There were not one but two big musical parodies (the "St. Elmo's Fire" guy and Jimmy Fallon last night), the "Most Popular Athlete" poll and column after column after column (after column after column...)
It's probably appropriate that the biggest column of them all -- "Believing in Tim Tebow" by ESPN's Rick Reilly, on the front page of ESPN.com right now -- comes on the eve of tomorrow night's game. Essentially, Tim Tebow wins over Rick Reilly -- Reilly being a proxy for the legion of folks who don't buy into Tebow or think the whole thing is overblown. Money quote:
I've given up giving up on him. I'm a 100 percent believer. Not in his arm. Not in his skills. I believe in his heart, his there-will-definitely-be-a-pony-under-the-tree optimism, the way his love pours into people, right up to their eyeballs, until they believe they can master the hopeless comeback, too.Reilly picked up on a longstanding TimTeblog theme: Tebow's goodness (through action) transcends religion -- Reilly doesn't mention Christianity at all, actually -- and speaks to an essential humanism that everyone can appreciate and be inspired by.
If you want a takeaway of the Tebow phenomenon -- before tomorrow night's game is played and we layer on whether he loses to the Patriots or advances one game from the Super Bowl -- it is that. And to the extent that the message gets across -- from Reilly and others (don't miss this op-ed column in the Orlando Sentinel by Tebow biographer Nathan Whitaker) -- all this Tebow hysteria is worth wading through.
I think that's what Tebow thinks, too -- you never know where someone will find that glimmer of inspiration. Maybe it's seeing a story about Tebow working with a sick kid, maybe it's hearing Tebow talk about working his hardest or being a great teammate. Maybe it's just watching one more improbable play.
But somewhere in that avalanche of media coverage, maybe you -- or anyone -- finds the thing that makes them think or act differently, for the better.
That's why I titled this post "Tim Tebow Wins." Because it has nothing to do with whether or not he wins tomorrow night -- although that's always more fun, and certainly if he didn't win the game last week, we wouldn't be having this week's hysteria. It has to do with his essential belief that winning that comes the way he lives his life and, equally important, from inspiring people -- Rick Reilly, whoever -- to be better people.