First things first: Tim Tebow is not just a good player for the Florida Gators, he’s a great college player. But honestly, I’m at the point that I need to appreciate him for what he is—and not let the media hype get to me. With CBS and the Worldwide Leader constantly telling me how great he was, and how he’s a better human being, I liked him during his freshman season. But after hearing about it over and over and OVER, I was just worn out and started to backlash. The problem is that I know I’m not the only one that is dealing with the Tebow-lash.
In case you haven’t heard by now, the University of Florida is putting up a plaque that will memorialize his speech after last year’s Ole Miss game (you know, the game they LOST last year). I can’t think of a time that any college football player has had a tribute like this WHILE HE WAS STILL ON THE TEAM! This is the kind of thing that you see when the guy is in the NFL or even when he retires from professional football! Not for Tebow. Since he’s already regarded as a superhero in Gainesville, it sounds like he needed to have the plaque to go with it! I can just imagine next year’s motivational speech. “Ok guys—let’s do this! If you have any questions, go ready my plaque! Go team!”
If you remember, this wasn’t delivered as a motivational speech to his teammates. In fact, it wasn’t even directed at his teammates at all—it was at a press conference after the Ole Miss game to a bunch of reporters. When I think of the speeches that would get me going if I were an athlete, the first prerequisite would be that it had to be directed towards me! So now Urban Meyer and the school are going to try to change this around like he was talking to his team? That’s sure what it seems like to me.
Check out the actual words of the “speech” that will appear on the plaque:
To the fans and everybody in
Gator Nation, I’m sorry.
I’m extremely sorry. We were
Hoping for an undefeated season,
That was my goal, something
Florida has never done here.
I promise you one thing, a lot
Of good will come out of this.
You will never see any player in
The entire country play as hard
As I will play the rest of the
Season. You will never see
Someone push the rest of the
Team as hard as I will push
Everybody the rest of the season.
You will never see a team
Player harder than we will
The rest of the season.
Good God. It’s stuff like this that absolutely drives me nuts. But here’s the thing that I’m trying to remember: this isn’t Tim Tebow’s fault. He was honest and genuine in a press conference in a heartbreaking defeat; and I have to remember that this is a GOOD thing. I wish more athletes could wear their heart on their sleeve like he did last Fall. So what HE did is all that is right with college athletics.
No, the problem I have is with everyone else around him. Whether it’s the media, his coaches or Gator fans, sometimes it seems like they are turning every single thing he does into the greatest event in the history of the world. He’s a great player and from everything I’ve heard he’s a great human being. But he’s still just a football player. Nothing more, nothing less.
So whose idea was it to put this plaque up as a commemorative monument to his greatness while HE’S STILL IN SCHOOL? I didn’t see Ohio State erecting any statues for Archie Griffin’s 1st Heisman Trophy season. I didn’t see USC name a building after Matt Leinart before his final season. If you remember, he had a list of accomplishments that made him one of the greatest college football players of all time before his senior season. When he came back because he enjoyed the college experience, everyone talked about how great he was for the game. But USC kept it in perspective—he was great in college and great for the school. But he wasn’t a saint. At a school that worship’s its football players, that’s exactly what he was: a football player.
Fifty years from now, I’m sure Gator fans are going to look at it and be inspired. They’ll talk about how Tebow led his team to the National Championship that year and how he should have won the Heisman Trophy (because thats how homers roll). But will they remember that this came after a loss at home to a mediocre Ole Miss team? Will they remember that in the game that he had the most pass attempts, they lost? Will they remember that it was his 2nd worst game in terms of passing efficiency and it was easily the worst game on the ground he’s had as a starter (only 7 rushing yards).
I’m going to take this plaque for what it’s worth: just another instance of the people around Tebow making it harder for everyone else to root for him. I WANT to root for the guy, I really do—but every time I see something like this, I throw-up a little bit in my mouth. It’s kind of like how it was with Brett Favre—I probably would have liked him if it wasn’t for everyone telling me how great he was every 5 seconds. Treat Tebow like any other college football player and I’d appreciate him so much more. If everyone keeps acting like he’s a God, I’ll probably keep rooting against him. I’m sure I’m not the only one; and it’s not even his fault.