One year ago today, I launched TimTeblog.com.
Nearly 900 posts later, it has been one of the most satisfying years I have spent as a writer -- and as a fan.
A year ago, only one thing was obvious: Tim Tebow would be the biggest story in sports for the rest of the year (and even into 2010, when I predicted he would be -- by far -- the biggest story of the 2010 NFL Draft and thus the first third of the new sports year).
I also had a hypothesis that there were a ton of fans out there -- Florida fans, Tebow fans, college football fans, sports fans in general -- who cared about the subject of Tebow and would enjoy a site dedicated to extremely focused coverage of him.
What I could never anticipate was the way the year would unfold:
Things got off to a circus-like start at SEC Media Days (aka “Tebow Media Days”) with “Are you saving yourself for marriage?”
(Speaking of marriage, the amount of time and energy I put into the site that week -- to get it off the ground, to cover the stories at SEC Media Days, to promote the site -- did not sit particularly well with my wife. We were supposed to be on “vacation.” It was foreshadowing of the way the site would come to become a huge part of our life. To her credit -- and because she is an even bigger Florida fan than I am -- she has been 100 percent supportive.)
The storyline for the season was simple enough: Tim Tebow -- all-time great college football player... or GREATEST college football player?
That was predicated on one assumption: When -- not if, mind you -- Florida rolled to a 14-0 national-championship season.
The pressure and the media hype matched the stakes -- immense. Like everything else related to Tebow, unprecedented.
My own effort ratcheted up from the start: I was posting 2, 3, 4 times per day, every day. One lesson in hindsight is that for all my effort, I didn’t do nearly enough promotion: Where was the Facebook Fan page? Where was the active Teblog Twitter account? Where was the outreach on message boards and to bloggers?
Great content was fine -- and with a “real” job and two young kids, enough of a time and energy commitment as it was. I really needed to do more to promote the site and its content, in order to have it have the impact I really envisioned for it.
Anyway, the season had its twists and turns -- the two that stand out were, ironically, the worst moments: The Concussion and the loss to Alabama.
The comeback at the Sugar Bowl was amazing, as was the epiphany -- delivered by Tebow himself -- that the season was about relationships even more than championships.
That’s where you come in: More than anything else, I have been honored that you have given me and this site your time and attention. I appreciate your comments and emails. I appreciate the support, both from readers and from bloggers and reporters who linked to the site. I appreciate that we could create a community around this topic, this person, and the larger things at play when it comes to football and fandom.
We have navigated territory way beyond football -- the expectations of fandom, the depths of disappointment, perceptions and realities of marketing, and even religion and its cultural impact, a topic I was (and continue) to be nervous about discussing here... but not in the thoughtful way we have tried to explore it. Through quite a bit of personal reflection, I experienced some profound humanist revelations -- and that’s admittedly too loaded of a word -- that tested, evolved and strengthened my own belief system.
I cannot thank you enough for the time and attention and interest in digging into all these topics, whether all you were looking for was a take on the latest twist in the Tebow football story or more.
So what next? The post-college insanity from the pre-draft workouts until the Draft itself -- and beyond, into mini-camps -- proved that Tebow as NFL player will have every bit the fan interest as Tebow in college. Perhaps more, if the NFL-leading jersey sales and national-magazine profiles are any indication.
What kind of impact Tebow has this season -- and, as you all know, I think that impact will be so much greater than the “experts” are predicting (see #timtebowcant) -- will be one of the biggest storylines of the NFL season. I am already figuring out how to get to Jacksonville for Week 1. (A friend in Denver told me if I really wanted to see Tebow play to come out to Denver for a preseason game. He might not be wrong, but the Jacksonville debut is just too dramatic.)
I fully expect to continue blogging here throughout the NFL season. I am also trying to put everything that has happened over the past year into something more tangible -- yes, the “TeBook.” (No, that’s not the actual name, just a convenient shorthand.)
You all can (and will) have a part to play in that, too. I will try not to be too coy with the details, as I am still working them out.
The larger point is this: It has been an incredible year. Thank you for being a part of it, and let’s all look forward to the next few months -- and the next year of TimTeblog.com
Thank you again,