The moment the Green Bay Packers lost to the Chiefs and ended their run for an undefeated season a few weeks ago, the 2011 NFL season was immediately named "The Season of Tebow."
For those who don't know, Timothy Richard Tebow is the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos who took over the reigns of the team during Week 6 of this NFL season after leading the University of Florida to two National Championships and being drafted by the Broncos in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
If that were all you knew about the guy, then you would probably assume he was destined to be at least a successful quarterback in the NFL, right? But, what if I told you that Tebow also had arguably one of the worst throwing mechanics of any professional quarterback, cried openly during press conferences and wore his very observant religious beliefs on his sleeve... Would you still believe he could be successful? The answer is probably not. And considering that he led the Broncos to a 7-4 record as a starter, his success this season is quite an anomaly.
Tebow's 72.9 passer rating and 46.5 percent completion rate rank 28th and worst in the entire league respectively. He also has thrown for an abysmal 1,729 yards and only 12 touchdown passes in 11 starts and in one additional appearance. That sort of production just shouldn't add up to victories.
For some reason, this guy with terrible stats and a bevy of not-so-impressive performances is constantly talked about on major television networks and is covered in almost every single publication worldwide. Not a day goes by where ESPN, Yahoo, your local sports TV network and many more don't say something about the former Heisman Trophy winner. His floury of comeback victories launched him into the national spotlight this fall and has pushed the entire football world under the influence of the Tim Tebow Effect.
People within the Broncos organization only praise the man. From General Manager, John Elway, to defensive captain, Brian Dawkins, everyone agrees that Tebow is a natural-born leader and inspires the rest of the team. The team is inspired by his intensity and passion for the game, which are definitely products of his deep religious views.
Fans, myself included, joke about how openly religious he is and how he has brought passionate prayer onto the field. The famous pose now known as "tebowing," where people mock Tebow kneeling on one knee and resting their head upon their fist, is an Internet sensation and has even led to a website, tebowing.com. But, before you laugh even more, Tebow has done more than just inspire his teammates.
A recent ESPN feature shows just how much Tebow has impacted society off the field as well. Joey Norris is a 13-year-old boy who has been battling Leukemia for four years. Norris lives almost across the country from Denver in Kensington, Maryland.
Joey is a former youth football player who was forced to stop playing his beloved game because of his disease. But, he has still been watching every second of this NFL season. In fact, his time spent watching Tebow fight and claw back into games has given the cancer patient extra motivation to fight and prove everyone wrong that he can comeback as well. Joey also started tebowing before his chemotherapy sessions. He calls it "tebowing while chemoing," and now prays alongside his nurses, who also tebow, before his treaments.
It's stories like this one that show how influential professional athletes can be on fans these days.
Tim Tebow may not be the most talented, skilled, or flashy quarterback, but he gets the job done. Before Tebow became the starter, the Broncos were 1-4 under Kyle Orton. With Tebow under center, the Broncos were 7-4 and are now hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Wild-Card Round playoff matchup this Sunday as the AFC West Division Champions.
His ability to remain as the starting quarterback may be decided this weekend. But, no matter what the outcome of the game, we all need to recognize what Tebow has truly meant to the Broncos and the NFL as a whole this season. He has provided hope for underdogs, inspired those who need inspiration, and proven that determination and sheer will definitely results in success. You can still doubt Tebow and hate on his stats, awful throwing mechanics, and lack of finesse on the field, but then you are truly disregarding the overall meaning of the Tebow Effect.
Tebow's crazed yelling, fist-pumps and trademarked tebowing stance will forever be remembered. He has also subconsciously touched the hearts and lives of many fans and spectators around him. His fiery and passionate personality has catapulted himself into the national media spotlight and he's only handled it with maturity, humbleness and respect. Tim Tebow might not have the staying power at the quarterback position in the NFL, but his positive message will last forever.