After reading countless articles by folks trying to understand Tebow, I was inspired to share my theory. It is impossible to really understand this "Tebow thing" without understanding that he is a missionary first and an NFL player second. Continue over the jump [WARNING: religious post] :)
Tim Tebow and I have one thing in common--we're both Christians. However, I am not an "evangelical" Christian, and prefer a much less outwardly obvious form of living out my faith. In fact, my biggest difficulty with Tebow is his blatant "Jesus talk" etc. I've witnessed many "Christians" who have tried to use their faith to gain power (GWB for example). That use (misuse) of Christianity is disgusting to me.
That said, I believe Tebow is genuine and is using his influence as a premier athlete to be a 21st century missionary--and for many people it's working. Tebow embodies many of the qualities that most productive members of our society wish they could attain. Words like kindness, humility, apparent righteousness and perseverance are all aspects of Tebow that appeal to the broader Christian (and probably other faiths) community. People of faith that see these qualities are of course impressed. But Tebow is also very successful and hard working, and he is a winner--and these are things that have the potential to make people jealous, and as a result hate his guts.
I believe Tebow isn't a football player who is a man of faith, but a man of faith that happens to play football. He is using his future wealth (i.e. building a hospital in the Philippians) and his fame to "further the kingdom" if you will, and to understand him you must recognize this. This is why he can look past all the anti-Tebow rhetoric, and despite all the wild fire storm around him, he can continue to calmly move forward with his career. How many athletes would be able to withstand all this scrutiny?! Many sports writers say it's like nothing they've ever seen before.
While I would be reluctant to believe that a higher power (whatever you call it) really cares too much about what happens in the NFL, it may be that Tebow carries a special something (a blessing?) that goes beyond just talent. I certainly wouldn't want to say one way or the other, as some people have tried doing. But Tebow is NOT the typical NFL superstar who only cares about finding the next girlfriend and maintaining a ridiculous lifestyle. That's because Tebow is a missionary, using his gifts to make the world better in his own way, the way he believes he can. This is the lesson of Tebow, and I hope whether or not you share his faith, you can contemplate it. It's worth emulating.