Tim Tebow was the best college quarterback in from 2007-2009 and entered the NFL with incredible expectations. That whole football thing didn’t really pan out as he pinballed between a few teams and nothing really stuck. Then, he decided to journey his way to baseball and try to hash out a career there.
But, what’s even more respectable about Tebow is that he’s an amazing person off the field. There have been many times that he’s charmed the sports world, but on one special night, the rest of the world was able to witness something extraordinary.
From The Beginning
It’s not really a hot take to say that Tebow has become one of the most polarizing sports figures. You can say what you want about his play on the field, but his commitment to being a genuinely good person off of the field isn’t up for debate.
Between his faith and love for helping others, Tebow checks off all the boxes of who you’d want your kid to look to as a role model.
His Time With The Gators
During his time as the quarterback for the University of Florida, he became an international sensation. He won the Heisman Trophy (the top player in the nation) with ease. His unapologetically faith-based worldview was also very different, and many saw it as refreshing.
While he was surely a stud on the field, his body of work off of the field is probably even more impressive. He stood for something much more than football.
The Heisman Winner
While at the University of Florida, he proudly displayed his faith on the field. While many athletes claim to be religious, many of them keep their faith off of the field and out of the public eye. But not Tebow. Not even close.
He wasn’t just a person, he was a myth. He was a legend that we could see with our own eyes leading the Gators to a National Championship over the Oklahoma Sooners.
Made The Move To The NFL
Tebow had this uncanny ability to block out all of the noise and stay true to himself. After four terrific years in college, it was time to make the jump to the NFL. He was taken in the first round by the Denver Broncos and was seen as the future of the league.
He was the type of talent that would be able to redefine what it meant to be a QB. But, that didn’t happen. He ended up getting traded and never really got grounded on one team.
A True Role Model
But, despite his on-field struggles, he was someone who genuinely cared for his community. He was a man that always saw the bigger picture. He never let his failed NFL career get in the way of being a good role model and citizen.
He was making a difference for many kids and families when he started the Tim Tebow Foundation. This organization was what he cared about more than any football game.
What Really Matters
The Foundation is the vessel that allows Tim to publicly put his faith into action. It was an organization that allowed him to help thousands of people around the globe, with a specific eye towards the children.
You’ll almost never see Tebow rant or rave about any stat or game he’s played, but you’ll see his genuine satisfaction when he talks about his Foundation and the kids that he gets to meet. His emotion is raw.
It Was Bigger Than Himself
His passion for helping the less fortunate is more inspiring than any comeback he’s led or important pass he’s thrown. His Foundation is an umbrella for other smaller foundations that have specific goals they want to achieve.
For example, he built a hospital in the Philippines through the Tim Tebow Cure Hospital foundation and builds specialty child playrooms in hospitals throughout the world under the Timmy’s Playroom foundation. But, out of all the foundations, he has a favorite.
His Favorite Night Of The Year
The One Night To Shine program is Tim’s favorite. It’s dedicated to giving special needs children around the globe an unforgettable prom-style night. It’s the biggest night and event that his charity puts on.
It’s a night that garners a lot of attention from other celebrities and really brings light to the causes that Tebow looks to showcase. When I say that this night is big, I mean big. Like, worldwide big.
A Worldwide Impact
They need almost 175,000 volunteers from across the world, and they put these celebrations on in 16 different countries. One Night to Shine hosts 90,000 children and gives them a red-carpet experience full of dancing, celebration, and flashy suits and dresses.
It changes lives and gives kids a certain confidence that doesn’t just appear that night, but it lingers with them forever. This is an event that allows you to remember that good people still exist.
The Outside Looking In
The night is centered on God’s love and is hosted by 537 churches around the world. It usually gets overlooked just how important a good prom experience really can be.
Often times, kids with special needs don’t get an extravagant prom night. So, this charity celebrates those who are often on the outside looking in. No one knows that better than a girl named Judy Adams, who is one of Tebow’s biggest fans.
Judy Adams is no stranger to the spotlight and fighting for things that she’s passionate about. She loves Tim Tebow, and she loves to help people who have been affected by Down Syndrome like she is.
She started her own company called Dimes for Downs which started as a fun idea, and has now solidified itself as a legitimate charity. Her mom also has a charity that looks to help people with Downs called Gifts From the Heart for Downs.
Dimes For Downs
Judy decided that she wanted to start raising money for her mom’s charity by collecting dimes locally. Well, let’s just say that those local efforts turned national very quick.
That’s how Dimes for Downs started, and on its sixth anniversary, Adams officially hit the goal she intended — half a million dimes. In fact, she raised 501,409 dimes, which is an incredible figure considering it started as a grassroots charity.
The Incredible Amount She Raised
As I had mentioned before, she was also a huge Tim Tebow fan. It wasn’t just because he was a star athlete with a huge public persona, but because of all the work he does for the Down Syndrome community.
Prior to her going to a One Night to Shine prom event, she reached out to Tebow and invited him to be her date. Due to prior engagements, he couldn’t make it, but he took notice.
Her Prom Night
Tim was incredibly bummed out that he couldn’t make Judy’s day, week, month, and probably year. Heck, probably life. The request lingered in the back of his mind for a while as he was trying to figure out how he could surprise her.
So, following her prom night, Tebow reached out to her mom and offered two tickets to the Jimmy Fallon Show. Tim gave Judy’s mom a few important rules she had to follow.
A Surprise Was Coming
First, Judy needed to be told that they had won the tickets in a local raffle. She wasn’t allowed to know that it was Tim Tebow who gave her the tickets.
The second catch was that Judy wasn’t allowed to find out Tim was going to be on the show. That was going to be the hardest part. Judy was so excited to be going to the show, that all she wanted to do was find out which celebrity she was going to see.
Tim Didn’t Get A Prom Either
So, on the night of the show, Jimmy and Tim were talking about their prom experiences. They chatted a bit about the Tim Tebow Foundation, and Tim mentioned something astounding.
He said that because he was either playing football, basketball or baseball, he was never able to go to a prom. He was discussing how crushing that was to him, and he said there was a girl in the audience he would like to dance with.
The Magical Moment
Fallon offered Tebow a corsage, and he graciously accepted it. He turned to the audience and started describing how inspirational and influential Judy Adams was. Let’s remember, Judy didn’t even know Tim was going to be on the show.
He mentioned that she invited him to be her date, but that he couldn’t make it that night. The camera panned over to Judy who was in complete shock sitting next to her mom.
The Dance That Millions Witnessed
It was at that moment that Tebow asked Judy if she wanted to dance. I don’t think there has ever been a happier “YES” screamed on planet earth. She stood up to a thunderous applause from the audience and approached him.
They embraced and started slow dancing in front of millions of people. It was a moment that Judy will certainly never forget. The emotions were high in the room as audience members wiped away their tears.
Her Mom Was So Proud
The moment was incredibly special. You could hear Tebow telling her that she looked beautiful as she looked him in the eyes. He asked her if she was surprised and she screamed “YES” at the top of her lungs.
The camera panned over to her mom who was still in the audience and she was visibly crying. Actually, I think it’s safe to say that she was bawling her eyes out.
The Backstage Treatment
The special treatment didn’t stop at the fact she just danced with Tim Tebow on national TV. Nope, she was given a backstage pass and toured around with Tebow and some people who worked at the show.
She also ran into Kerry Washington, who was the other guest on the show that night. You would probably recognize her from her role in the drama Scandal. Judy couldn’t contain her excitement.
The Only People In The Room
After the tour was over, it was time to just hang out and chat. What’s so impressive about Tebow is that when you’re talking to him, he makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room. All of his attention is on you.
It’s rare to find someone who is as genuine and caring. I know I’ve said it before in this article, but it’s a trait that many public figures just don’t have.
He Made A Career Change
Tim Tebow decided to do a little Michael Jordan switcheroo. No, that’s not a basketball move, but it does refer to the fact that he switched sports and decided to try his luck with baseball.
He was still guided by his unbreakable faith, and knew that the end of his football career was just an opening to something else. So, instead of resorting to being a coach in the NFL, which many people thought he was going to do, he went to the minors… in baseball.
The “Michael Jordan”
By this time in his career he has enough money to retire twice, so he can take these risks without having to worry about a financial downfall. By the way, Michael Jordan was in the same “retire twice” boat, which shouldn’t surprise you.
The problem for Tebow was that he hadn’t picked up a bat or a glove since his junior year of high school. With that being said, he was a very good high school player.
Prooving The Critics Wrong
Despite all the critics, he’s doing a pretty darn good job. For not playing for as long as he did, he’s meshing well in the minor leagues. During his 2018 season with Double-A Binghamton, he hit .273 with six homers. He even got picked to be at the All-Star game, which is very impressive.
He is expected to return to play ball in 2019 and it seems likely that he’ll go up to Triple-A, which would put him in a position to be called up to the New York Mets.
He Was A Beast
There’s a reason that he was considered one of the greatest college football players to ever play the game. He broke an SEC record by scoring 51 rushing touchdowns. That broke Herschel Walker’s previous record. Yes, Tebow was a QB and Walker was a running back. It’s insane.
He was the first sophomore to win the Heisman trophy in NCAA history. That season, he passed for 32 touchdowns and ran for 23 more. His stats really speak for themselves.
He Even Broke Some NFL Records
His NFL career didn’t pan out, but he did have a pretty electric start to his career. He broke a few records and gave Denver Broncos fans plenty to be excited about.
In his first game, he ran for a 40-yard touchdown. Also in his first game, he became one of three QBs in history to run for a 40-yard TD and throw for a touchdown of 30 yards or more in the same game.
But It Was Short-Lived
By his third career start, he became the first QB in NFL history to rush for a touchdown in each of his first three starts. He won seven games as a starter in his first season.
He led the team to the playoffs that year. Unfortunately, that would be the end of any greatness for Tebow in the NFL. He was traded to the New York Jets just one day after they signed Peyton Manning.
He Does Some Broadcasting Gigs
In 2013, Tebow was hired by ESPN as a college football analyst. He appeared on the SEC Network as a co-host of SEC Nation, a travelling pre-game show, and was a contributor to many other ESPN shows.
Even when he was still playing in the NFL, he appeared on TV as a panelist on many of the big college football games. He also had a couple co-hosting gigs at Good Morning America.
His Faith-Based Journey
What’s especially interesting about Tebow is that he was born in the Philippines because his parents were Baptist missionaries at the time. He was raised in a faith-based home. One of his signature things was to have bible verses engraved in his eye-black before games.
He would also get down on one knee and pray after a touchdown and before the game. This became a very famous move that many people across all sports would do. It was dubbed “Tebowing”.
Where He’s Going From Here
Whether he was going to win or lose on the field, it didn’t really matter. He had outgrown this idea that he was just some one-dimensional football player with nothing to contribute to society.
Not many athletes have done as much off the field and still received flak in the process. Tebow thankfully understands how to tune it out and keep being himself. He’ll continue to be a man dedicated to helping others day in and day out.