01/13/12 — Stevens: Tebow draws attention

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Stevens: Tebow draws attention

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 13, 2012 1:48 PM

Most of us were taught, as children, not to judge a book by its cover.

We were instructed to value a man's character rather than our initial perceptions and were told to avoid snap judgments. Unfortunately, our society, particularly adults, rarely practices what it preaches.

For a large number of so-called "experts," along with most of the general public, the verdict on Denver Broncos' quarterback Tim Tebow is already in.

Just 15 starts into his NFL career, Tebow has been criticized at length by those who cover the NFL and casual fans for his unorthodox throwing motion, his inconsistent play and his outspoken faith.

Yes, Tebow does have a quirky throwing motion and he has struggled as a passer at times. He has completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes and has only thrown for 1,729 yards. These weaknesses were magnified during Denver's three-game losing streak to end the regular season in which the Broncos committed nine turnovers.

Despite having yet to start for an entire season, Tebow has already been labeled by many as a quarterback with no long-term future. Perhaps these same people forget that Peyton Manning, a future Hall of Famer, won just three of his first 16 starts.

In no way am I saying Tebow is going to develop into the quarterback Manning is. But do think it is unfair to demonstrate the patience necessary to allow certain players to develop, while making judgments about how another player's future will unfold after a short period of time.

Denver has gone 8-4 since Tebow took over as its starting quarterback on Oct. 23. With his job security hanging in the balance, Tebow had his best game as a pro with 316 yards passing and two touchdowns and another score on the ground in a 29-23 overtime win over Pittsburgh in an AFC wild-card playoff game last Sunday.

Tebow completed five passes of 30 yards or more, including the 80-yard game-winner to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime.

For other Tebow detractors it isn't his play on the field they have the biggest problem with. He's unashamedly bold about his Christian faith and rather than using Tebow as motivation to evaluate ourselves, it's much easier to point the finger back at him.

We live in a culture that likes its role models to set an example for our children without making us uncomfortable by talking about their faith. We're quick to lash out at Michael Vick for dogfighting, but some of us get a bit squirmy when Tebow opens up about his faith.

Our country desperately needs more athletes like Tim Tebow, who are more focused on using sports as a platform for spreading a greater message than listening to critics with meaningless opinions. Our problem is we don't just want role models, we want tell them how to act, too.