Mike Messer: Florida needs Tim Tebow


Published: Friday, August 30, 2013 at 4:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 at 4:08 p.m.

With Tim Tebow’s days with the New England Patriots quite likely numbered, it still baffles me that his alma mater, the University of Florida, never enters any conversation. Sure his time there and his accomplishments are usually mentioned, and rightly so, but never the possibility of a future with the school.

If New England doesn’t pan out, and with no other teams showing any interest whatsoever, what does his football future hold? He’s definitely not a sports commentator. is public speaking and analysis is as awkward as his throwing motion. But Tim Tebow oozes football.

I moved to Gainesville in 2007 and the height of Tebowmania. There was no one in this community not talking about Tim Tebow and the upcoming Saturday. You were lucky to not get caught up in a Tebow conversation no matter where you went in this town. And for that, I despised Tim Tebow. But when he left and it came down to it, it was not Tim Tebow that I was against. It’s very hard to argue against anything the guy does as a human being. He worked hard, competed and results ensued. Not to mention he’s good looking and girls love him, he’s very family oriented, and as the father of a daughter, he’s the guy you want her to bring home to meet the family. As a man he’s unbelievable and as a college football player he was the equivalent.

It all came down to the idea of Tim Tebow that bothered me and anyone else that wasn’t born and raised a Gator fan. The guy was perfect and impossible to find fault with.And the chances are he made your team look bad, all while being really, really good.

The NFL on the other hand has not been so kind to Tim Tebow. His throwing motion and style of play do not fit well in the NFL. If New England passes on him in the upcoming weeks, what’s the future for Tim Tebow?

What Tebow did in Gainesville and for the school was astonishing. Besides the statistics, the Heisman Trophy and a couple championships, he made the Gators a ton of money. If you enter the Swamp in 2013, you will see an absolute sea of Gator jerseys. Many with the generic No. 1’s on them but most will bear a No. 15 -- pink No. 15 Gators jerseys on the girls, little No. 15 Gators jerseys on kids, and grown men holding on to those glory days in a blue and white No. 15. Tebow is still making the University of Florida money.

And because of that, and his real talents, the University of Florida may well need Tim Tebow as much as Tim Tebow may need Florida.

What Tebow did on the field in college was awesome -- and not just while the clock was running. His intensity raised the level his teammates played at and struck fear in defenses. When you have the ability to pump up an entire team and 90,000-plus fans in a stadium at will, you can make a difference in a game. The people around you play better, the excitement raises your game and eventually positive results will ensue. He did it in Denver (with absolutely terrible individual statistics), too.

I’m not just saying Tim Tebow could run up and down the sidelines with a Gator jersey on and make the team successful. That’s just an accessory. College football is a business. Don’t let the “university” word fool you. It’s about making money and nothing else. Making money brings with it many benefits, and the biggest is the power to recruit anyone, anywhere.

Being from the Midwest and moving to the South, one thing stands out more than anything. Religion is serious business down here. Southerners love them some boiled peanuts, fried anything, and God. Although many athletes point to the heavens when hitting home runs or scoring touchdowns, no one else has been praised and scrutinized for it quite like Tim Tebow. Thy’ve even renamed getting down on one knee in prayer, Tebowing.

With all SEC teams heavily filled with Southern players, having ‘a good Christian’ as a recruiter would work in your favor. But Tim Tebow isn’t your average Christian. He’s not average at all. What he would bring as a recruiting tool to the University of Florida would be priceless.

But why stop there? Like I said before, the guy has a gift for team mentality and atmosphere. Could Tim Tebow not help with the offense or even just quarterbacks at UF? Do you think someone like Jeff Driskel couldn’t learn a thing or two about being a quarterback or, more importantly, how to be a leader from Tebow? If Tebow was and is anything, he’s a leader first.

Having Tebow back in Gainesville and under the lights of Gator football in any form, brings money, excitement, fans and did I say money? The money he would bring being back in the Swamp would warrant a salary larger than any he’s going to be offered in the NFL. The things he could do for the community and for the school cannot be matched by any other individual. He could replace the boring image of Will Muschamp and become the face of the Florida Gators again. If anything could reignite the flame that has dwindled in the Gator Nation, it’s the resurrection of Tim Tebow in Gainesville.

Mike Messer lives in Gainesville.

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