The Non Sports Fan's Guide to Tim Tebow

Everybody is talking about Tim Tebow. Except for you. Who is Tim Tebow? you're asking yourself, after spending 10 minutes nodding silently while coworkers discussed his game this weekend against the Patriots. (What sport is this? you are probably also asking. For the record: football.) It's okay, non sports fan: here is your exclusive guide to Tim Tebow.

Who is Tim Tebow?

Tim Tebow is the starting quarterback (that's the main guy who throws the ball) for the Denver Broncos and former quarterback of the University of Florida Gators, where he won a national championship and a Heisman trophy (College Sports for "Oscar"). He was, before that, a home-schooled high-school football star, and was controversially allowed to choose the team he wanted to play for. Before that, he was a fetus. (His time as a fetus is important to an understanding of Tebow: more about it later.)

What is Tebowing? Can I Tebow? How?

Tebowing is the act of kneeling down for a moment of silent prayer. It is what Tim Tebow does after he scores touchdowns, and what other people do when they want to mask the horror and alienation of modern life by participating in a meme. Everyone is allowed to Tebow, but we recommend you do not. You can find a guide to safe Tebowing here.

What religion is Tim Tebow?

No one knows. He's very private about his religious beliefs.

I don't believe you.

[Sigh] Tim Tebow is a devout and outspoken Christian (specifically, a Baptist). His father is a pastor; both of his parents were missionaries who had Tim while living in the Philippines.

So, when you say "devout and outspoken..."?

While playing for UF, Tebow was notorious for writing "John 3:16" (and other Bible verses) in the eyeblack (that's Sports for "makeup") painted on his cheeks to prevent glare. (After he graduated, the NCAA instituted a rule similar to the NFL's, banning messages in eyeblack.) At press conferences, he always begins by thanking his "lord and savior Jesus Christ." He's never had sex. He also—

Wait, really? He's a virgin?

He says he's "saving himself for marriage."

Jesus.

Exactly. He also did this Super Bowl commercial with his mom, in which she told the story of how a fetal Tebow was endangering her life, and doctors encouraged her to get an abortion, and she didn't, and lived, and because of that no one should ever abort a baby. He really hates abortion.

Ohhhhh, this is that guy.

Yes.

Is Tim Tebow good at football?

No.

Really?

Well, he's better at football than, say... me? He's a good athlete and a good runner. He tends to have a few terrific moments every game, especially in the fourth quarter. There are plenty of people who will tell you that he is a good, or even a great quarterback. But the thing is, he can't throw. I mean, literally, he can throw a football: he knows how to move his arm with the football in his hand, and he remembers to let go and everything. The football even stays in the air, and even goes in the right direction ("forward"). But it rarely makes it successfully into the hands of its intended receiver.

Is that important?

Yes. Properly throwing the ball is very important to quarterbacks. Luckily for Tebow, the Denver offense is set up to exploit Tebow's skill set, which is a set that does not include "throwing," and therefore he only lets off embarrassing throws several times during games, not constantly.

Okay. I feel like I'm missing something here. Do people just care because he's super Christian?

Sort of. Tebow was never supposed to be the starting Broncos quarterback; luckily for him, the old guy, Kyle Orton, was a bust, and Tebow replaced him in October. The Broncos played better better—seven wins, four losses—but most importantly for the Legend of Tebow, they won four games in a row on last-minute drives ("in an exciting way late in the game"). So it's also a sort of exciting fake-underdog thing, which makes the Christian thing even more exciting. To Christians.

Didn't something happen last weekend, too?

Yes: Tebow and the Broncos beat the favored Pittsburgh Steelers, in overtime, in a playoff game.

Okay, so, is this like a religious thing? People think God, or whatever, is helping him?

I mean, kind of. Yes. Some people think that God is helping him, some people think that the Denver Broncos' defense, which is very good, is helping him. I will leave it up to you to decide which is more likely. Many people think he's just lucky.

If he's not very good, why does so much get written about him?

You live in this country, right? You are familiar with this country, and how much this country loves hard-working religious white people who defy the system and the wisdom of experts to do well despite bad odds. "Scrappy white guy uses grit, determination, and his faith in God to win miraculously under pressure" is what most people here think of as a good summary of the New Testament.

What is the worst thing that has ever been written about Tebow?

It's gotta be this.