Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top Tebow Moment No. 7: "Tim Tebow Crying"

Tim Tebow's college football career has mere days remaining. All this week, a look back at the Top 10 defining moments of his career.

"I'm used to hearing everything from fans, and so you know what, if they enjoy seeing me cry, I have bigger things to worry about."

Let's not pull punches: Many fans enjoyed seeing Tim Tebow cry at the end of the SEC Championship Game. It began with a shot from the CBS camera of Tebow on one knee on the Gators sidelines, crying. It made it to the jumbotron of the GeorgiaDome, prompting jeers of schadenfreude from triumphant Alabama fans.

Immediately after the game, CBS reporter Tracy Wolfson caught up with Tebow as he was walking off the field, and more tears came.

Then... the moment went viral.

Say what you want about the power of Tebow's eye-black to move even mighty Google, but one minute "John 16:33" -- Tebow's eye-black for the game -- was the No. 1 most-searched term on Google. The next minute, it was bumped to No. 2 by "Tim Tebow crying."

The video was replayed over and over on TV. It spread around the internet, became hours of fodder for message boards -- Florida's, Alabama's and every other team's. It almost instantly made its way to T-shirts, memorialized in the most 21st century way.

There is a strong argument to be made that Tim Tebow's tears in that game were more memorable and defining than Alabama's victory. People may or may not remember Alabama; they will remember Tebow crying.

For me, there were a couple of things that made his tears one of the most defining moments of his career:

(1) Most immediately, they represented the frustration of a "best season ever" instantly imploded.

(2) They were a literal manifestation of Tebow's ultimate competitiveness. He could not have been the great player that he was if he didn't care so much about winning that losing brought him to tears.

(3) The juxtaposition of his crying and his eye-black -- with a message that game that was almost prescient in the way it nodded to life beyond winning and losing -- was startling, as was the way the crying displaced the eye-black on Google.

(4) Any other player cries, it's a one-second shot that no one thinks about -- we've seen it countless times during sports TV broadcasts. When Tebow does it, it is the story of the weekend.

(5) It was a sad, frustrating ending, but there was a larger lesson to be gleaned about dealing with disappointment -- if Tebow can go through it and persist, so can anyone.

I think that in 5 or 10 years, we will look back and realize that this was a Top 5 most defining moment of Tim Tebow's college career. For now, that the last image we have of him on the field (before his bowl-game career-finale) made it to his Top 10 moments of all time is impressive enough.

The Complete Top 10
10. Commits to UF
9. I'm Coming Back!
8. Circumcisions
7. Crying
6. 20/20
5. The Virgin
4. Taunting Oklahoma
3. John 3:16
2. The Jump-Pass
1. The Promise


  1. I live in the heart of Bama country- (Eastern shore of Mobile bay) and we have always been and will remain Florida Gator fans. The depth of ridicule his tears has received around here is astounding. It seems that Tebow's pain is worth celebrating more than the SEC victory. I would love to keep on cheering for the SEC, but our local Bama fans (not the team) are making that quite difficult.
    I knew that Tim Tebow's tears were more than just a game loss- hard work, relationships, personal expectations all played apart in the release of his emotions. I appreciate his transparentness- no towel over the head, no helmet put back on or ball cap, not even covering his face with his hands.
    Just open raw emotion- He knows exactly who he is- We should all be so fortunate.

  2. Did you notice any tears during the World Cup? I wonder why?...