This past week, the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) announced that the 2012 recipient of their “Good Guy Award” would be none other than newly named New York Jet Tim Tebow.
Originating in 2005, the PWFA award, which “is given to a NFL player for his qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs,” has been presented to standout players such as Kurt Warner, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and, now, Tebow. However, did the selection committee favor him just because of his marketing potential?
No, they did not.
The PFWA is not in the market at all to benefit from whoever their selection is. Rather, they want to award a player, usually somebody who has to maneuver through constant media press, who is nice, demonstrates leadership qualities, and allows them to effortlessly perform their job of writing the news and gaining access to players.
In fact, Tebow is the perfect man for the award: He is completely poised notwithstanding an onslaught of press, often very negative. And, given the immense amount of pressure that is put on him day after day, he has managed to do very well for himself on and off the field.
On The Field:
Tebow has been in the center of the sports media’s spotlight ever since his 2007 collegiate season, in which he won the Heisman Trophy. In 2008, he led the Florida Gators to a BCS National Championship with an MVP caliber performance. And, finally in 2010, he entered the NFL draft and was selected 25th overall by the Denver Broncos.
Entering the NFL, Tebow received much criticism as to whether he could transition into an NFL caliber quarterback. Accordingly so, during his rookie season, Tebow was used sparingly, starting only their last three games (1-2) and leading the Broncos’ wild horse (wildcat) formation.
However, in his second season in the NFL, he silenced all of his detractors. After a disappointing 1-4 start to the season, led by quarterback Kyle Orton, the team realized a change was necessary and that Tebow was the man. Under his leadership, the team went 7-4 and even clinched a playoff birth, which was short lived thanks to the New England Patriots. However, playoff experience for a player entering his third year is rare.
Finally, this current offseason, Tebow was traded for draft picks to play with the New York Jets, a team that arguably has one of the harshest and most cut-throat fan bases and media. However, even with added pressure, he has remained as poised as ever.
Off the Field:
Tebow, also, has many off the field accomplishments.
In 2011, he released his autobiography Through My Eyes, which tells the unfiltered story of his early years as well as his NCAA career. It has been so successful that it was even on the New York Times Best Seller list for a whopping 24 weeks. In addition, he is sponsored by Nike, Jockey International, and was even on the cover of the video game NCAA Football 11.
However, the most noteworthy aspect of Tebow’s off the field life that has remained unchanged and consistent even with all of the media hype is his religion. He takes time off the field to worship, he takes time before and after games to pray, and he even takes time after every one of his touchdowns to take a moment, taking the iconic one knee thinker pose that so many have mocked. In fact, his autobiography was not only a New York Times Best Seller but also a top religion novel.
All in all, Tim Tebow has really not succumbed to the intense pressure that has been put on him ever since he became a big name in sports. He has certainly made a name for himself, and is a very deserving recipient of the “Good Guy Award.”