Tebow/Clausen Lesson Learned: Character Trumps All
NEW YORK -- It's only appropriate, I suppose, that God's quarterback will play in God's country. Unfair as it may be to weigh Tim Tebow with such a burden in Colorado, he's the one who eagerly became a religious figure in America, using his platform as a Heisman Trophy winner and decorated college player to emerge as an evangelist in cleats. Between the Bible verses written on his eyeblack and the exhaustive work he does for his foundation and father's missionary, let's welcome to pro sports a remarkable young man and role model who wants to change lives more than change games.
But let's not forget that he's playing football, too, along with saving the world from misery and disease. And the fact Josh McDaniels, the 34-year-old head coach of the Denver Broncos, would gamble on Tebow by drafting him with the 25th pick of the first round -- acquired by trading three second-round picks to the Baltimore Ravens -- is a story that will rock the NFL for seasons ahead. Never have we seen an athlete so celebrated and discussed who leaves utterly no clue as to whether he'll succeed on the highest level. He could thrive under McDaniels' tutelage, as Tom Brady and Matt Cassel once did, and rise as a great player and legendary leader. He could thoroughly flop as a pro quarterback and maintain a roster spot as an H-back, tight end and gadget guy. He could be little more than a glorified mascot who conducts sermons on Sundays and eventually runs for office.
Whatever he is, it will be fun to watch a too-good-to-be-true kid -- still a virgin, they say -- pursue his quarterbacking dreams. Even if he fails, it's a compelling human interest story, transcendent in ways that counter the mass-audience scandals dominating sports.