Can we stop talking about Tim Tebow now?

I am a Tim Tebow fan. I became one at SEC Media Days 2008. I was prepared to write some typically sarcastic column about Tebow’s preaching that day, but I was struck by Tebow the man—he was sincere in everything he said and did. Tebow was a refreshing face in the world of college football; the world of college football is populated by pompous jerks flashing fingers and taunting rival fans. On that warm summer day in Birmingham, Tebow was different.

Tebow’s 2008 season was magical. It hurt Alabama fans to see Tebow carry his team in the fourth quarter of last year’s SEC Championship Game. On that day, he was superman. Tebow made impressive throws. He was the best college football player last year.

Tebow was the defining football player of the last decade. He was Heisman Trophy winner. He won a national championship.

But even if the Gators had won Saturday, he should not have been considered the greatest player ever. He wasn’t even the greatest quarterback in Florida Gators’ history. I would rank him no higher than third. The best quarterback ever in the SEC was Danny Wuerffel. The second best Gator quarterback would be Steve Spurrier. (For those who doubt Wuerffel’s greatness, his record is the best ever for a quarterback in this league at 32-3-1 for a .903 winning percentage.) However we define greatness, whether it is through winning, or excellence (like mechanics), Wuerffel was a better player. I would take him any day of the week as the quarterback of my team. I also believe Wuerffel compares to Tebow in the character attributes too.

Tebow’s legacy will suffer because of the increased attention on college football. The media spotlight is brighter today with the constant coverage from traditional and non-traditional media outlets. Every Tebow success was magnified. As Verne and Gary gushed, Tebow became more than a player. And it is easy to understand why the networks would cover Tebow. How many people in today’s selfish world take the time to go on mission trips, or turn down wanton sex with coeds? Tebow was special.

Tebow became a hero because his flaws were small. Or at least were never magnified by the media. And much like a diamond, can we appreciate his uniqueness without some flaws? Overcoming our flaws is what makes us human. Greg McElroy overcame a midseason slump to become MVP of the SEC Championship Game. But what did Tebow overcome? From the moment of his recruitment, he was the anointed one. Championships were inevitable for him. It is why those tears were so sweet to those outside the Florida family. For the first time in memory, Tebow was a mortal.

And now with the Tebow story without its fairytale ending, perhaps we can appreciate him more when he next achieves success. And he will achieve success. He is a leader with substantial character. He might not be an NFL quarterback, but he will make a difference whether he is playing pro ball next year, pursuing a ministry or working in the private sector.

But all the good things about Tebow should not cloud our judgment. Tebow was a great player; he was one of the greatest of this decade. He was not the greatest ever, and he was not the greatest Florida player ever.


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  1. 1

    His winning percentage may not be as great as Wuerffel’s, but he holds the record for rushing touchdowns in the SEC. He may not be the greatest QB in Florida history, but this in no way does not make him one of the greatest football players in SEC history. Florida has won two National Championships while he played. He may not have been the starter for the first, but without him, Florida does not win the 2006 National Championship.

    Tim Tebow is the greatest football player we have seen since Bo Jackson.

    It is all a matter of opinion.

    Tebow is one of the greatest ever do not attempt to down play his greatness.

  2. 2

    Fugg it. What’s done is what’s done. He stepped up last year when we were ahead of schedule but this year he didn’t when we were on track.

    ’nuff said.

    p.s. — great article cappy

  3. 3
    Crimsonite from the planet Crimson in a galaxy far far away. FormerlyE.G. White

    I too am tired of the Tebow love. Lets start some McElroy love. The truth is though, this conference is going to be missing something next year. We will be missing that brass ring up there on the hook. There are other players and other teams, but it won’t feel the same as trying to catch a Tebow led Florida. During a time of worldwide problems, he made 5 months a year seem bigger than life. Hats off to true superstar!

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