For football fans and even for some non-football fans, say the name Tim Tebow and you are sure to start a “discussion” that will be anything but mild. Tebow,perhaps unlike any other athlete in professional sports, engenders strong feelings. There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to evaluating Tim Tebow — the football player and the person. From the talking heads on ESPN (see yours truly quoted in an ESPN The Magazine article here), the NFL Network, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, and the local media in Denver, everyone has an opinion about Tim Tebow. Sadly, many of those opinions are rooted in what can only be explained as anti-Christian bias.
Most “analysts” try to hide their religious bias when it comes to Tebow, but there are a few who are open (and seemingly proud) of their terribly skewed opinions. For all the Boomer Esiason’s and Jim Mora, Jr’s., who hide their disdain for Tebow by offering up their daughters in marriage, there are the Jason Whitlock’s of the sports’ world who openly disparage not only Tim Tebow, but anyone foolish enough to even give the young man a chance to fail or succeed on his own. I guess Tebow would get a fairer shake from Whitlock and others if, as Chris Collinsworth pointed out on a recent edition of Inside the NFL, he was out carousing at all hours of the night instead of spending time doing missions work in Asia. One can only imagine the break Tebow would get if he was a reformed dog killer!
Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock, whose claim to fame seems to be as an offensive lineman on Jeff George’s high school football team, recently wrote a scathing article on the Denver Quarterback entitled, “Don’t let Tebow hype fool you.” Using the word “fool” in his article was appropriate, but not for the reasons that Whitlock might have originally intended.
If Whitlock was trying to hide his religious bias — which he seems to think he is doing — he did about as poor a job as one could imagine. His opening paragraphs telegraph exactly where the article would head and, it would be all downhill. Writes Whitlock:
I hope I don’t get struck by lightning or my Tebow-loving, FOXSports.com colleague Jen Engel for writing that.
I’m not for or against Touchdown Timmy. I’m a Kansas City-fed, Show Me State, fence-sitting skeptic when it comes to the religious symbol/Broncos quarterback. You have to show me more than a 4-of-10, 79-yard passing half to get my heart racing about a Tebow Era.
I will not disagree with Whitlock when he says that he is “Kansas City-fed” (apparently quite well-fed by looking at his picture), but his own words which follow clearly contradict his contention of being some type of objective, “fence-siting skeptic” when it comes to Tim Tebow. Even if that were true (which I don’t believe), I’m not sure there is a fence big enough to hold Mr. Whitlock while he makes up his mind about Tim Tebow.
In the very next paragraph, Whitlock feigns shock at Coach Tony Dungy’s positive words directed at Tim Tebow and his belief that Denver Coach John Fox needed to start the former Florida Gator in their next game in Miami. But, when Whitlock calls Dungy a “religious zealot” who has caught “Tebow religion” and has “fallen for the hype” surrounding Tebow, then all pretense of impartiality flies out the window. Tony Dungy maybe many things, including being zealous for his faith (since when is that a bad thing), but to imply that Coach Dungy is a fool for falling for the Tebow thing is clear evidence of an anti-Christian bias on the part of Whitlock. Can you imagine him writing something similar if the football player in question were a Muslim? Me neither.
Fools like Whitlock will continue to spout nonsense. Whether they understand the “Tebow thing” or not, many in the sports’ world will never accept Tim Tebow as an NFL quarterback, no matter what he might do on the football field. Ronald Reagan once quipped that “facts are stubborn things.” The facts surrounding Tim Tebow are that he has been a proven winner — with the stats (including passing) to back it up — at every level that he has ever played the game of football. At the University of Florida, he led his team to two National Championships, the last of which was against a Sam Bradford-led Oklahoma team in the very stadium that Tebow will return to on Sunday.
The Broncos have never beaten the Dolphins in Miami. On Sunday, they will be led by Tim Tebow, one of the most exciting and successful quarterbacks to ever play at the college level. I can’t see into the future, but it is often said that the past is one of the best predictors of the future. If that is the case, then look for Tim Tebow and the 2011 Denver Broncos to do what no other Denver quarterback or team has ever done — win in South Florida.