Reprinted from my other site, DanShanoff.com. Merry Christmas, everyone.
Simply put, Tim Tebow is as team-first as any player you will meet.
He is single-minded in his interest in helping his team win. He clearly
thinks (and has proven) that the best chance for that is with the ball
in his hands, but he has also clearly demonstrated that he is willing to
do whatever it takes to help.
There are plenty of people
who are tired of (or annoyed with) the "Tebowmania" thing, but that is
much more of a function of being annoyed with the media's treatment of Tebow than being
annoyed with Tebow himself. If anything, even the haters begrudgingly respect
Tebow's complete commitment to winning and to his team. Throughout this
season, Tebow has taken any number of relative humiliations -- being
assigned as punt protector the most glaring, but simply not being allowed to play the most persistent -- in stride and with a
"whatever it takes to help the team win" mentality.
does it say, then, that Tebow was willing to challenge that very core of
his appeal -- that very core of his personality -- by telling the Jets
he didn't want to be part of their Wildcat (or faux-Wildcat) inanity
this week. He must know he is more popular than the team, and he had to
know the Jets would leak his request (or, framed less charitably,
refusal) around playing time.
He had to know there would
be blowback (with the most common response something akin to how Peter
King put it: He totally agrees with Tebow that the Jets have miserably
screwed him around, but you can't say you won't play.) He had to know it
would instantly become part of the Tebow canon -- the December nadir to
bookend the glorious moment in January during the playoffs that would define
both his NFL career and Tebowmania in general.
is how miserable he was. The Jets managed not only to implode their own
season, but they made Tebow...flinch. They had him so unhappy that he
went against everything he is -- and a sizeable piece of why people
believe in him: both off and on the field, his subordination to the greater good... to service.
That is how screwed up the Jets are. So screwed up they could screw up Tim Tebow.
good news is that the relationship is almost over -- it is a sign of
how much the Jets fear Tebow's popularity not just that they didn't play
him before, but that when he wouldn't play for them now, they honored
it without fuss for days (until it inevitably fussed). Tebow will land with
another team -- probably the Jaguars -- one that will hopefully give him
It cannot possibly go worse in Jacksonville
-- or anywhere else -- than it did in New York with the Jets. The Jets
had absolutely no belief -- no faith -- in Tebow.
seemed, Tebow eventually lost enough faith in something he believed in
-- "team" -- that he would turn away from that concept for seemingly the
first time in his life.
Aside from believing in the
essential rightness of his own decision in this particular case, I
cannot imagine that was anything but difficult for Tebow in the grand scheme of his unyielding belief in always wanting to do what is right for the team.
-- in oneself, in your team (or the larger concept of "team"), in the
human condition, in people we admire (yes, like Tebow)... in anything
really -- is essential, not just on Christmas but every day.
see that faith tested in such a stark way -- by someone who epitomizes
faith in football (and I'm not even talking about religious faith) -- is
a pretty good reminder of the core position of faith in our lives,
however it manifests itself. And it is a pretty good reminder how
tenuous that faith can be.
If anything, this is a
good moment to remind yourself -- to reaffirm, really -- that no matter
what it might be, you've always got to maintain a little faith. Especially for those moments when it is tested.
UPDATE: Sounds like Tebow never asked out of playing -- the latest report is that he reiterated to Rex Ryan that he was there, if needed. Would be typical if this entire storyline was conflated from nothing but anonymous sourcing, then turned into insanity. The point stands that this has been a less-than-ideal experience for Tebow this season with the Jets, and you couldn't blame him for being epically disappointed. (The point also stands that, presuming the latest report is true, you're not misplacing your faith by focusing on the larger lessons of Tebow's essential character.)