Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Tim Tebow Effect

Few diehard NFL fans have an indifferent attitude towards Tim Tebow.   They either love him or hate him.  How has Tebow become one of the most polarizing figures in sports?  You’d be hard pressed to find a more compassionate, upbeat human being.  Never a disparaging word has come out of his mouth, at least not in public.  I’ve never so much as seen him frown.  He embodies positivity and goodwill, yet he’s continually scrutinized and criticized. 

My daughters and I were introduced to Tebow a few months ago by a good friend of mine as we were leaving church.  He couldn’t have been more sincerely warm and engaging.  I had heard about Tebow sightings in Arizona, but wasn’t sure why he was in town.  As it turned out Tim has been working out with my friend’s husband, Ian Danney, who trains several NFL players in Scottsdale.

Previously Ian had told me about one of his unique training methods called “Danneyball.”  It’s basically a version of beach volleyball only played with a 10-pound heavy ball and no passing is allowed.  It’s a grueling total body workout especially when played in triple digit heat.  I was instantly intrigued and asked if I could do a sports feature for FOX 10 when Ian had his off-season training finale Danneyball Tournament.  When the day came around to do the story, Ian casually mentioned that Tim would be out there playing.  Bonus!

That’s how I ended up being the only reporter to interview Tebow in the past several months.  He’s been off the public radar except for a quick TMZ sighting as he dined in Los Angeles last month.   

Tebow turned out to be one of the best Danneyball players out there in spite of it being his first tournament.  I stood in the shade, but was tired just watching them play in the 105-degree heat.  He was polite and gracious when I interviewed him.  I asked him about his training and his future.  As I listened to his responses, I cringed inside knowing he would get criticized for continuing to follow his NFL dreams.  Knowing the video and subsequent interview would eventually go viral gave me mixed emotions.  I would get kudos at work for getting an exclusive with Tim Tebow, but I also wanted to be respectful of his ongoing football aspirations.

It took a few days after my story aired locally before it took off.  By weeks end the You Tube version of my feature had well over 350,000 hits.  Top sites embedded the video including: Yahoo, the NFL, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, the Denver Post, and the Washington Post. 

Footage of my story was also aired on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption.  Co-host, Tony Kornheiser, called Tebow “delusional.”  Other media members gave him no chance of getting picked up by an NFL team.  Most of the viewer comments were positive with words of encouragement.  However, there was a fair share of “bitter” comments from those who make it a hobby to spew hatred while hiding behind their computers.

Here’s a guy who won the Heisman Trophy, won two college national championships, lead his team to an NFL playoff victory and would never, ever do anything to embarrass an organization.  How many guys with a fraction of his resume are still out there training for a chance to play in the NFL… waiting for a phone call?  They aren’t chastised for chasing their dreams.  Would he really be the only backup in the league who doesn’t have the strongest arm?

Jacksonville would have been a great for him.  Florida football fans would love to have him back in the Sunshine State.  And Jacksonville could use the distraction and attention that follows Tebow around like a puppy.  That franchise barely makes a blip on the NFL radar.  And then there’s the $1.4 million dollar house Tebow just purchased there.  Unfortunately for Tebow, the Jaguars already have quarterback Chad Henne and also drafted a quarterback with the number three overall pick in the 2014 draft, Blake Bortles.

Tebow has all of the intangibles… determination, leadership, work ethic and heart.  He’s a proven winner.  His college coach, Urban Meyer, knows a thing or two about football.  Meyer was quoted recently  saying he was having a hard time understanding why Tebow doesn’t have a job in the NFL.  Tebow has been working hard to improve his weaknesses and deserves at least an invitation to a training camp.  All it takes is one more team willing to give him a chance.


No comments:

Post a Comment