Who Is Tim Tebow?
Tim Tebow helped the Florida Gators win two BCS Championships and was named the Heisman Trophy winner in 2007. Despite leading the NFL's Denver Broncos to the playoffs in 2011, the popular quarterback was traded to the New York Jets and played just one more season in the league. He went on to work as a television analyst, before turning his focus to baseball and signing a minor league contract with the New York Mets in 2016.
Tebow, the youngest of five children, was born on August 14, 1987, in Makati City in the Philippines, to American parents who were there as Baptist missionaries. Tebow was later homeschooled by his mother, who instilled in him the family's Christian beliefs throughout his early years. Those beliefs became a large part of Tebow's life and have often colored the media's coverage of him.
College Football Career
In 2006, Tebow received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida to play for its famed football team, the Gators. He spent his freshman year as a backup, but became a key contributor for a team that went on to win the BCS Championship. The following year he became the starting quarterback and won, among other honors, the Heisman Trophy (for outstanding all-around player) and the Davey O'Brien Award (for outstanding quarterback).
Running the "wildcat offense," an unpredictable formation in which the quarterback can be an active rushing threat, Tebow set numerous records in the 2007 season, including the Gators' single-game QB rushing mark (166 yards) and SEC single-season records for rushing touchdowns (20) and total touchdowns (passing and rushing; 55).
At the close of the 2008 season, Tebow led his team to victory in the BCS National Championship game, and was named the winner of a slew of athletic awards.
Move to the NFL
Standing 6'3" tall and weighing around 240 pounds, Tebow was referred to by one NFL coach as "the strongest human being that's ever played the position [of quarterback]." He was chosen by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 draft and signed a five-year contract to play second string behind Broncos QB Kyle Orton.
After a 1-4 start to the 2011 season, Tebow replaced Orton as the Broncos' starting quarterback. In his first start, he led the Broncos to a come-from-behind 18-15 overtime victory against the Miami Dolphins, after being down 15-0 with less than three minutes left in the game. Tebow led the team to six wins in their next eight games and into the playoffs. The Broncos beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card game of the playoffs before losing to the New England Patriots in the division championship game, ending Tebow’s first season as the Broncos starting quarterback.
A few months after the season came to an end, in March 2012, Tebow was traded to the New York Jets in a firestorm of media attention and scrutiny. There was much debate as to whether he would replace Mark Sanchez as the team's starting quarterback. However, as the football season began, Sanchez remained in the leading position. Tebow only played briefly during the Jets' first game against the Buffalo Bills in September 2012 — a pattern that would prove to be consistent throughout the rest of the season.
By the end of 2012, he had participated in only 72 offensive snaps with the New York team. In late April 2013, the Jets released Tebow, after the team was unable to find a trade partner.
In June 2013, it was announced that the New England Patriots had signed Tebow, reportedly to a two-year contract. "Tim is a talented player, is smart and works hard. We'll see how it goes," Patriots coach Bill Belichick stated in an interview with ESPN. However, after spending 12 weeks as the quarterback for the Patriots, Tebow was released from his contract. The decision to release Tebow occurred when all NFL teams had to cut their rosters to 53 players. In response, Tebow said "I'm blessed, because of my faith, that I don't have to worry about the future because I know who holds my future."
After training with noted quarterbacks coach Tom House with the goal of returning to the NFL, Tebow got his shot by agreeing to a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in April 2015. He appeared in four preseason games for the Eagles, before getting released in early September 2015.
In August 2016, Tebow announced his intention to pursue a professional baseball career. Although he had not played extensively since his junior year of high school, he impressed enough in a tryout to sign a minor league contract with the New York Mets in September.
By 2018, Tebow had shown enough progress to earn selection to the Double-A Eastern League's All-Star Game, before his season ended with a broken bone in his right hand. He was assigned to the Mets' Triple-A Syracuse team in 2019, one rung below the Majors, though he struggled against the stiffer competition and was again derailed by a hand injury.
In February 2021, Tebow announced his retirement from baseball.
After becoming a college football analyst for ESPN in late 2013, Tebow in September 2014 announced he was joining the Good Morning America team as a contributor to a new series called “Motivate Me Monday.” ABC said the series was set to highlight “individuals and their amazing stories of triumph.”
In January 2020, Tebow married Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, winner of the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, in Cape Town, South Africa.
Apart from his athletic ability, Tebow is known for his devotion to his Christian beliefs and his charity work. The former was displayed often on the field with what became known as "Tebowing" — dropping to one knee in prayer with his head resting on one hand. The move was both widely imitated by Tebow fans and widely mocked by others. Whatever the intent behind the fad, Tebowing became a cultural phenomenon in the 2011 football season.
While active in charity work even in college, Tebow founded the Tim Tebow Foundation in January 2010. The faith-based outreach group works with children in need in both the United States and the Philippines, building facilities for sick children, granting wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses and building playrooms in hospitals and orphanages, among other far-reaching charitable works.
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