What do you do when you're called to play second fiddle? It's one thing to be the 'go-to guy,' the one who is given the ball in crunch time. It's entirely another to be asked to hold the clipboard for that guy.
In a few days Tim Tebow has moved from being 'the man' in Denver to a backup in Denver to a backup in New York. The journey from here on will be an interesting one.
Unless you're living under a rock you will have heard that the Denver Broncos signed quarterback Peyton Manning to a seven year contract worth $95 million this week. That immediately kickstarted the discussions on where Tebow would wind up. Tim lead the Broncos to 6 straight victories to save Denver's season last year and won a playoff game. However, his unconventional style and inconsistent passing game had many questioning his ability over the long haul.
Would he be kept as backup to Peyton Manning, learning from one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time? Or would he be traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars, back home where he became a college legend, leading his Florida Gators to the national championship? Instead, he ended up with the New York Jets, who only recently signed their starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, to a contract extension.
Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum was quick to point out that "Mark Sanchez is, has been and will be our starting quarterback." You don't have to be a genius to see that this puts Tebow in a challenging position.
There are a lot of Tebow fans out there, and there are also a lot of detractors. Many are critical of his arm, his throwing style and his very public faith. Fans, on the other hand, point out that everywhere Tebow has gone he has won and his teammates love him. How will he respond to what many players would perceive to be a very public demotion?
As you would expect from Tim Tebow, he has thus far responded with grace. He has nothing but good things to say about not only the New York Jets organization, but the Broncos as well. Here are his comments after the deal was finalized: “My goal is to push (Sanchez) to get better, and to push myself to get better every day,” Tebow said. “But I think we’ll have a great working relationship. We’ll have a great relationship off the field, and we’ve had that the last few years. He’s such a classy guy and handles himself so well, and I’ll be very honored to call him my teammate.”
This is part of the reason I like this kid so much, he recognizes that life is more than football, and regardless of what life throws you, we're still responsible to do the right thing. It's a good lesson for all of us to remember. There are some things in life that you can't control, for him, right now, this is one of them. Another thing he can't control is what others say about him.
None other than all-time great Joe Namath has come out slamming the deal. “I’m just sorry that I can’t agree with this situation. I think it’s just a publicity stunt. I can’t go with it. I think it’s wrong,” Namath told 1050 ESPN Radio on Wednesday. “I don’t think they know what they’re doing over there.” Jay Leno included in his monologue last night some relatively lighthearted digs at Tebow's faith. It will be interesting to see how he's received by New York fans.
There are lessons in this for all of us. First of all, there's the lesson of perspective. As Tebow has often said, he gets to play a game for a living, and is paid well for it, whether in Denver, New York or elsewhere.
Secondly, there's the lesson of Lordship. Tebow learned a long time ago that God is ultimately in charge. He works hard, does his best, and prays and asks for God's will to be done. Sometimes the outcome is not what we expect, but that's okay. Along with this lesson comes the ability to trust. If God is in charge, I don't have to be. I can rest in the fact that He wants the best for me, so can anyone who trusts in Him.
This week's events may not have been expected, but it will be interesting to see where they lead. I, for one, wish both Tim and Peyton well. I also hope that Tim can continue to keep his heart in the right place, my guess is that he'll be just fine.
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