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Visiting Tebow Country

January 17, 2012 - Al Stephenson
I just returned from a golf trip to central Florida. There were any number of things that caught my attention during the week, but none more than a scene I witnessed to the Denver Broncos upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The crowd's reaction to Tim Tebow's game winning touchdown pass proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Tebowmania is alive and well.

The whole story of the former University of Florida quarterback is amazing. Most of my friends have heard enough about Tebow to last a lifetime (though I doubt the sports world will stop coverage any time soon). I am surprised at both the amount of coverage and my friends negative reaction to it. So why is Tim Tebow such a phenomenon?

First of all there is a lot of controversy surrounding his ability to play quarterback in the NFL. A prolific college player, a large part of his success on that level was due to his running ability. Everyone knows that NFL quarterbacks are discouraged from running and most pro offenses are geared toward the passing game. Tebow's passing ability is suspect and many of the so-called experts don't think he will have a lot of success on the pro level. He has had some though, and it makes for good fodder come Monday morning.

There is no doubt in my mind that it's Tebow's religious beliefs that have contributed to the craziness. He strikes a pose kneeling with his head resting on a fist to thank God after games. The image has been copied all over the country and is known as Tebowing. Many people are enamored with the young man because of his strong religious feelings. Others do not like him for the same reason. There does not seem to be much middle ground when it comes to Tim Tebow.

I was at a place called Katie Belle's in The Villages when the game took place. This venue is a private restaurant/dance hall and I had a friend get us inside. While most folks were dancing to a singing duo, I was at the bar watching the game. A group of about 30 dancers had identical shirts on and they were honoring the musicians who were celebrating 8 years of performing at Katie Belle's. The dancers were on the floor for every song seemingly totally oblivious to the game being played.

That is until the game reached overtime. The 80-yard TD pass came during the middle of a song, but as the receiver crossed the goal line a cheer broke out. I turned and noticed that all the dancers had stopped and were glued to the TV. There is no way they were all Bronco fans. You can bet that they were all Tebow fans. I'm really surprised the singers kept crooning!

The view from my seat suggests that Tim Tebow has a ways to go to become an elite NFL quarterback. In fact he may never get there. But he is a winner and if you want to know what he's like off the field, read Rick Reilly's column on

The man is genuine and I for one would like to see him make it big.


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