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Linda Kenney Baden

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Tim Tebow: Bashing & Religion

Posted: 12/21/11 05:32 PM ET

Sports analysts -- stop bashing Tim Tebow. I said it once, let's say it again: stop bashing Tim Tebow.

Tim Tebow is real. Tim Tebow's faith is real. The usual sports analysts still seem to be living in a Bizarro world. They are certainly disconnected from the Denver Broncos and Tebow fans. After watching this past week's Sunday morning sports shows, prior to the Denver Broncos loss to the New England Patriots, the Tebow whacking continued especially with regard to his religion.

Instead of discussing the fact that he is a young player who will likely improve, they argue whether their perception of Tebow's in-your-face religion upsets them. Then, after the Broncos team loss to the Patriots, a major New York newspaper printed an article labeling Tebow a "flawed quarterback."

How can you even make that accusation when the newbie full-time starting QB has played in only 12 games? Isn't it way too early to make any intelligent commentary as to his long-term future? Winning nine of 12 games would be remarkable for any quarterback entering NFL reality. A little history might put Tebow and the Broncos in perspective: Troy Aikman during his rookie 1989 season with the Dallas Cowboys led his team to an unimpressive 0-11 start. Peyton Manning in his first year in 1998 with the Indianapolis Colts had the highest number of interceptions thrown in the league that season, the team squandered a double-digit lead in many games, and Manning finished with an unassuming 3-13 record as quarterback.

Some of these writers, pundits and analysts are apparently drinking a strange Kool-Aid when they further discuss and dismiss the Denver Broncos because Tebow is their quarterback. On Sunday, the unstoppable likely MVP of 2011 Aaron Rodgers stumbled badly as the Green Bay Packers lost their first game in a year plus. A premiere Baltimore Ravens team was massacred by the San Diego Chargers. The Pittsburgh Steelers went down in a rout, crushed by the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. Do we now want to start believing that these are not three of the elite six top franchises because they each had a bad game? You may remind yourselves that New England was losing 16-7 when the Broncos fell apart in the second quarter. Their defense got worn out prematurely -- a dangerous mistake against a Bill Belichick team -- and accordingly was beaten. So it would be very foolish to write the Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow off before the end of the season and the playoffs.

It is also time to come to Tim Tebow's defense regarding his fervent spirituality. Tim Tebow has the best and most personal reason in the world to wholeheartedly espouse his religious views especially on the right to life. Tebow's story of his faith is grounded in real life family experiences. Tim Tebow is not a politician taking a position for votes. By now, those who ridicule his on and off the field religion should be aware of Mom Tebow's story. She risked her life, against the advise of doctors who recommended an early termination of her pregnancy, because her child was expected to be brain damaged from oxygen deprivation or still born as a result of severe medical complications.

Simply put, Tim Tebow would not be alive if his mother had taken the physicians advice and aborted her child for her medical necessity. I may have come to a different decision. So may other female or family readers of this column. But having survived and becoming Tim Tebow, one can understand the depths of his beliefs. So let us embrace him for it, not ridicule him because of it.

I support Tim Tebow as a sports fan who happens to be female, and who is both pro-family and pro-choice. Tim Tebow is a role model for our children. And I for one will give Tim Tebow a shout out any day over Sam Hurd, a former Chicago Bear, who was recently arrested by the Feds for his role as an alleged major drug dealer. And this is just one incident among many where professional sports players have had problems with the law. Just a few of the incidents ripped from the gridiron headlines read like an encyclopedia of violence and evil: drug trafficking, weapon misadventure, assault, animal abuse, manslaughter, and even murder.

What the sports commentator establishment ignores is that Tebow's religious fervor is not important to the fans. Fans could care less whether he proudly flaunts his piety instead of concealing it. Instead, they are just delighted about him. He is good for football; the Broncos/Patriots' game was the highest rated football match on television so far this year garnering a whopping 19.5 percent of the share of the television viewing audience.

Tebow is good for sports. He is good for football ticket sales. He is good for sports memorabilia sales. He is good for the children. He is good for the fans. He is good for the Denver Broncos. He is good for us. With the permission of a Denver Broncos near 50-year season ticket holder, I am reprinting his comments that came to me by e-mail after my first Tebow article was published on this HuffPost sports blog. I believe he and his family reflect the stalwart Tebow fan base. They do not mention his religious views. They do care about his competence, his character, and his ability to win.

Your article was so spot on. My entire family enjoyed it. You are a gifted writer. Tebow has won every award that's out there. What really does he have to prove to anyone? He is naturally born winner.
Regards and keep up the great work you do at the Huffington.

Joseph Duran Your new biggest fan.
Castle Pines Colorado
Season ticket holder since 1962.

Tim Tebow is a role model. He is not on steroids, he has not been arrested, he is not dealing drugs, and he is just being a good young learning quarterback. Fox commentator Jimmy Johnson, one of the great football coaches has it right, but he is one of the few: "More than any player I've seen, Tim Tebow brings out the best in everybody around him."

Tim Tebow is refreshing. For those sport commentators who could not do one-tenth of what Tim Tebow has accomplished -- it is time to shut it down. Tim Tebow, a gentleman, would never be so rude or direct.

I can -- I am a lawyer.

 

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