Tim Tebow Biography

Professional Athlete and Christian Role Model, Tim Tebow Walks the Talk

Tim Tebow
Jonathan Bachman / Contributor

Tim Tebow is one Christian celebrity who does more than give lip service to God when he wins a game. The former NFL quarterback and now professional baseball player with the New York MetsĀ is adamant about keeping his fame in perspective.

"...when people look at me or look up to me, hopefully, they see that it's not about me," Tebow told Christianity Today magazine. "It's having a relationship with Christ, and it's a lot bigger than me. And that's what I'm living for--it's not the money or the fame. It's having a relationship with Christ, impacting a lot of people and trying to help, encourage, and inspire people."

After a remarkable career at the University of Florida, which included two NCAA National Football Championships, Tebow has already filled one trophy case, most notably as the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. But his outspokenness about his faith has also given rise to an army of Tebow haters who are vicious critics on the Internet.

The Tim Tebow Love/Hate Phenomenon

While some hate sites target Tebow personally, general sports sites find Christianity bashers coming out of the woodwork in their comments to any Tebow article. Tebow has stated he does not follow the controversy on the Web because many of the remarks are too personal.

Following a couple "miraculous" comeback wins in the 2011 season, Tebow gained grudging respect from detractors who said he couldn't cut it in the NFL. Still, his running style and sometimes erratic passes make his future iffy in a league that relies so heavily on the passing game.

After the Broncos lost to the Patriots in a divisional playoff game, the always humble Tebow admitted he has a lot to learn, especially about the fundamentals.

Sports analysts said the Denver quarterback had gained such a huge fan base that Bronco management would be in a tight spot if it did not use Tebow as its starting quarterback in the 2012-13 season. Tebow got that nod from Bronco management at a post season press conference.

A self-proclaimed virgin at 24, Tebow does not drink alcohol and prefers hanging out with his siblings to late nights in trendy nightclubs. Cynics perceive him as a goody-two-shoes, but that characterization does not bother him. He believes Christians in visible positions should walk the talk.

Tim Tebow and Charity Work

Tebow was born in the Philippines in 1987 to missionary parents. He has gone back with them throughout his entire life to work at their association's orphanage and preach in villages across that country. As a college athlete, he spoke in U.S. schools and prisons and at church conferences and youth group meetings.

He has also started a nonprofit organization, the Tim Tebow Foundation. Its four priorities are:

  • W15H - A wish-granting program for children with life-threatening illnesses who want to meet Tebow.
  • CURE International Partnership - Tim Tebow Foundation has partnered with this charity to build a children's hospital in the Philippines.
  • Timmy's Playrooms - Working with the University of Florida's 1st and 15 Program, Tim Tebow Foundation will create children's playrooms in hospitals throughout the world.
  • Uncle Dick's Orphanage - Tim Tebow Foundation partners with Bob Tebow Evangelistic Foundation to support a Christian home for 49 orphans and 13 staff in Mindanao, Philippines.

A wish-granting event at a Broncos-Steelers game showed the impact Tebow could have. Bailey Knaub, 16, of Loveland, Colorado, was given four game tickets by the Foundation so she could meet Tebow. She has a rare vascular disorder that has led to 70 surgeries.

USA Today reported that after meeting and talking with Tebow, Bailey said, "My heart was going like a million miles an hour. He was amazing--so sweet, kind and generous. He just made me feel so special. It was the best day of my life."

Tim Tebow and John 3:16

Several college football players wrote messages on their eyeblack before him, but Tim Tebow gained attention for the simple Bible verse, John 3:16. The passage has often been called the Christian gospel in a nutshell. The NCAA has since adopted a rule prohibiting such messages, and the NFL already had one.

Despite the prohibition, Tebow racked up two odd statistics in a playoff win over the Steelers: He threw for 316 yards and set an NFL record at 31.6 yards per completion. One other strange stat came out of that game, according to Sports Business Journal's John Ourand. The TV rating for the final 15 minutes of that game was 31.6.

Unconfirmed reports had it that "John 3:16" was the most searched term on Google the Sunday following that game.

When he was the Denver Broncos' quarterback, Tebow was credited with creating a new verb, "Tebowing," the act of taking to one knee in prayer during or after an athletic contest. The term was coined from Tebow's signature reflection pose during games. Soon high school athletes across the U.S. were tebowing, imitators were doing it in public places, and a website even sprang up to record photos of well-traveled Tebowers doing their thing all over the globe.