The USA Today has a great piece up on Denver QB Tim Tebow titled “The man behind the mania.” In it, the article talks about what Tebow does when he’s not playing football (for example, the work he does for the charitable foundation he set up) and also includes not just quotes from Tebow himself but also from Broncos executive VP of operations John Elway, who as we all know used to be a QB for Denver himself. What he said about Tebow was one of the better, more accurate quotes I’ve seen about him coming from any sports figure:
Told that the public does not know much regarding his private life beyond his religious convictions, the hunky 6-3, 245-pounder — whose bare-chested advertisements have generated record sales for Jockey underwear — laughs nervously.
“I feel like I’m pretty open about stuff …if people look into it,” he says a bit hesitantly. “Outside of football and training, I am somewhat of a homebody. Love hangin’ out with my siblings and close friends. It is my favorite thing to do in the world. Love laughing — love tellin’ jokes. I really try to enjoy life and have joy with what I do. I don’t know, I guess that’s a little inside look at me.”
Simple pleasures for a somewhat-complicated young man, one who certainly is no off-the-field NFL throwback when it comes to the marquee position.
Back in a bawdier days of professional football, some wildly popular quarterbacks showed off their non-conformity, arrogance and pure, unadulterated bad-boy behavior.
The New York Jets’ “Broadway Joe” Namath wore blondes on both arms in late-night haunts. Ken Stabler liked to say that he studied the Raiders’ playbook by the light of the jukebox in Oakland honky-tonks. Jim McMahon, the Chicago Bears’ chief iconoclast, mooned a helicopter during a Super Bowl practice.
Hard partying and all-nighters seemed the norm. More recently, the introduction of personal brand-building and greater image buffing, cell phone cameras and 24-hour instant-news disseminators, such as Twitter and Facebook, seem to reduce publicly outlandish naughtiness and foster greater circumspection.
John Elway knows what it is like to be a stud pro quarterback. The two-time Super Bowl-winner and Hall of Famer was the toast of Denver during his heyday, and he enjoyed the perks. Now the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations, Elway, 51, understands that the public, often jaded with the buffed public veneers of some athletes, might wonder about Tebow, despite his reputation for embodying Christian values.
“Is he too good to be true?” asks Elway .
Elway quickly answers his own query: “I think that’s how the media represent it. But that is how we see him (as genuine). Tim is beyond his years” on and off the field.
“His maturity level with dealing with the pressures of what comes with playing the position (is enviable),” Elway says. “If you watch how he handles each press conference, that is truly who he is. It is not an act. It is a credit to his background and his parents. There is no question that, from where I sit, his priorities are different than those of most 24-year-olds.“
Wouldn’t it be a blessing if more public figures, especially those in positions of influence, were the same?
No, Tim Tebow is not a saint – most of us who are fans don’t look at him that way, and know there is only one perfect being and it’s not Tebow or anyone else here on Earth. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be pointed out again and again as to what a rarity he is today, especially in a sports world full of self-important nitwits and know-it-alls who don’t want to talk about anything but themselves and how they’re suffering because their million dollar checks aren’t nearly enough.
If this is what being “polarizing” looks like, more please!
BTW, guess who else is diggin’ Tim Tebow these days?
Love it! Make sure to click on the above link for a bigger version of the pic.