Part of it was the onrush of praise in all media outlets about Tebow as a Great Player and Great Guy. That’s bound to cause resentment, and when religion is thrown into the hopper, that grows tenfold. A whole lot of people don’t want to be preached to.
Plus, Florida fans, the self-proclaimed “Gator Nation”, took to Tebow like a deity on Earth, feted him in a way that was a bit over-the-top even by SEC standards. They put his 2008 post-game speech after a loss to Ole Miss into an engraved memorial of sorts in the athletic complex.
Once out of the college realm, the pro crowd took over and dissected all things Tebow, most of them convinced he would never make it in the NFL. When Denver selected in the first round in 2010, the ridicule outside the Rockies was quite loud.
At the same time, a vast segment of fans, Broncos and otherwise, embraced Tebow, in large part because of that professed Christian faith. Tired of seeing stars in all sports tainted by all manner of scandal, they found, in Tebow, a role model, and were literally praying to see him succeed.
Small wonder, then, that when Denver had that 1-4 start and the chorus for Tebow grew louder, the know-it-alls dismissed it as sentiment over common sense. After all, they, and they alone, knew football, and they were sure Tebow would fail if he ever did start.
The ensuing two months have proved amusing. Week after week, the yak fests have centered on Tebow, with most of the “wise” men disparaging him for one reason or another, saying he will never, ever, ever get to be as good as Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers.
Then the Broncos win, usually in some dramatic manner, and the cycle repeats itself. People are breathless to report about how John Elway, now a head honcho in the Denver front office, doesn’t like Tebow and will find some kind of way to get rid of him. Then the Broncos win again and – well, you get the picture.