As much as there is a real “Tebow Mania” in the air concerning the Denver Bronco’s quarterback Tim Tebow, there is also an equally potent dark side to this mania. Call it Tim Tebow Manicheanism. On one side, there are the people who just like football and appreciate the play of a football player who is winning in a very unorthodox way. Also on that side are people of the Christian faith, who also follow football, who identify with Tim Tebow’s beliefs and who appreciate the fact that he is not ashamed to express those beliefs.
On the other side of the Tebow explosion, are the haters and doubters. There are people who had and still have legitimate doubts about Tim Tebow’s ability to play football at the professional level. To those people I must point that Tebow still has under 300 pass attempts in the NFL. The Denver Broncos selected Tebow in the first round and he has won the games that Kyle Orton could not. At some point you have to stop doubting his ability and start realizing that he is driving defenses nuts. Any other QB would have been given at least two full seasons as a starter before such judgments were made. Especially a first round pick, like say, Rex Grossman–who’s still a starter and performing at a lower level than Tebow.
Then there is the other group of people on the dark side of the Tebow Manichean coin. These are the people who hope Tebow will fail and it is primarily because of his unabashed Christian views. These people hate Tim Tebow more than they hate al-Qaeda. To them, Tebow represents a sappy, Christian anti-intellectualism under which assuredly boils a hatred for hippies, homosexuals and single moms. The haters must ascribe luck to Tebow’s success, mock him as a Jesus Freak. Each victory brings a new soliloquy of venom on YouTube video comments and blogs. Yet Tim Tebow keeps winning in the most excruciating manner.
Tim Tebow is a real leader, whatever be his innate ability to throw a football. This morning, ESPN’s NLF Countdown presented a 10 minute tape of Tim Tebow with a mic on during his games. You simply can’t teach the type of leadership that Tebow displays. At least not with “leadership courses”, like the US military and some corporations use. Tebow’s leadership comes from character. It comes from confidence in something greater than himself. In the ESPN tapes, Tebow displays an unshakable demeanor, laughing at his own mistakes, constantly motivating his own team mates even as a victory seems more and more unlikely.
We all know leaders who are pretending. They are overly autocratic, mistaking control for leadership. They are afraid that others will see their faults, lest they lose the control they ascribe to success. Ofttimes, they present themselves as intellectuals, failing to recognize that a real leader can capture emotive power more than the intellect. Leonidas was no intellectual. If he were, math would have told him he couldn’t win.