I am by nature an extremely passionate sports fan. The kind of fan who often can’t distinguish the difference between an NFL football game and one of my kid’s high school sporting events, because I see it all as competition. Typically, I will hate my rival teams and their stars with as much vigor as I love the teams I support. Based on that criterion, I really had no reason to hate Tim Tebow. As a Big Ten football guy, Florida and their quarterback should have never been an issue. But of all the people associated with college sports that I have despised over the years, Lou Holtz, Danny Ainge, Steve Spurrier, just to name a few, Tim Tebow rose above them all. I can’t even tell you why, he just did. While I still dislike everyone on that short list, Tebow is beginning to grow on me.
I think it started with his appearance on Jimmy Fallon. It was then I realized that while his spirituality was very important to him, he also had the ability to laugh at himself. That maybe he didn’t take himself too seriously after all. During his press conference he was answering questions as if he were Nuke Laloosh, mentored by Crash Davis, right out of Bull Durham. But he was hit with some sticky questions. The Tweet by Antonio Cromartie saying the Jets did not need Tebow, the reports that Mark Sanchez was not taking the move all that well, and he answered them all with class, style, and humor. He smiled, he was humble, gracious, and damn it, he was downright lovable. It was so easy before, because I hated him. I didn’t want the Jets to sign him and when they did, like many Jets fans, I was out of mind with anger and confusion. Now I can’t help but finding myself looking forward to the season and rooting for him to do great things for us.
The reality of the football situation has not changed. I still don’t think he is or will ever develop into a starting quarterback in the NFL. I don’t particularly like him as a back-up either. He is still going to create a huge media blitz which will inevitably be a distraction in camp. And while he may make Sanchez better, he certainly won’t make life easy for him. The irony is I truly believe “the Tebow brand” believes all that too and that’s why he will be wearing green and white this year. Tim Tebow is no dummy. He knows opportunity is fleeting and he is going to milk this ride for all its worth. Why labor in Jacksonville when you can collect big bucks on Madison Avenue? Community members of New York and New Jersey, under privileged children, people with challenges of any kind are going to benefit enormously from the arrival of Tim Tebow. Because while he will benefit financially from his time in New York, it is my guess that he will be about as philanthropic as any athlete ever, and that can’t be a bad thing for the area or the image of the New York Jets.
While I like to think of myself as a positive person, I am anything but when I take on the persona of a New York Jets fan. If you are reading this, then you may be the kind of fan who just waits for things to go badly, as most Jets fans do. Past, present, and probably also in the future; we as Jets fans will have plenty to bang our heads against a wall about. By comparison, this is not the worst thing that could have happened to our beloved team. The arrival of a highly spiritual, super competitive, hardworking, and extremely generous football player has to garner some positive results. So I for one am choosing to be excited about his infiltration of our JetNation.com family. There has been enough negativity swirling around this franchise and I for one am ready to embrace some positive vibes. It appears Tebow is already having an influence on me.