Being a professional sports icon in this country is a lot like walking a tightrope: one tiny slip, and it’s over.
The fleeting nature of idolism in professional sports must be a daunting responsibility for those lucky enough to experience it.
On the one hand, you are a national treasure. You suddenly become the closest thing Americans have to royalty.
On the other hand, you are instantly held to a higher standard than every other athlete.
It’s a standard that, time and time again, has proven very difficult to maintain.
Sometimes the “tiny slips” can be more like gargantuan swan dives; look at how long it took Kobe Bryant to get his endorsements back after being accused of rape.
The “tiny slips” can be a result of a party, a jerk with a camera and a little alcohol (or, in Michael Phelps’ case, a gigantic bong).
Or, the “tiny slip” could really be something tiny. I believe Tim Tebow is now facing that dilemma.
As of now, Tebow’s popularity is incredible. People are “Tebowing” all over the world. In fact, the word “Tebow” is now in the Global Language Monitor, which is basically like Webster’s Dictionary on the Internet.
But what would people think if paparazzi caught Tebow yelling at a waiter in a restaurant, or cursing at a reporter? He will go down in proverbial flames if he lets his fame give him an unholy ego.
What is everyone going to think when he ultimately loses the starting job in Denver? Instead of being temporarily loathed like Kobe and Phelps, he will just be forgotten.
It is simply human nature to root for the underdog, but it is just as engrained in our nature to resent the underdog once he is on top. With Tebow’s unprecedented popularity and hype, he is officially on the American social chopping block.
You better win next year, Tebow, or all your loyal fans will forget about you.
Honestly, he is one bad season away from going down in sports history as one of the tastiest flavors of the week ever. After all, it’s still football, and the only thing that will resonate in 100 years is statistics.
Doug Flutie does humanitarian work, too. Anyone out there doing the “Flutie” pose?
Senior Patrick Carney has been one of Tebow’s most outspoken critics. In a league now heavily dominated by the passing game, Carney said he believes Tebow will never be a franchise quarterback.
“He’s an easy guy to root for,” Carney said. “But teams will catch on to how to stop the spread option in the NFL. The Patriots just did.”
The sad truth is that what determines one’s legacy is longevity. You either die the hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Though Tebow will never be the villain, he will never eclipse the status he has right now.
That status: flash in the pan.