Talkin' with Tebow
Catching up with Florida's Heisman Trophy favorite
Posted: Friday December 7, 2007 9:48AM; Updated: Friday December 7, 2007 11:54AM
In April when I released an absurdly early look at the 2007 Heisman race without mentioning Tim Tebow, I received an e-mail from Siva in Arcadia, Fla., asking, "Ever heard of Tim Tebow?" When I updated the list in August, again sans Tebow, I received an e-mail from Eric in St. Petersburg, Fla., who wrote, "Thank you soooooo much for not putting Tebow on your list. Even mentioning him in the same breath as the Heisman is retarded." Well, Eric, it seems as if Siva was right all along. But who in the world, other than Siva, could have predicted Florida's sophomore quarterback would have a season unlike any in college football history?
With the Heisman to be awarded on Saturday night, the choice here is Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. And my guess, from all these straw polls I've seen, is I'm not the only one who thinks Tebow will take home the stiff-arm statuette.
Recently I spoke with Tebow about everything from the team he would like to play next season, to possibility of entering the NFL Draft after his junior year to whether he would ever date a (gasp!) Florida State girl.
SI.com: So how's the broken right hand?
Tebow: The hand is in a cast and hopefully getting better and will be ready to go soon.
SI.com: How did you break it?
Tebow: I don't know. I think trying to stiff-arm somebody on the touchdown run [on the first drive of the third quarter against Florida State] and then just hit him with it somehow. I'm not actually sure.
SI.com: But you played through it. If the Gators had qualified for the SEC championship game, would you have played?
Tebow: Oh, yes sir. It's my right [non-throwing] hand. And it's only a broken hand. That's why God gave you two. We could definitely find a way to play.
SI.com: So the Heisman ballot asks voters to select the "most outstanding" college football player in the country in 2007. Everyone has their own definition of most outstanding. But what's your definition?
Tebow: That's a good question. I haven't thought much about the definition of that. But I think it would have to be about being consistent through a whole year and being able to go into every game and be an outstanding player in every game. Someone that teams will have to key on, try to stop. Someone who has the ability to change the game.
SI.com: What would winning the award mean to you?
Tebow: It would mean a lot to me. I've been watching the Heisman ceremony as long as I can remember. I was a big Danny Wuerffel fan, so watching him win it was really special. It was a dream of mine to even get a chance to go [to New York]. It would be a huge honor because I think I kind of have a little bit of a grasp of how big an award it is, what it means, so it would just be a huge honor for me, something I'll be very thankful for and something I'll cherish forever.
SI.com: You have such a rock star status on campus and in Gainesville. What are some of the drawbacks of that?
Tebow: With everything, there are pros and cons. You enjoy the hype and the recognition you get. It's an honor that people want to talk to you and get your autograph and take pictures. It's great, and I feel privileged to do that and sign for everybody. But sometimes it is nice when you can just go out to dinner with your family and spend time with them. You never really get to see them and when you are with them and you go out to eat or something, you're signing a lot of the time. But you just have to be thankful for it, and something that helps me handle it is knowing that I was a kid once and I looked up to Danny Wuerffel, and when he signed an autograph for me, it made me feel good. That helps me with handling all that and gives you an appreciation for it. Even though it's going to take more of your time and you might not get to do what you want to do, you're helping other people, and that's what it's all about. That really keeps me going and helps me not get frustrated with that stuff.
SI.com: Have you ever been burned by your celebrity?
Tebow: That happens quite frequently. There are a lot of people who act like they're me on Facebook and try to talk to people. I've had people tell me they were going on dates with me because of Facebook, and I don't even have a Facebook account. People come up to me and say, "Hey, thanks for having me as a friend on Facebook." I don't even have Facebook. And you do have the different people that sometimes will follow you from class to class. Some are weird. I wouldn't say they're stalkers, but they're definitely a little over-interested. You'll just take a picture just walking to class. Then they'll put it on Facebook or do whatever with it and just say whatever they want with it. So that's why you try to be really careful about what kind of pictures you're taking. Could this be seen as a bad picture? It really makes you be careful about the situations you put yourself in.