What If He Weren’t a Christian?

I love sports! I told my wife that when it’s time to put me in the old folks home, just medicate me and turn on ESPN and I’ll be fine!

One of the big story lines this week was Jets Quarterback Tim Tebow was released and nobody thinks he’s going to get another shot to play quarterback in the NFL or even Canada. If you’re not a sports fan, Tebow has become infamous and “polarizing” according to sports writers because he has had the audacity to wear his Christianity on his sleeve, going so far as thanking Jesus of all people on camera and in public!

To say the guy gets bashed by sports radio, fans, and well, anybody who knows how to spell NFL would be an understatement. He is a lightning rod for criticism. Yes, his throwing motion sucks and you have to question if he would hit water if he fell out of a boat. But, all he’s wanted to do is play football, and when he’s been allowed to (think Denver Broncos), he wasn’t pretty but he won, including a playoff game!

I was curious today to see how Tebow ranks with all the other quarterbacks in the league. They have this thing called Total Quarterback Rating that looks at what a QB does and rates them (sports is really simple!). When Tebow played in Denver, his QBR was 87.9, according to The Bleacher Report. He really hasn’t played for the Jets, so I don’t care about those numbers. Compare Tebow 87.9 with last year’s QBs and he would have had the highest rated QB in the game! Okay, certainly Tebow’s not better than Payton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and the other elite guys. But, the numbers say that when he’s allowed to play, he’s certainly better than Mark Sanchez (23.4), Philipp Rivers (40.6), Sam Bradford (51.6) and even Cam Newton (54.2).

So given the numbers, the fact the guy wins football games – ugly – but wins, and that he’s a hard worker and good locker room guy, why all the hate? Here’s a hint – it has nothing to do with football.

People hate Tebow because he’s an outspoken Christian. Let’s face it; there are lots of people in the NFL who suck that don’t get a fraction of the hate Tebow gets. The anger some sports analysts show when bashing Tebow is stunning (See Merril Hoge). I’ve been a sports nut for a long time and they never bashed Tony Mandrich, Ryan Leaf, Brian Bosworth, Jamarcus Russell, KiJana Carter, and other total busts the way they do Tebow. And what did Tebow do? He prayed on the sidelines and thanked his Lord and Savior on TV. That’s pretty much it.

When I think of Tebow I’m reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 10:22 when he told his disciples that they would be hated because of him. Well, there’s no doubt that is true for this guy!  But I love the way he handles it. Tebow just keeps his mouth shut, stays humble, keeps praising God, and keeps believing. I think it’s a good lesson for the rest of us. Sometimes people are not going to like us because we follow Jesus. When that happens, do a Tebow – keep your mouth shut, stay humble, keep praising God, and keep believing in Jesus and yourself!

I hope Tebow lands a QB gig somewhere and proves down the road he can play professional quarterback. In the mean time, I don’t think he should change anything he’s doing, because staying true to your faith is more important than any QBR.

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