This picture might not make any sense now. It might not make any sense by the end of this short post.
Or it might. It's all about what you believe.
At the start of this lockout-affected NFL season, who woulda thunk that religion and faith would have combined to drive professionals, progressives and sports prognosticators, just about nuts?
If you've been a fan of the Denver Broncos, you know the trials and travails of this team since the last season of Mike Shanahan, the arrival of Josh McDaniels, and all that transpired up to the end of last season.
And it didn't get any better, what with Denver's abysmal 1-4 start this season.
What it did was get a fan movement chanting for a change, just as it had late in the disaster that was last season.
The fans -- not all of them, to be sure -- wanted Tebow. Tim Tebow. The second of our first round draft picks in '09, by then coach Josh McDaniels (the first round pick ahead of Tebow was wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, fyi, the other hero this past Sunday).
I can add nothing to what Tebow's accomplished prior to his NFL career; he QBed Florida to two national championships, and won himself a Heisman. He was apparently a champ with his high school team as well.
Followers of football know that those accomplishments, stellar though they be, do not always translate into comparable success in the NFL. A long list of number one draft picks and Heisman winners, who turned flops and duds in the NFL, are out there to be named.
And plenty of NFL pundits -- players and not -- claim that there is a lack of the next level in Tim Tebow.
But Denver had an obligation, in the wake of Kyle Orton's subpar performances in '10 and the first five games of '11, to find out exactly what Denver had spent a first round draft choice on. Certainly first year head coach John Fox, and the new Broncos executive staff, which now included Bronco legend John Elway, needed to find out what they had, so they could start making plans for the future.
To be honest, it's been a mixed review. To say that Tim's a slow starter is...supremely understated. And that Tim's passing game has been largely understated as well.
But in a season that had disaster written all over it, he took Denver to six wins in seven games, and almost without exception, in cardiac-inducing fashion. Last minute heroics, made possible by a stellar defensive team effort, has been the mark of a Tebow-led team. Then he and the team appeared to fizzle in the last three weeks of the regular season, making it into the playoffs because the entire AFC West was high-centered on mediocrity, and Denver managed a tie breaker to help them rise to the top of the AFC West's mediocrits.
At any rate, prior to and during the run, Tim has not been shy about his religious values and faith. Even in the face of reactions varying from "yeah, whatever" to outright condemnation and ridicule from assorted persons of dubious antecedence and personal philosophy, like "progressive" mouthpiece Bill Press, TV ratings road kill Bill Maher, or the NY Times, among others.
Tim doesn't let the ridicule, criticism and insults take one thing away from his faith. He believes. Simple as that.
Now, I'm not much of a church goer myself. I know what I believe, and that is pretty much between me and the Almighty. What anyone thinks about what I believe, doesn't amount to spit in the river, at least to me. At the same time, I don't go out of my way to put my beliefs out there. I don't wear my beliefs on my sleeve, as Tebow does.
That said, I don't care that Tim does so, either. Doesn't bother me one bit. Tim Tebow's openness in faith is a nice change from the Charlie Sheens, Kim Kardasians, Mel Gibsons, Bill Mahers, Roseanne Barrs and persons of that ilk, who like to parade their lack of ethics, morals and preferences to -- in a lot of cases -- bash Christianity.
I think it annoys progressives like those named above, that a fair cross section of America would rather hold Tim Tebow up as a role model, than Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.
At any rate, I'm a Broncos fan. I've been one since the early '70s. I still follow my original team as well, the Green Bay Packers. A team I do expect to see in the 'Big Show' again this year, though they don't have a cakewalk to get there.
I do not expect to see Denver there. Tebow and faith aside...I just don't think Denver is good enough to make to the 'Big Show'.
Fact is...I didn't expect to see Denver make it past the Steelers. My assessment was based in large part on what I've heard described as Denver's "prevent offense" that Tebow, faith aside, couldn't seem to stimulate in the crunch, as he appeared to do during the middle of the season. Perhaps the critics were proving right, after all: Tim didn't have the skills -- especially in the passing game -- to make a credible, long-term NFL QB. His 6-of-22 performance against Kansas City didn't help his defenders win any arguments. Even the venerable John Elway -- ol' "Cannon Arm" -- appeared to be losing faith on that score.
The Bronco's offensive performance in the first quarter against the Steelers seemed to bode very ill for the balance of the game, too.
Then came the second quarter. And Tim Tebow took his game to a new level others claimed he didn't have in him. He was throwing. Down field. And he was connecting. Down field. Four pass plays of 30 yards or more.
Where had this been all season? Then again, who cares, if it's here when it's needed.
Things seemed to cool down in the second half, and it took a couple of stellar defensive stands -- coupled with a couple of badly-blown calls by the officiating crew -- to send the game into overtime.
Luck -- or faith -- was with the Broncos on the coin toss. I just wasn't sure which Tim Tebow would take the field.
The 'down field throwing with accuracy' Tebow did. One play, one pass, and 80 yards later, Steeler Nation was stunned. Bronco Nation was ecstatic. And Tim Tebow was thanking his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to the joy of many and the angst of others.
Faith is what it is, to each and every one of us. You believe in it all the time, some of the time, or none of the time. Tim Tebow believes in it apparently all the time. He lives his life thus.
There's not a whole lot wrong with that. Except to persons like Bill Maher, who, at least to me, doesn't amount to a fart in a hurricane.
Now, to Saturday. Stats-wise, I don't think Denver has much of a chance in Foxboro this weekend. New England pretty well stifled Denver in Denver three weeks ago. Tom Brady is in the elite of the AFC. His receiving corps tore up Denver's secondary. It will be a home town crowd for the Patriots. The oddsmakers will have the game heavily weighed New England's way.
Despite the odds and opinions of his antagonists and pundits, Tim Tebow will go in there and put his faith and his trust in his God-given abilities, his teammates, and his coaching staff. And win or lose, Tim will make no excuses. Win or lose, he'll thank his Lord and Savior. Win or lose, he'll thank his teammates for their efforts, and continue to set a standard that many, with faith and without, will respect and admire.
Tim will be a winner, regardless of the outcome of the game. Never underestimate faith over the long haul (now you may refer to the photo, above). Tim does it with faith, grace and class. The nun in the picture does it with faith and firepower.
And that being said by one who doesn't always have faith: me.
Conventional thinking tells me that Denver hasn't got a prayer in New England on Saturday. That same thinking told me the same thing this past Sunday, against the Steelers.
Choose to believe what you will or won't. But we in Denver have come to know what Tim Tebow believes in. He's up front about it. He's unashamed about it. Up to this point in his life, he appears to walk the walk by it.
And beyond the game of football, in the game of life, there's just not a whole lot wrong about that.
Labels: faith and believing, the nabob of naysayers, Tim Tebow