Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tim Tebow Swamp Finale: Near-Perfect

The camera flashes. That is what stood out most from Tim Tebow's last game at The Swamp.

Even watching on TV -- where there was no lack of Tebow-love, as anyone who watched can attest -- the camera flashes were awe-inspiring. Reports from folks at the game were that the flashes were even more impressive in person. 90,000 witnesses to Tebow's final Swamp game.

The results themselves were appropriately "typical Tebow": 5 TDs -- three passing and two rushing, with one near-miss on a jump-pass TD that would have been the perfect ending. We'll settle for near-perfect.

221 yards passing on 17/21 throws. 90 yards rushing on 15 carries (6.0 ypc). A couple of bombs. A couple of shovel-passes. Some nifty footwork. Again: Typical Tebow, more than anything else.

That the defense played lights-out. That the NFL-ready juniors like Aaron Hernandez and Joe Haden had spectacular games. That the senior class could make their final Swamp game such a memorable domination. They crushed a rival. They finished a perfect 12-0 regular season, setting up a classic 1-vs-2 SEC title game vs. Alabama. These added to the festivities.

It is worth noting: Today was (mostly) about Tebow's career. But things aren't over -- not even close.

Next week: The SEC title game against nemesis Alabama. And, after that, the national-title game.

The expectations remain the same: Anything less than a national title will be a failure for Tim Tebow and this Florida team.

But for one afternoon, we could forget about all those expectations and instead concentrate on celebration.

It was welcome. It was earned. And it lived up to the hype.

(The NYT's Pete Thamel has a must-read first take on the game, putting it into perspective.)

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