Have you heard about this Tebowing thing? Where people take a knee and mimic the Broncos quarterback in his post-score meditations. It's pretty funny, actually; NFL Network showed one dude posed on top of a snowman. I could care less about Tim Tebow. He seems like a nice kid, maybe not what I would want as a starting QB, but Denver is pretty far off my NFL radar these days, and I don't really expect him to make a huge impact on wins and losses in the league anyway. Whether he's a good quarterback or not will be debated in countless other forums and I'll gladly leave it to them.
What interests me most is the reason for the phenomenon that he represents. When Tebow entered the league as a rookie I was amazed to see that his jersey was the leading seller of all NFL players. This was, afterall, a backup who wouldn't be expected to contribute beyond a few gadget plays his first season. People have pointed to his amazing college career, but he's hardly the only QB to enter the NFL having dominated the collegiate level. He is pointed out for his faith, but as every post game interview I've ever heard will attest too, he's not the only NFL player to publicly proclaim their relationship with a higher power.
Maybe the answer is in the context of the times. From Michael Vick to Ben Roethlisberger to Dante Stallworth, Plexico Burris and, well, essentially, the entire Cincinnati Bengals roster, the list of players who have been on the wrong side of, if not the law, than at least common decency, is legion. Maybe the public is simply ready for a clean cut kid from middle America to live up to the hype. It is entirely possible that somewhere in Virginia there is a farmhouse owned by Tim Tebow in which he forces college coeds to battle each other to the death for fun and profit, and that he drives there drunk with an illegal firearm shoved in the waistband of his pants. But it wouldn't take anything this dramatic to cause the media and the public to turn on him like, well, I was going to say like a pack of rabid dogs, but it seems in poor taste.
So, Tim Tebow, the best of luck to you, and be on your guard, because the most dangerous people out to get are not 300 pound defensive lineman, but rather sleazy looking dudes in vans with wide angle lenses. The minute they catch you in any situation that might possibly indicate that you are anything less than the reincarnation of Mother Theresa with a better 40 time (but a worse spiral), you'll be facing an unparalleled firestorm of selfrighteousness and criticism by many of the same people that are currently singing your praises. And I mean that literally. Some people are actually singing hymns to Tim Tebow, and some of these same people may eventually light him on fire. It's sort of what religious extremists do between crusades. This posing thing, though, is something I can't get enough of.
If Tim Tebow's signature pose is indicative of his greatest strength, the faith that seemingly gives him the strength to overcome overwhelming odds (or at least the Miami Dolphins defense) is this sideline genuflection, what about other top flight NFL quarterbacks? Tony Romo? Confusion? I have a picture of him, hands behind his helmet, staring unbelievingly downfield as a greenclad DB sprints the wrong way with one of his many errant 4th quarter throws. Signature pose. Brett Favre? Arrogance? Can't help but picture him pointing a cell phone down his pants to photograph his first down marker. Signature pose. Drew Brees? I don't know the word but it involves him holding an entire city above his head like Atlas holding the globe.
And what about our own Alex Smith? This one is more complex. First, you need a guy pretending to be Nolan, another guy pretending to be Singletary, and two more guys driving busses under which the first two guys throw him. The word? Perserverance. Diligence. Dedication. Call it what you like, but the quarterback I'm most interested in following this year may not be getting the hype Tebow is, but he's displaying a remarkable sense of faith in his abilities and those of the his coaches and teammates. And unlike the young scrambler in Denver, who got all the press this week and probably will for weeks to come, Smith is doing it for a team that is actually relevant in the NFL landscape.