Friday, January 20, 2012

Tim Tebow and Tiger Woods

Now that it has been a few weeks I think I will weigh in on Tebowmania. I am not going to discuss his beliefs nor how nice of a guy he is because those have been talked about ad nausea. I want to take a different approach so here are some facts. Tim Tebow is the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. His unorthodox success has caused that franchise to consider changing its direction. John Elway suffers migraines deciding if he is going to make Tebow “his guy.” Both sides of the ball must buy-in…receivers will get less passes but will be expected to make big plays, running backs will get a lot of work and the D will have to keep it close to make it a game. Changes like that do not happen in a season or two and it’s a lot to consider. But aside from all that Tim Tebow himself is a story.

Tim Tebow = quiet but passionate, media savvy, loves his privacy, Christian, Quarterback, white.

I am not going to harp on the race card but you really could not draw him better if you wanted too. His religious convictions and cookie cutter upbringing make him your steak and eggs kind of guy. He is the ultimate friend, athlete, Christian…you name it.  Tim Tebow in my opinion could be the Tiger Woods of our generation.

Tiger Woods = quiet but passionate, media savvy, loves his privacy, Buddhist, golfer, mixed decent.

If you were going to “make” an athlete to break a “golf mold” Tiger Woods was it. He dominated a game where minorities were caddies or grounds keepers and carried himself with a passion unknown to the PGA. He was heavily criticized for his emotional outbursts and going for the impossible shots. A few years passed and because of his success we all expected amazing from Tiger. He would sink the putt to force a playoff or hit his signature “stinger” further than most of us hit our drivers and we would not blink. His coaches became wealthy men just by being associated with him.

The same mold breaking feeling permeated Denver. You expected “divine” intervention every fourth quarter. We all were amazed with the cards falling Tebow’s way for weeks during the season and he gave a franchise a chance when they were pretty much dead in the water. Tebow was a “winner” and found a way to make it happen even when the cards were stacked against him. He won when he was not supposed too, the underdog.

Tiger Woods was great because he worked so much harder than everyone else at the time. His attention to detail and systematic approach to the game is world famous. I read a story that he returned his putter because the sight was off, Scotty Cameron himself had hand built it and what do you know Tiger is right, the dot on the top of his putter was millimeters different than his regular putter. Tiger was winning because he could do amazing every day. He was revolutionizing the game and taking it to the next level. He was athletic and trained with military precision forcing golfers to pick up their games or retire. His greatness was utter dominance, but why is Tim Tebow great?

Tim Tebow is not dominant like Tiger. He did not come to the NFL and just go Joe Montana on us. He has earned his spot by having the intangibles. Dan Patrick on his radio show said that Tim Tebow was not a good quarterback but that he had value. I agree wholeheartedly and know his value is real. Broncos defense and kicker do not get the credit they deserved because the media focused on the myth and aura of Tebow but that’s how it is in the NFL and that’s different topic. The fact is he makes his team better and the numbers don’t lie.

Why do I compare both of these athletes who are so different yet so similar? They lead from the front.

Tiger Woods did things in golf that now are common place. His style and passion were unorthodox at the time. Prior to Tiger raw talent got you pretty far, not anymore. His commitment to excellence and work ethic were not normal. He set the blueprint for young golfers. Work hard on your game and develop your talent. Look at the PGA now? There are tons of young professionals that all look very similar, slim athletic, poised, but hungry for a shot…very Tiger-like. He changed the game by leading from the front.

Tim Tebow can be great. He does things that athletes are not supposed to do like praying and calling on different motivators like a higher power. He is a running back that can occasionally air out a perfect spiral just when it’s a do or die…not normal. Will this wildcat style offense work in the NFL? Who knows. Just because something has been so for a long time does not mean it cannot change. **cough** civil rights, feminism, voting, **cough** Tebow has value and his leadership and work ethic are not in question. But what happens when you work hard but don’t have the dominating ability? Can you still be great? I think so, because it takes courage to lead from the front and do things differently. Innovation sounds great because that’s what you call it when it works but when it doesn’t its called failure, it takes a leader to stare down failure. Problem with leading from the front is that you are the first to take a bullet to the chest. So if he fails as an NFL quarterback or excels he is giving it a go in a different way and we are all lucky to be along for the ride.

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