Euphoria bordering upon madness is expressed for Timothy Richard Tebow. This affection cannot merely be explained by his recent football success. For example, Michael Jordan became the world’s most celebrated athlete through his frequent championships and scoring titles. While Tebow won the Heisman Trophy and several national college championships, he was subsequently dismissed as a gimmick, unfit for the pro level. After being drafted, Tim’s professional victories quickly became the stuff of legend, with repeated come-from-behind victories. And now, after some embarrassing losses, one gets the feeling that Tebow’s critics are pleased and hope he is quickly hustled off the NFL stage. Yet his supporters remain unrepentant.
As a model of how not to build a dynasty, the New York Jets were picked in the preseason to go far in the playoffs and possibly vie for the Superbowl. Fast forward 4 months later, and they are out of the playoffs, season in tatters. Fingers now point at the coaching staff, quarterback Mark Sanchez, the offense and defense. Why? Because it seems that a highly talented squad could not overcome its own self-centered attitude to play unselfishly and to win consistently. Or at least that is what the rookie backup QB recently said.
On Birmingham, Ala. radio station 97.3 The Zone, Greg McElroy commented on a disappointing season. He stated,
It’s the first time I’ve ever been around extremely selfish individuals. I think that’s maybe the nature of the NFL, but there were people within our locker room that didn’t care whether we won or lost as long as they … had really had good games individually.
That’s the disappointing thing. It’s going to take a lot to come together next year. I think the fact we struggled at times this year really led to … this corrupt mindset within the locker room. But I think we’re going to regroup. I think we’ll be a better team because of the trials and tribulations this year.
McElroy’s criticism might be easier to discount, except he is one of the brightest professional athletes in America, graduating with a 3.85 GPA, while quarterbacking Alabama to a national championship last season. In fact, while his Rhodes Scholar application was not successful, he still made one of the highest scores in NFL history on their Wonderlic test—48 out of 50.
And yet, shouldn’t someone ask—isn’t McElroy simply doing the leadership duties that those above him refuse? And consider how former defensive tackle Kris Jenkins agreed with McElroy’s comments, saying this about hunky playboy Sanchez on the Mike Lupica show:
McElroy loves his craft he loves what he does and he felt it was what needed to be said. The No. 1 quarterback should have said that a long time ago. It would have been all part of the process of him growing a pair and standing up and being a man. But the thing is, he lost his because he got caught up in the wash that is New York, the spotlight, taking pictures in the magazines and doing all that stuff. That’s just what everybody has seen with Mark Sanchez, they got tired of it.
The final question regards leadership—What is it and who has this elusive quality? Further, what if Barack used Tim Tebow’s methods and values of leadership—would he be any more successful?
II. Tim Tebow—Unafraid Under Fire, Leading With a Smile
Tim Tebow is the current, and highly controversial, starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. He’s known for his very public professions of his Christian faith in addition to heroic comebacks from seemingly impossible late-game deficits. He lacks some polish but has intangibles that everyone now acknowledges—some belatedly—true leadership under fire.
There are typically many impressive traits in successful athletes, but Tebow seems imbued with the rarest instincts seen in only the most exemplary. Some attributes Tebow is well-known for are: kindness; work-ethic; humility; charitable labors; generosity, easy-going nature; refusal to take slights personally; piety; encouragement of others never to give up; purity; cheerfulness; physical courage; mental strength under pressure; refusal to blame others; ability to take unpopular stands; faithfulness; belief in others; ability to develop a vision; forthrightness; defense of the less fortunate; generosity of spirit; communication and speaking ability; sharing credit in victory with others; refusal to back down from danger; etc.
Tebow’s extreme popularity is, of course, somewhat a byproduct of his winning record simply because it gave him increased exposure and labeled him as one who knew how to succeed. And yet there is little doubt he would remain popular if he were bounced from football simply because he is seen as a standup guy and a real man with uncompromising ethics. More to the point, Tebow is seen as representative of America’s Christian beliefs. He seems to make all of his decisions with a total commitment to his faith in mind without compromising his goal of earning victory. In this sense, most Americans see Tim as having the highest level of leadership values whether he ever throws another spiral.
III. DC Dysfunction: Lack of All Conviction & Passionate Intensity
As a study in anti-leadership, the devolution of Obama’s presidency began when he first pitted one American subgroup against another. Incredibly, Barack flushed away his claims of being above partisanship the day he was sworn into office. His hand-picked minister Rev. Lowery offered an insult to one subgroup during his prayer while Barack chuckled approvingly. The US was primed for unbiased leadership, especially as Barack’s campaign slogans centered on a post-racial, beyond-party approach to solving America’s problems. Yet it appears such a goal is beyond the interests and vision of Obama himself.
Barack has not missed a chance to turn opportunities to lead America towards progress into shrill attacks against his “enemies.” Perhaps a background as an ultra-ideological community organizer using the teachings of Marx was not good training to be leader of all Americans.
Yet, what would Tebow-esque leadership look like in the White House? Let’s examine what a moral vision could achieve for America.
Barack claims the rich unfairly steal from the poor and so we must “share the wealth.” Further, the federal government must kick-start any recovery with massive seed money.
How would Tebow answer? How would he help create jobs for unemployed Americans—the estimated 11% needing work and the 20% underemployed? Knowing the horrific toll of poverty from his lifetime of aiding dirt-poor Filipinos in their impoverished islands, he’d do whatever he could to help Americans find work. Since Obamacare has blocked new hires across the continent, he would ask his party to help repeal it. This would open the floodgate of hiring and immediately put bacon and beans on the table across the land.
Tebow has All-American character. He espouses capitalistic values that are foundational to America: Competitiveness, ownership, responsibility, hard work, optimism, faith and persistence.
Further, as a patriotic supporter of our Constitution, Tim would take pride in helping eliminate an act of tyranny against US liberty.
B. International Relations
Barack claims the US has acted as a bully and needs to have humbler foreign policy. His chief means is pulling out of wars then funding and supporting foreign uprisings. The latter has tended to empower Islamists in their goal of creating a Shari’a-based Middle-East.
How would Tebow handle international relations were he Commander in Chief? It is inconceivable, given the terrible carnage created by Muslim insurgents in Mindanao—where he used to live—that he would help them gain power. Such a policy would needlessly lead to many deaths and much suffering. So he would not coddle Muslims by arming them in Egypt, Libya or Syria, as he is doing today, for example.
C. Accountability & Responsibility
No leader can inspire confidence in others if he never accepts responsibility for mistakes. Barack has made a fetish of blaming others for errors and pretending his bad decisions have resulted in unprecedented success. In other words, he only takes responsibility for being right. (Or, like Charlie Sheen says, “Winning!!!”)
But Tim has repeatedly takes blame for any failure associated with his tenure, and just as refreshingly—seeks to give credit to others for his successes. Certainly such an attitude is the hallmark of a winner. He said after a loss,
Well, obviously when you lose it’s just not good enough, and for me it wasn’t good enough. I just have to get better and learn from my great coaches and just come out next week and try to be a better quarterback, a better leader and be a better player. You’ve just got to find a way to put your team in the end zone. We had a nice drive going, and I fumbled—and that was very disappointing—just trying to fight for extra yards. And we had other opportunities we just couldn’t take advantage of. We’ve just got to find a way.
Imagine how much more credibility Barack might have with the average American if he took such an approach to problems.
D. Team Building: Encouraging Others
A large part of being a leader is encouraging your followers, some of whom you will not naturally be in agreement with over some subjects. Yet, Obama seems to enjoy blaming and antagonizing other Americans with whom he disagrees, as when he said:
So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. (audio)
To the contrary, Tebow seems to love to build up his troops, as when he said to the Broncos before their miracle comeback victory at Chicago: “Let’s stick together, all 60 minutes!” (audio) He said afterward,
“If you believe, unbelievable things can sometimes be possible.”
One of the deepest desires of a political constituency is to have their values be taken seriously by leaders. In a constitutional democratic republic like America this is also a prerequisite to lawful policy. Tragically, Barack Obama has fully embraced the idea that the job of enlightened government is to dazzle, baffle or bamboozle the public into receiving policies they would not accept if presented straightforwardly.
It must be seen as a fundamental failure of the Obama administration that many American citizens cannot explain whether Barack is purposely or accidentally ruining the country. Further, his repeated attacks against the US and big government policies have badly damaged America. Without someone willing to sacrifice and make good choices as president, the US may never recover from Barack’s horrific depredations against liberty. But with the leadership style and values of Timothy Richard Tebow in the White House, who could stop America from soaring again?!
So why is Tim Tebow so immensely popular? Let’s assume America’s majority Christian population is so starved for some show of principled leadership that they felt an instant affinity for the rugged, virtuous and humble evangelical. But did it take the remarks of another NFL quarterback to put an explanation on the point? Injured rookie NY Jets backup QB revealed the leadership vacuum found not only in the NFL, but also in Washington. NY Jet Greg McElroy criticized his teammates for their selfishness which he claimed led to failure, stating the Jet’s suffered from a “corrupt mindset” in their locker room.
Consider for a moment the current Obama administration as a similarly corrupt group dying from a lack of leadership. But now ponder injecting Tebow-esque leadership the American public craves. This is the subject of this essay.