Welcome back to The Sports Ace, where finally our ’98 Vikings have company in the all-time-playoff-choke category. ’11 Packers, thank you.
Tebow-Mania has taken over – last week, a study found that Tim Tebow is the most popular athlete in the nation. This from a study that has ranked Tiger and LeBron among the few “most popular” athletes over the last decade. He is a lightning rod, to be sure – he wears his arm on his sleeve, and he doesn’t fit the personality profile of a successful quarterback either on or off the field. Somehow, though, he wins football games.
No matter what you think of the guy, let me ask you one question: would you rather have a guy in your huddle who can throw a beautiful spiral, or a guy with the ability to lead your team down the field to win the game on your last drive? There are football players, and then there are leaders – I’d put Tebow in the latter category. He won two national titles and a Heisman Trophy at Florida, and led the Broncos to a lengthy win streak and a playoff victory in his rookie season in the NFL. He’s done all this despite having “inferior mechanics,” playing through pain (which he keeps to himself) and being passed over for several other QBs in last year’s draft. Make no mistake – the common denominator here is winning. The guy simply knows how to win. And he clearly knows how to inspire and lead his teammates – nearly all of whom are older (in some cases much older) than he is.
This is why I’d take him in a heartbeat as my quarterback. It’s easy to forget these days that substance matters more than style…that actions speak louder than words. Whether in sports, business or life, people follow people who exhibit a certain special blend of confidence, charisma and talent (see Lindsay Whalen post from a few months ago) – and great leaders achieve great things. Have you heard Tebow’s teammates talk about how he operates in the huddle, or handles himself on/off the field? High praise indeed, when it comes from your peers. There’s no way that Tebow haters can deny his resume. Add it all up, and there’s no question that I’d prefer him in my huddle over the vast majority of tight-spiral-throwing gunslingers out there. There’s also no question that, whether in Denver or somewhere else, the man has a long and storied future in the NFL ahead of him.
Maybe it’s karma that Tim Tebow’s GM is John Elway. Elway had the mechanics, but he definitely also was one of the top leaders in the game when he played. If there’s anyone who can teach Tebow the niceties of the NFL, it would be Elway.
That’s all for now. I’m out, in epic-choke fashion, like the Green Bay Packers.