Even though pro football star Tim Tebow hasn’t hit the gridiron in a National Football League regular season game for the past few years, he still ranks as one of the top five most popular NFL quarterbacks.
In a recent survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Tim Tebow finished only behind four other current superstar NFL starting quarterbacks: the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, the Super Bowl 50 Champion from the Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning, the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rogers, and last season’s NFL MVP, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers.
As an outspoken Christian, Tebow has received much criticism for displaying his faith on and off the field throughout his career, yet many fans still respect his powerful witness for Christ, even if he’s not on a starting roster or putting up Pro Bowl numbers on an NFL team.
It was just last August that Tebow was seen showcasing the skills as the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles by diving into the end zone for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in a preseason game, but the 28-year-old athlete did not make the team’s roster, come opening day.
Despite the fact that Tebow has not put up the record-breaking numbers in the NFL like the one he chalked up in his star-studded college football career, he is still among one of America’s most highly respected pro quarterbacks.
When Public Policy Polling surveyed 410 NFL fans using the following question that included nine different quarterbacks who played in the NFL last year, Tebow ranked number five.
"Given the choices of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Tim Tebow, and Russell Wilson, who is your favorite NFL quarterback?" the PPP survey asked, putting Tebow in the company of eight of the NFL’s top-performing quarterbacks.
However, Tebow also made the list of football fans’ least favorite NFL quarterbacks, with the “Inflategate” scandal’s Brady ranking first in this category, Tebow taking second place, and Newton — the unhappy loser of Super Bowl 50 who the media tagged as a “poor sport” after falling to the Broncos last month — coming in third.
Faithfully grateful throughout his career
As a Christian homeschooler getting the opportunity to play public high school football, Tebow was grateful for the chance to display his superb athleticism as a teenager.
Tebow’s true stardom began when he became the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy in 2007 with the University of Florida. The next year, he led the Gators to a national championship, bringing the team to 13─1 records that year and in 2009, when he set Southeastern Conference all-time records for career passing efficiency and total rushing touchdowns.
His NFL career began when he became the first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010 before being traded to the New York Jets in 2012. He was selected by the New England Patriots the following year and then picked up by the Eagles in 2015. He has also worked as an SEC analyst over the past years.
Tebow was very expressive about his Christian faith during his NCAA and NFL careers, when he was often seen praying and displaying Bible references on the field.
Off the field, Tebow has been busy as a Christian philanthropist through his Tim Tebow Foundation, his faith-based charity that has helped disadvantaged youth around the world — including a children’s hospital he opened just over a year ago in the Philippines, where he was born. Tebow has also been a strong pro-life activist, appearing during a 2010 Super Bowl commercial with his mother, who shared that she was told by doctors to abort him during complications she had during her pregnancy, when he was referred to as a “fetal tumor” and a “mass of cells.”
Tebow has also sponsored “Night to Shine” proms for special needs teens and worked to pass the Tim Tebow Bill, which gives homeschoolers the opportunity to play public school sports.
The Christian sports icon’s most recent stint in the NFL was cut short before the start of last season, when he was cut by the Eagles’ coach, Chip Kelly, who passed on signing Tebow on as the team’s third-string quarterback.
"Tim's really progressed, but we didn't feel like he was good enough to be the three right now," Kelly told CBS Sports at the beginning of the season. "He just needs to get out there and get more reps."
Despite his disappointment, Tebow took the news very graciously after the announcement in September.
"Thanks @Eagles and Coach Kelly for giving me the opportunity to play the game I love! Romans 8:28 #Blessed," Tebow tweeted after being cut, according to The Christian Post.
Tebow and many of his fans are confident that his NFL days are far from over, as his last appearance with the Eagles saw him throw for two touchdowns and connect for nearly 200 yards in the air.