John 3:16: What happened to Tim Tebow?


Percy Harvin, Carlos Dunlap, Joe Haden, Cam Newton, and the Pouncey brothers were all members of the 2008 Florida Gators Football team. This team is notable for two major reasons: bringing in two National Championships and having 41 of the rostered players get arrested both during their time at Florida and in the years to come.

This team was led by quarterback Tim Tebow, a devout Christian who would become one of the most popular and dominant college football players of the decade. Tebow would lead Florida to two National Championships, 3 SEC Championship appearances, and he even won the 2007 Heisman Trophy.

It all started in 2006 when Tebow was just the backup quarterback, coming in on goal-line offense in wildcat formation. Tebow played in his first game against Tennessee on September 16, 2006, where he would rush for a key fourth-down conversion which would set up the game-winning touchdown. On October 7th, Tebow would face off against the LSU Tigers. Tebow would have his best game of the season passing for two touchdowns while also running for one. In the National Championship game against Ohio State, Tebow ran for a score and threw for one more which would prompt the Gators to a lead that they would never give up, beating OSU 41-14.

2007 was Tebow’s infamous Heisman year; a year where he would go on to break and set many big records around the college football world. In week 4, Tebow set the university record for rushing yards with 166. On November 10th, Tebow set a new career-high for rushing touchdowns with 5 in one game. Tebow then set two more impressive SEC records: SEC season rushing touchdown leader with 20, SEC total touchdown leader with 55. On November 24th, against Florida State, Tebow fractured his right wrist in a game that left the Gators with a 45-12 win but sidelined Tebow from the bowl game.

2008 Tim Tebow was on another level; he broke even more records, as he led Florida to their second National Title in three seasons under Urban Meyer. On November 1st, Tebow broke Emmitt Smith’s rushing touchdown record of 36, as he ran it in for his 37th rushing touchdown of his career. After beating Alabama in the 2008 SEC Championship game, Florida would go on to face Oklahoma in the BCS Championship game. Tebow led Florida to a 24-14 victory that helped fulfill the promise he made during a press conference after suffering a loss to Ole Miss. Tebow would apologize for the way he played in the loss saying the following: “you will never see a team work harder than us.”

Tebow’s senior year definitely helped cement his name into the SEC record books for the final time in his college career. Tebow broke Herschel Walker’s SEC career rushing touchdown record against Walker’s former team, the Georgia Bulldogs, as Tebow ran for his 51st career rushing touchdown. In the 2010 Sugar Bowl, Florida whooped Cincinnati in Tebow’s final college game by a score of 51-24.

Coming into the NFL Draft, scouts were very split on their decision with Tim Tebow. While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, Jon Gruden, believed that Tebow had the ability to “revolutionize” the pro game, NFL analyst Mel Kiper disagreed. Kiper said that, “I don’t think he can be a fulltime quarterback. I don’t think he can be the quarterback of the future for you, but I do think in the third round, maybe the second round, he’ll be the same as Pat White.”

Nonetheless, Tebow was selected in the first round with the 25th pick by the Denver Broncos. He quickly became an NFL favorite, setting the record for jersey sales while also being the most bought jersey in 2010. In 2010, Tebow put up great rushing stats with 43 carries, 227 yards, and 6 touchdowns in the limited time he was given at QB. Tebow struggled to find his groove in the passing game, completing 41 of his 82 passes for 654 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 3 picks.

In 2011, the Broncos started the season 1-3, so Tebow replaced Kyle Orton as the starting QB and lead the Broncos on an absolute tear of wins and individual accolades. In 14 games, Tebow completed 126 of his 271 yards, accomplishing 1,729 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions while also eclipsing a passer rating of 72.9. In the rushing game, on the other hand, Tebow would do just fine; he ran for 660 yards on 122 carries, going for 6 rushing touchdowns. Even though he was a man on mission, Tebow unfortunately struggled with ball control problems, fumbling the ball 13 times.

In the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow morphed into his old self for the biggest game 0f his NFL career. Tebow would write Bible verses such as John 3:16 on his eye tape back in college, and he continued this tradition in the NFL. Tebow and his strong faith threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 80-yard bomb to Demaryius Thomas in overtime to win the game. The next week the Broncos would lose in a sloppy performance to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

After the 2011 year, Tebow’s time with the Broncos had come to an end, and his success as a mobile tank soon plummeted. He bounced around the NFL for a short amount of time with teams like the New York Jets and the New England Patriots, but never really found his groove again.

In 2013 and 2014, Tebow spent some time with ESPN covering SEC football in the fall while also making appearances on College GameDay. In 2016, Tebow realized that competition was missing from his life. Tebow had always been a good baseball player growing up and decided he was going to lace up his cleats one more time to play for the New York Mets minor league team. For the next 4 years, Tebow would make it all the way up to Triple-A, playing for the Syracuse Mets just before being called up for Spring Training with the Mets in 2020. Just last week, on February 17th, Tebow officially announced his retirement from sports for the last time, saying he would hang up his hat and glove. Tebow has left behind a superhuman college football legacy for future generations to revel at, and he should be remembered as one of the greatest athletes of our time.