"Once abolish God and the government becomes the God." -G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Underestimating Tim Tebow and God's Magical Season for Each of Us

"The only thing I know is I know nothing." -Socrates

Too much of what passes for expert analysis today is just strongly-worded opinion. Take Tim Tebow's success in the NFL, for example. It wasn't supposed to happen. It's still not supposed to be happening. The Denver Broncos are supposed to go back to playing like the 0-4 team that started the season under Kyle Orton. So say the experts as if its scripture, and the minute Denver loses the talking heads in the media will start a celebration of their own that you can bet won't include Tebowing.

Today could be that day. The Broncos are a heavy underdog against the New England Patriots despite playing at home. Many so-called analysts are vested in the outcome. If the Patriots win, they will double down on Tom Brady and highlight every Tebow flub. The chatter that the Denver Broncos are a quarterback away from being a complete team will increase. If the Patriots lose, they will tell us it's only because of their porous defense, even though Tebow will likely cap the game with another come-from-behind drive. The experts, in other words, are only in the business of verifying their own opinions with utter nonsense.

Despite what happens today, conventional wisdom has failed to account for Tim Tebow's 7-1 record as a starter this year. Thus, we can already say with certainty that the conventional wisdom was wrong.

Character counts. It used to count for more. Forty or fifty years ago, the conventional wisdom would have probably predicted success for Tim Tebow. He would have been the exact kind of quarterback coaches wanted. He doesn't turn the ball over. He's tough to bring down. He can turn a busted play into positive yardage. He's a general on the field with strong intangibles. He makes every player on the team better by bringing out the ultimate effort in each of them. These are qualities that more often than not lead to victories.

However, in today's NFL more emphasis has been placed on a quarterback's arm strength, their throwing mechanics, the tightness of the spiral, and the ability to audible. Leadership is way down the list, something I suppose most coaches and scouts think can be taught so long as the quarterback carries the pedigree of a true passer.

In some cases, conventional wisdom has been right. Aaron Rodgers was valued highly by pro scouts and has turned in close to the perfect NFL season. His team is undefeated. But for every Aaron Rodgers, there's a Jeff George, Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, and David Carr. These guys all had strong arms with good mechanics, they were highly drafted, but none of it translated to success on the football field.

I can't help but think of the talking political heads who make these same type of prognostications when it comes to which candidates can and can't win, which ones will alienate too many voters. Ronald Reagan, we were told, wasn't supposed to win. According to conventional wisdom, Sarah Palin can't either. And yet in the same sentence, these experts tell us the most divisive, partisan, and petty president in our lifetime is the guy with the winnable message. Again, utter nonsense.

Leadership isn't taught and it can't be faked. In their own way, many golden armed quarterbacks who fizzled out in the NFL have shown us that much. Leadership is built on a strong foundation, and it takes a lifetime. When discerning leadership, we would be wise to look at the virtues men have always valued as a strong foundation for success - faith, honesty, perseverance, accountability, humility, and grace under fire. More likely than not, this comes from a believe in something far greater and more meaningful than ourselves. It comes from God.

I can't help but think in discounting the qualities that make Tim Tebow so outstanding, many of us are really underestimating God's glory. Sadly, that means we are underestimating ourselves and the great purpose God has for each of us. Even if its only for one season.

Prediction: Broncos 24, Patriots 23 (but does it really matter?... I'm no expert)