This week's Tebow-themed guest-post over at Yahoo's Dr. Saturday makes something very clear:
For all the subplots over the last few months -- particularly last week's insanely amazing pep rally at The Swamp -- the expectations for Tim Tebow and Florida remain: National title or failure. And that includes three components: (1) 12-0 regular season. Done. (2) SEC title. This weekend. (3) BCS title-game win. A month from now.
And so we reach the SEC title game, and if Florida doesn't win -- yes -- Tim Tebow's legacy is nicked a bit. Oh, he will still be widely considered ONE OF the best college football players ever, but the argument for "best ever" will be diminished, if only slightly. (I, of course, will continue to argue that his accomplishments are so overwhelming that he should be considered the greatest player ever, regardless of Saturday's outcome.)
That said, in the column, I turn to a recent historical analogy: Matt Leinart and Vince Young. When they played in the national-title game for the 2005 season, two things happened: Vince Young put on a performance that was so good, he vaulted himself into the Pantheon of greatest college players ever (Doc Sat ranks him as the best player of the decade, although caveating that Tebow's career isn't over yet).
Matt Leinart COULD have been considered the greatest ever... if USC had won the game. It wasn't his fault -- USC's defense was mediocre and VY was spectacular. But it's not like he didn't lead USC to a ton of points on Texas' defense. But he didn't win the game, and any talk -- all talk -- of Leinart's place in history (regardless of what he did before) was eroded fundamentally.
(I go back another decade for one more historical analogy: Why is Tommie Frazier on the short list for greatest players/QBs of all time? Because of how ridiculously awesome he was in championship games, which is all anyone really remembers -- fairly or not.)
For all the individual accomplishment and accolades and for all of the off-field mythologizing, the essence of Tim Tebow is the winning. The MVP-ish role, off the bench, on the 2006 national title team. The 2008 title. The winning streak.
Winning trumps everything.
Read the whole column here.