Tim Tebow’s extraordinary season with the Broncos is the most remarkable storyline in sports this year. I have never seen anything like it. He has captured the attention of the nation, and everyone seems to have an opinion about how to explain the improbable run that he is having right now. The most fascinating thing to me is to see self-avowed secularists trying to sort this out. Yet another such writer with very little appreciation for the faith of Tim Tebow weighs-in on the phenome in the New York Times. Frank Bruni writes:
In a league full of blithe felons, Tebow and his oppressive piety don’t seem like such horrendous affronts at all…
BUT Tebow tends to have his worst 45 minutes of play when it matters least and his best 15 when it matters most. And while he makes many mistakes, their cost is seldom exorbitant. These aren’t so much skills as tendencies — inclinations — that prove to be every bit as consequential as the stuff of rankings and record books. He reminds us that strength comes in many forms and some people have what can be described only as a gift for winning, which isn’t synonymous with any spreadsheet inventory of what it supposedly takes to win…
It’s easy to be pessimistic about optimism. When peddled generically by unctuous politicians, it can seem the ultimate opiate, a cop-out and fallback when there’s nothing more substantive to sustain you. But optimism can have an impact. It’s what radiates from Tebow and fires up the Broncos. And therein lies a lesson about leadership with a resonance beyond football.
After Tebow took over, the Broncos didn’t add a whole, half or even quarter roster of better players. But he told his teammates, “Believe in me.” And he must have done so with a persuasive charisma. They clearly have a renewed belief in themselves — and are performing better than before.
The Broncos are the talk of the league. More and more people are watching. And you could indeed say they’re tuning in to find out how far God can take a team. Because that’s just another way of saying how far grit can.
Bruni is correct to say that there is a “lesson about leadership” in Tebow’s story. If you want to understand why Tebow succeeds, listen to the interviews with his teammates. As much as anything, the Bronco’s success on the field has to be attributed to Tebow’s ability to inspire his team to achieve. Tebow believes he’ll win because of his team, and now his team believes the same. It sounds trite, but Tebow’s gift is his ability to motivate his guys to believe not just in him but in each other. That kind of leadership is rare, but I think it’s precisely what Tebow has.
I think the kinds of gifts that Tebow has ultimately come from God. In that sense, there is some divine intervention going on in the Bronco’s season. In that sense, it is also right to give credit where credit is due.
Read the rest here.