effortless popularity get under the skin.

But just maybe this is what his fans love so much about him. It is the American Dream. Here is a kid that is not naturally gifted at the quarterback position, yet he works his tail off day in and day out and essentially wills his team to victory. It happened in high school, it happened at the University of Florida, and it is currently happening in the NFL.

This is how Tebow has evolved into such a dynamic leader. Where everyone else sees a brick wall, Tebow sees a crack he can pass through. As his teammates have noted, when the game is on the line, their quarterback exudes confidence that they will find a way, however slim the odds, however awkward the appearance, to come out on top.

Only time will tell what the future holds for Tebow in the NFL. His career could easily come to a crashing halt as defenses figure out how to stop him. He may never win another NFL game. But then again, many thought the Tebow train had derailed even before it left the station, and now his team is on the verge of the playoffs.

The unique thing about Tebow is that he has transcended the sporting world. No matter if he wins the Superbowl or loses his remaining five games, he will be the focus of attention for at least the immediate future. What that future will hold, only time will tell.

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