THE TIM TEBOW "WILL HE SINK OR SWIM" DEBATE IS HANDS-DOWN THE NFL'S MOST COMPELLING STORYLINE

Not kidding here. Not even a little. Forgive me if I don’t follow College Football very closely these days. Yeah, I saw and heard enough about Tebow’s time at Florida to know he was the golden child and all that, but he struck me as just another great College player who wouldn’t be able to hack it at the next level. Long list of those guys over the years, from Eric Crouch to Gino Torretta to Rahsaan Salaam, and so on. Hell, have a quick look through the list of Heisman trophy winners (I swear, I don’t even remember Jason White) and you’ll see the last decade hasn’t exactly been loaded with guys that killed it in the NFL.

Still, Tebow has been one of the most important, oft-dissected players in the game since the day he was drafted, and it figuring out why is a no easy trick. Why exactly is the Football world so completely obsessed with the every move of a former college Quarterback who likely isn’t good enough to succeed with the big boys? Why do we trip over ourselves to report every disparaging remark tossed his way by a coach, player or talking head? Why has “Tebowing” become a nationwide phenomenon? (and why don’t people have better things to do with their time than take pictures of it?)

Here’s the only question really worth asking: why get wrapped up in trying to apply logic to Tebow phenomenon? Truth is, everyone feels like they have a stake in his success or failure, and that kind of attention is rarity in any walk of life. Maybe you want to see him stick it in the face of all those people who say he doesn’t have the proper technique or skill to thrive at Football’s highest level, or maybe you’re sick to death of hearing about this over-hyped, Bible-thumping pretty boy who completed a grand-total of TWO PASSES in an entire game last week (and still won, by the way). Point is, everyone seems to give a shit, and for some reason, so do I.

Me, I find myself rooting for him all the way. It’s not just that I love a good underdog ( I really do), it’s more than that. The NFL can often be a stubborn, conservative place, mostly devoid of any risktaking and innovation. Only a handful of people in charge of NFL teams are ballsy (or secure in their jobs) enough to try anything wild, and only when they actually succeed will they be copied relentlessly.

 In this case, John Fox wasn’t being a fearless pioneer so much as a man with no other choice than to employ an unconventional attack with a QB who is more runner than passer, and thus far it’s been a hit. As we speak, half the teams in the league are scrambling to put together some kind of option package the same way all the teams tried to install the Wildcat after Miami had success with it. Yeah, the chances of winning longterm with a bastardized version of the Wishbone offense (Starring Tebow as the ghost of Jamelle Holieway) aren’t very good. So what. I’ll likely keep on rooting for the little Timmy that could, celebrating like a maniac every time he does something as simple as throw a touchdown pass, or any completed pass for that matter.

What can I say, I’m hopelessly caught up in Tebowmania. In a time of the year when I’m usually knee-deep in NBA talk, it’s been a lifesaver. I’ll tune in tonight to see if he can solve the Jets defense. Pray, even.

What would the world be without dreamers, after all?

-John Hathwell

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