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 after the season. He has also signed with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, and worked as a television analyst between NFL gigs.
Tim 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 yards (166) and records for SEC season rushing touchdowns (20), career high single-game rushing touchdowns (5) and SEC season 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 the 2012-13 season, he had participated in only 72 offensive snaps with the New York team.
In late April 2013, it was announced that the New York Jets had released Tebow. The team had reportedly not been able to find a trade partner for Tebow from the time the season ended until he was released in the early spring.
In early 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 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 the meantime, the former collegiate star trained with noted quarterbacks coach Tom House with the goal of returning to the NFL. He got his shot by agreeing to a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in April 2015, though it was unclear if he would get a serious chance to compete for a starting job.
Apart from his skills on the field, Tebow is known for his devotion to his Christian beliefs and his charity work. The former is displayed often on the field with what has become known as "Tebowing"—dropping to one knee in prayer with his head resting on one hand. The move has been 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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