Heading into Saturday, the media-driven hype surrounding Denver Broncos starting quarterback Tim Tebow had reached an all-time crescendo involving various forms of the web, print and TV.
So when the win-or-go-home playoff match finally took place Saturday night—a heady beatdown by the New England Patriots that culminated in a fairly humiliating loss for Denver—the disappointment (seemingly even by those who expected them to lose) mixed with "I-told-you-so" comments was palpable.
There are plenty of blogs proliferating the internet that have analyzed every physical, football-related aspect of that playoff game this past weekend; to the point where one more is quite unnecessary.
What I wanted to know about is character.
Much had been said about Tim Tebow's exemplary attributes prior to Saturday's loss. And, knowing that true character is forged and displayed in adversity much more than in times of victory and success, I wondered what the reaction from Tim would be after such a defeat. Would he still give God the glory?
From what I can tell after scouring the internet, this young man—though quite obviously discomfited—seemed to remain solid in fiber and faith. (Tebow prays along with some of the Patriots/Al Bello/Getty Images)
"They had a great scheme," said Tebow about the Patriots in the after-game press conference. "They came out and they played well and they executed well. You've got to give them a lot of credit. I just want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and thank my teammates for the effort they put forth not only tonight but the entire season. I also want to thank the Broncos fans for all their support this season and it definitely meant a lot."
When asked about all the media hype, Tim talked about the value he placed on the camaraderie of his fellow players, "I haven't worried too much about [the media]," he told reporters. "I think the cool part is the relationship with my teammates. The run was a lot of fun. A lot of ups and downs but we really try to block everything in the outside off and just enjoy the relationships with teammates and coaches, and work and try to get better, and I feel like we did that all year. We just didn't put forth a good enough performance tonight. You've got to give them a lot of credit, that's a really good team."
Then Tim was asked about how the loss affected him. He talked about Zack McLeod the 20-year-old Cambridge native who suffered a traumatic brain injury playing football, whom Tim spent time with before the game. "It still was a good day," explained Tebow, "because before the game I got to spend time with Zack McLeod and make him smile. Overall when you get to do that it's still a positive day and a good day. Sometimes it's just hard to see but it depends what lens you're looking through. I choose to look through those lenses and I got to make a kid's day and anytime you do that it's more important than winning a game, so I'm proud of that."
In sports or business or whatever it is we work at and try to accomplish on a daily basis... When all is said and done, and we stand before the Lord someday, it will not be the yards passing or rushing, or the money we've brought in for our company, or how many albums we've sold that the King of the Universe will ask about.
It will be the love we've shown to another individual; did we touch someone else's life for Him—that matters.
As journalist, Vaden Chandler pointed out in a recent article, "It's important to remember that, at the end of the day, although millions of dollars and many jobs are at stake, the game of NFL football is still just that, a game.
It's not a matter of life and death, and I for one am thankful that the Broncos have a QB at the helm that besides being a fierce competitor, also understands that concept and will use his position to help others.
It reminds [me] of one other popular and well-known Orator, who admonished His hearers this way: 'For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul?' (Mark 8:36)"
It's evident to me that even at Tim Tebow's young age, he has these priorities straight.
And, perhaps more so because of this loss to the Patriots; his commitment to the Lord of life, and to touching another individual with the love of God, will shine even brighter.