Two terrific and interesting (and must-read) Tebow-related columns over the weekend, from Pat Forde and Bruce Feldman, both touching on this idea of Tim Tebow being the "most polarizing" player in college football history.
I love Tebow superlatives, but -- ironically -- that "most polarizing" one doesn't resonate with me.
In fact, of all of Tebow's superlative feats as a college football player, I would say that arguably the most impressive is the LACK of a backlash.
Oh, sure, there is a small but noisy minority of contrarians (I won't use "haters"). Maybe it's just semantics, but when I think of "polarizing," I think of a 50/50 for-against split with no one in the middle. With Tebow, it's more like 95 percent think of him favorably in some way, with 5 percent VERY unhappy. That's not polarizing.
As I have been saying all season:
Most fans -- even of Florida's biggest rivals -- have something a lot closer to begrudging respect for Tebow than hate.
That is the true measure of the player. He isn't Dave Matthews or Coldplay or Black Eyed Peas (does anyone like the Black Eyed Peas?) -- he's more like Lauryn Hill. From casual fans to true hip-hop heads, everyone likes Hill, even though she's a megastar.
Same with Tebow: Casual fans find him as fascinating as hard-core college football fans who appreciate Xs and Os that go into the career of a freak like Tebow.
Oh, some folks can find reason to quibble with one facet of Tebow's game/life or another: Some don't like his demonstrative displays. Some don't like his public expressions of his faith. Some don't like the way his passes wobble.
But few can't find something they like about his game or his personality. They don't like the eye-black but they love the competitiveness; they don't like the cheerleading but they love the efficiency on 3rd down.
And the reality is that most fans like most everything about Tebow -- and the ones that don't like most everything at least like something about Tebow.
To call him "most polarizing" is to give way too much weight to the tiny minority located at one pole that complain about him the loudest.
And even they, when pressed, probably could find something about his game that they respect -- and almost assuredly, if he was playing for THEIR team, they would love him.