Get to know Tim Tebow
Tebowmania has leftNew England. Here are 15 fun facts about former Jets quarterback Tim Tebow.
Compiled by Jim Mancari
Tim Tebow was born Aug. 14, 1987 in Makati City in the Philippines. His parents were Baptist missionaries living in the Philippines at the time. He is the youngest of five children. At age 3, Tebow’s family moved to the Jacksonville, Fla., area.
All five Tebow children were home-schooled by their mother, Pamela, who instilled the Christian beliefs of the family in her children. Home schooling also allowed the Tebow children to have flexible schedules, which allowed for participation in sports.
A 1996 Florida law allowed home-schooled students to play on the athletic teams in the district in which they lived. Tebow started out at Trinity Christian Academy in Deltona, Fla., playing linebacker and tight end. He wanted to play quarterback, however, so he lived with his mother in an apartment in St. John’s County in order to attend Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach.
In a game during his junior year at Nease, Tebow sustained an injury to his lower leg. The coaching staff thought it was just a cramp, so Tebow continued playing despite the pain. He wound up rushing for a 29-yard touchdown in the second half, which led the team to victory. The pain turned out to be a broken fibula rather than just a cramp.
ESPN produced a documentary on Tebow following his junior year in high school entitled “Tim Tebow: The Chosen One.” The documentary focused on his home schooling background and his missionary work in the Philippines.
Tebow signed with the University of Florida in 2006. Coach Urban Meyer named him the second-string quarterback behind Chris Leak to start the season. However, Tebow received ample playing time and finished second on the Gators with 469 rushing yards.
In 2007, Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. He passed for 32 touchdowns and ran for 23 more, which set the SEC record for most rushing touchdowns recorded for any position in SEC history. Tebow and the Gators won the BCS National Championship in the 2006 and 2008 seasons.
Tebow ran for his 37th career rushing touchdown with the Gators on Nov. 1, 2008, which broke Emmitt Smith’s school record. Tebow scored his 50th and 51st career rushing touchdowns on Oct. 31, 2009, which broke the SEC career record previously held by Georgia running back Herschel Walker.
The NCAA instituted “The Tebow Rule” in 2010, which stated players could not inscribe messages on their eye paint. Tebow wrote notable biblical verses on his eye black, such as “John 3:16” in the 2009 BCS Championship Game. Over the next 24 hours, “John 3:16” became the highest-ranked search term on Google—reaching over 90 million searches.
The Denver Broncos selected Tebow with the 25th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He set an NFL Draft record for jersey sales and also had the best-selling NFL jersey in each month during the 2010 season. He signed a five-year, $11.25 million contract prior to the season.
Tebow recorded a 100.5 quarterback rating in his first NFL start—a 39-23 loss to the Oakland Raiders. He rushed for 78 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown run—the longest run for a quarterback in his first start. He became the third quarterback in NFL history, joining Kordell Stewart and Michael Vick, to throw for a touchdown of 30 or more yards and run for a touchdown of 40 or more yards in the same game.
Tebow earned his first win as a starter on Dec. 26, 2010 against the Houston Texans. Trailing 17-0 at halftime, the Broncos stormed back to win 24-23. Tebow threw for 308 yards and a touchdown and ran for another touchdown. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for a touchdown in each of his first three career starts.
Tebow took over for Kyle Orton as the Broncos starting quarterback after the team opened the 2011 season 1-4. Tebow won seven games as a starter and helped his team come from behind in the fourth quarter in five of those seven wins. The Broncos won the AFC West title and upset the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card playoff round on the first play of overtime—an 80-yard touchdown pass from Tebow to Demaryius Thomas.
“Tebowing” became a recognized word in the Global Language Monitor late in 2011. The act mimics Tebow’s touchdown celebration in which he drops to one knee in prayer and makes a fist. The craze spread nationwide, and two Riverhead High School students were suspended for repeatedly “Tebowing” in the school’s hallway.
Despite having Tebow on their roster, the Broncos signed Peyton Manning to a five-year, $96 million contract on March 20. The very next day, Tebow was traded with a seventh round draft pick to the Jets for a fourth and sixth round pick.