Thursday, September 23, 2010

Throwback Tebow: Kentucky Week

Apologies for the light posting this week, a function of very little happening on the Tebow beat -- perhaps due to his Week 2 DNP? -- and a bunch of stuff I've been working on this week.

(By the way, in the 14 months since launched, this past 7 days has been, by far, the slowest week for Tebow-related material.)

I have to say: Rivalry Weeks for Florida (Tennessee, Georgia, Florida State, etc.) are all well and good, but I'm never going to experience "Kentucky Week" the same way after last year's game.

The image is seared into my memory: Tebow lying on the ground, arms perpendicular to his body, which was otherwise limp and -- dare I say -- lifeless.

For more than a fleeting second, I was convinced he was paralyzed. And that was just about the worst feeling in the world. Horrifying, really.

Kentucky defensive lineman Taylor Wyndham earns a place in Tebow mythology for his part -- certainly not intending to rush Tebow into a head injury. Wyndham will hear 90,000 boos rain down on him in the Swamp the first play his name is called out over the PA system.

But even after Tebow got up, there was the dazed look. The live-on-TV vomiting. The camera tracking him toward the ambulance. More glazed looks from Tebow.

It was the most indestructible player in the history of college football... laid low.

And then, heading into a bye week before a season-making road game in primetime at LSU, the incessant will-he-or-won't-he debates.

But the "Kentucky game" will always make me wince -- even shudder. Mostly about my fears of what might have been, fortunately not what was.

That is the oddest thing about it: Given that I thought Tebow was paralyzed, the concussion was nearly a relief. Nearly.


  1. I got chills reading this post & thinking back to that night. I was a new semi-admirer of Tim a year ago & wasn't going to even watch the Kentucky game until a friend talked me into it. Since I was still new to all the Tebow Mythology, I'd only just discovered that his nickname was 'Superman' a few days before. So when I saw this Man of Steel lying on the ground, seemingly paralyzed (I also thought, for several minutes, that it was a spinal cord injury), I was a basket case. When they showed Tim standing up & walking off the field, it was such a relief. Ironically, I think it was the media fuss during, & especially following, the Kentucky game that changed me from being a casual follower of Tim's to a full-throttle fan.

    Oh, & let's not forget another odd element to this story. The focus of the media's attention BEFORE the game was the fact that Tim & a few other UF players had the flu (possibly even the then-dreaded Swine Flu) & they had to take a separate plane to the game, so the rest of the team wouldn't get sick.

    I actually recorded that Kentucky game, but I've never watched it again. Maybe I will this weekend. Pat Dooley referred to last year as UF's 'Season of the Weird'. It certainly was. :)

    (This also dovetails into the earlier post about McDaniels choosing to have Kyle Orton play every minute of the Seattle game. When Tebow got the concussion, many people were wondering why Urban even left him in the game at that point, given that UF was well ahead. Serious injuries do sometimes happen when least expected.)

  2. Ditto. I really thought his neck was broken. To be honest, I was quite miffed at Urban for letting him play the next game. Asking a competitor like Tebow if he was ready to play is like asking Congress if they're ready to spend...