I’ll admit my bias. I want Tim Tebow—Heisman Trophy winner and former quarterback for the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets—to have a successful career in the NFL because he’s a Christian. I want to see him continue to walk the straight and narrow and hold himself out as a witness to Christ’s grace and mercy.
Tebow, a polarizing figure in the media because of his faith, is back in the news. The New England Patriots signed him yesterday to a two-year, contract with no guarantees. I wrote about Tebow last year under similar circumstances. Denver had just signed Peyton Manning, 36 years old at the time, to a five-year, $96 million deal. The then 24-year-old Tebow was out of a job. Nobody knew where he’d land. He’d taken the Broncos to the playoffs, leading them to a dramatic overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers before losing to the eventual AFC Champion Patriots the next week.
Tebow was packed off to the New York Jets to back up quarterback Mark Sanchez this past season. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one watching a team I didn’t usually watch just to see Tebow play. But he never saw much action, the coach hauling him out for a play here and there. With that kind of fits-and-starts playing time, Tebow didn’t have much of an effect on the Jets season.
Now he’s headed to Foxborough, Mass., to compete as backup to Patriots All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady. Since I like watching the Patriots play, it’s going to be a double treat to see how they use Tebow. Those of us who want him to succeed hope coach Bill Belichick uses him often and, most important, well, no matter which position he plays.
Tebow has a lot of pressure on his young shoulders, and his faith plays a huge role. No matter how much naysayers deny it, part of the reason people don’t like him is because he’s a “public” Christian, open and unabashedly so. If Tebow’s mother had listened to doctors who advised her to abort him, he wouldn’t even be here. That he exists at all is a demonstration of his mother’s faith in Christ, and he carries on that faith.
As reporters describe the “media circus” his presence generates everywhere he goes, keep in mind that God has raised him for His purposes. Tebow is a sinner just like you and me, and I can only imagine the kind of temptation to sin that he faces as a talented, wealthy, and attractive young man—and not only physical temptation, but also the temptation to lash out at those who lace their criticism with ad hominem attacks. I’m sure Tebow knows this verse well:
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”