Lombardi: Where The Critics Are Wrong About Tebow

DENVER (CBS4) – I’m living proof that Tim Tebow inspires.

Written by Vic LombardiHe inspired me to sit in front of my computer at half-past midnight and bang out a commentary that I’m normally too lazy and too disinterested to write. But enough is enough. I’m tired of people blaming the media for Tim Tebow’s super-stardom. As if we created this machine. We purposely set out to destroy all that is bad by perpetuating the myth of a super-human who espouses all that is good. Yeah, like those of us who read tele-prompters for a living are actually smart enough to pull that off. Don’t you realize, we’re too dumb for that?

Let me tell you how this media thing works. We normally cover what the majority of people want us to cover. And right now, the overwhelming majority in this town wants to know anything and everything there is to know about Tim Tebow. Pretty simple. We didn’t create the machine. But we certainly feed it.

So last night, I tweet the following: “Coming up on CBS4 tonight at 10, wondering if Tebow’s rubbing off on his teammates? Wait ’till you see all the Broncos active in the community tonight.” Pretty harmless, I thought. We show athletes doing charity work almost every night. But in this case, Tebow helped draw a big crowd to Wesley Woodyard’s charity event at the Denver Aquarium. We wanted to share that with the viewers.

My good friend Chad Brown, a former NFL linebacker, didn’t like my approach. He felt “insulted” that I would suggest Tebow is the reason athletes are doing charity work when those same athletes have been doing that same work for years. Fair point. But this is where we agree to disagree.

vic lombardi interviews tim tebow Lombardi: Where The Critics Are Wrong About Tebow

Vic Lombardi interviews Tim Tebow (credit: CBS)

I honestly believe the Bronco players are more community-minded today than they were before Tebow arrived. I see it every day. I emcee many of these events. I notice more guys forming foundations, holding charity fundraisers, visiting hospitals, taking kids Christmas shopping. You name it, they’re doing it. Most of them have been doing it for years. And yes, some of them are doing it because they see their quarterback actively doing it every single day. Say what you want, but what Tim Tebow does is contagious, both and off the field. And that’s a good thing. By the way, those athletes who claim we don’t give them enough credit for their charity endeavours, go build a hospital in the Phillipines, then we’ll talk.

So Chad’s upset with the media because of the way we’ve “framed” the Tebow story. He claims we give him much more credit than he deserves. C’mon Chad. You played the game. You should know better. You know the quarterback always gets too much credit and too much blame. It comes with the position. You’re a former linebacker. When we invited linebacker Von Miller as our guest on Xfinity Monday Live! at the Tavern Downtown, he drew a pretty good crowd. Could you imagine the crowd if Tebow showed up? They’d have to shut the place down. My point is, the quarterback always gets more credit than he deserves. Especially THIS quarterback.

I find it interesting that most of Tebow’s harshest critics in this town happen to be former NFL football players. I have a theory: Football is the ultimate meritocracy. Football players have been programmed to play the game a certain way, to tackle a certain way, to throw a certain way. So along comes a happy-go-lucky do-gooder who breaks all the rules and still finds a way to win. If you’re a former player, this can’t compute. You can’t buy in. You can’t be wrong.

Former players are wrong about Tebow. And they don’t like being wrong. This is their game. Their passion. Their rules. Sorry fellas, your rules don’t apply to this guy. Look at the scoreboard.

So when I “frame” Tim Tebow as the man who rescued the Denver Broncos from relative insignificance, the critics go berserk. Credit the defense, they cry. We do. Give some love to the coaches. We do. How about the kicker? Oh, so now you want to respect the kicker? Like it or not, this all starts with Tebow. The Broncos don’t enjoy this resurgence without him.

And because I mention Tim Tebow every single night on my 10pm sportscast, I’m called a sycophant, a jock-sniffer, a wannabe, a radical, a prosyletizer and a general tool. I may be all of those things. But it has nothing to do with Tim Tebow. Truth is, I have nothing to gain by supporting the guy. He hasn’t sent me any free books. I don’t wear Jockey underwear. I don’t even attend church on a regular basis. I’m much more friendly with the role players on this team. Tebow probably doesn’t even know who I am. Which is fine. It allows me to have an objective opinion about this kid. He inspires. He inspires his teammates. And, yes, he inspires me.

Sue me.

– Vic Lombardi is the lead sports anchor of CBS4 Sports. Watch Lombardi on CBS4 News at 5, 6 and 10 p.m., as well as on the CBS4 Morning News. Also, catch Vic hosting Xfinity Monday Live! on during CBS4 News at 6:30 p.m. every Monday night from the Tavern Downtown.

Read Vic’s bio or click here to send him an email.

  • Mary

    Love this commentary, Vic – right on!

  • Sandra

    Great post, thanks!

  • Diana

    Loved your point of view. I don’t believe Tim is a god, but a man who loves God and lives out his life by and through that love. How can one not be inspired by that?

  • Mike Wolford

    Sometimes it is worth getting on the computer and putting good thoughts into words–even after midnight. Your commentary reflects refreshing analysis requiring readers to do some introspection rather than knee jerk agree/disagree. Way to go Vic, and way to go Tebow and the rest of the Broncos. Kyle Orton surely did not raise his team to this level of play, nor did he fan the flames of public discourse into the realms we are diving into today. Keep up the good work!

  • Anthony

    This is a terrific article Vic, and a huge breath of fresh air from all the hipsters out there who are just hating to hate. I’m glad you were able to articulate this so well.

  • Justin Gardner

    smartest article i’ve read all year

  • Frank


    great article, Mr. Lombardi

  • Geosota

    Hi! I live in Ohio and have become a part of the Denver media market because of Tebow. Nice column. Inspiring. I’m giving underwear to everyone on my list this Christmas.

  • Pat

    Hi, I am 71 years old. Never watch football. Don’t know anything about it. I know of three football players: Joe Namath because he made a big prediction and came through; Doug Flute because he was a little guy who did big things; and Tim Tebow because he is a good guy. Says it all.

  • SunnyJ

    Hi Vic, Back here in Wisconsin, Love my Packers but have to be there, in the moment with you and the Broncos and TT. Smart writing. TT is bringing something to the game…it is what it is to each of us depending on the lessons we are learning. We are all students and teachers and TT is no different. Merry Christmas to you and all the Denver fans. Hope to see you in the Super Bowl!

  • Play2k

    There is a chemistry going on in Denver right now and Tebow is, as you point out a major ingredient. That’s more than fair to say. That Tebow ever got the opportunities, overcame all his critics and now thrives in Denver (for the moment) is an outcome staged through his attitude and beliefs a long time ago for a very long time. That he is having this ride in Denver with a team that has flipped a severely losing season isn’t some series of accidents. It is a series of millions of accidents and a lot of heart, so enjoy it as you would the lottery. Footballs just the game on the field..

  • Adam Smith

    Normally we focus on the impact of the QB through yards thrown and plays made. All fair and correct. But there is another dimension to the job, leadership. It is the nature of human beings that they function better as a team when they are in the presence of an inspiring, authentic leader. Tebow has a lot of work to do on his technical skills as a QB but his 1000 Watt authenticity, genuine nature and superior enthusiasm and leadership are transformative for his team. I see him as having much akin to Ray Lewis – a very different person with different values but an authentic, enthusiastic, inspiring leader who has made the Baltimore defense what they are for years. What people are missing is the leadership aspect and the chemistry it engenders.

  • Rick Trasky

    You just had Prater on your show and you asked him “Do you talk to Tim during the game?”. That followed “Do you find yourself wondering how Tebow can make those plays out there?”

    Are you for REAL?!?! Why didn’t you ask Matt if he knows what Tebow eats?

    Noooo, the media doesn’t create this hype, not at all.

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