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!
5. The Virgin
4. Taunting Oklahoma
3. John 3:16
2. The Jump-Pass
1. The Promise