25 Best Moments in The Swamp: No. 9 — Tebow’s last home show

UF's Tim Tebow runs in his final touchdown on Florida Field during the second half against Florida State at Florida Field on Nov. 28, 2009. [Brian W. Kratzer/The Gainesville Sun/File]

It was June of 1992 when Steve Spurrier, fresh off Florida’s first official SEC title, called The Sun columnist Mike Bianchi with a new name for the stadium that would eventually bear his name.

The Swamp. 

In the years that followed, there have been some unbelievable games and players. Sun writers Pat Dooley and Robbie Andreu came up with their rankings of the 25 best moments since 1992 when Spurrier gave it that moniker. 

No. 9 — Nov. 28, 2009

Tebow’s last stand

The set-up: Florida was trying to finish up a perfect regular season and it was Senior Day at The Swamp. The Gators were playing FSU in what was Bobby Bowden’s last trip to the stadium and Florida was rolling on its way to a 22nd consecutive win. Many of the fans in the stands were wearing Tim Tebow’s famous eyeblack patches with different homages written on them. 

The moment: Florida led 30-3 when the Gators started a 77-yard drive to finish things off early in the fourth quarter. As Florida got closer to the goal line, fans sensed that they might be seeing the last plays of Tebow’ career in The Swamp. Out came the cell phones around the stadium as Tebow tried a jump pass (Aaron Hernandez was held on the play) and then ran an option right to score from the 1-yard line untouched as flashes went off throughout the stadium giving it an ethereal feeling.

The result: Florida finished off the Seminoles 37-10, but couldn’t get past Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. After that game. Urban Meyer resigned, then returned a day later to coach Florida in the Sugar Bowl, a blowout win over Cincinnati. 

The quote: “I have a vivid recollection of Tim’s career — and that game — capped off by that final touchdown with the flashes going off all around the stadium. In my 17 years covering the league, Tim was the dominant personality.” — Verne Lundqvist, CBS announcer.

Editor’s note: You have one Swamp game moment that comes to mind? Tell us what it is.Maybe it’s already on our Top 25 list. We’ll update readers on top moments from fans as the countdown proceeds.


  1. Generational player. Tim Tebow was that kind for the Gators. His style, his drive made him special. We’ve had many greats. We’ll have many more. But his play his leadership don’t come everyday. Notice I left on element out not out of disrespect by any means. That made him even more special. For the non religious look at it as a belief in something greater than self. To the writers on this site there is a story line for you the generational players through the history of the Gators. Your research starts 100 years ago. Make it good reading.

    • Well said 65! And to 1 of your points, I gave the writers here some sarcasm early on in this series for that exact same reason. But in their defense, other than Jack Harriston (spelling?), and before him whinny Mikey (Bianchi) who is in the ”Pat Dooley spot” years ago, they wouldn’t have any writings of their own to refer to (go down into the ”morgue’ and find for research). However, now that it’s digital, it should be much easier. I still think the James Jones’ catch against Miami should be in the ”TOP 5 ALL-TIME greatest moments at FLORIDA FIELD!” And I know, Arnold, I know… Go Gators!

      • Both of you guys captured the true character of Tebow, which aside from enormous physical and mental skills, a natural bent toward effective leadership, and good common sense — is the essence of who he is. I’ll go ahead and say it despite it not being allowed much anymore: A Christian.

        A true Christian, not a phony, not one to Lord it over others, and not a sometimes Christian. Who has certainly paid the price for his faith, yet doesn’t falter.

    • Our 2 greatest QB’s; devout Christians; a mere coincidence; I think not!
      Tim; I watched his career from high school and the hype was over the top, the months before he came. I remember warning people not to be let done because the hype was ridiculous, people expected him to walk on water! ….. Then he did! He matched and exceeded the hype and I was floored. I never doubted his ability since I had seen flashes in H.S. but no one could have predicted the zenith that he achieved as QB. Every game I used to love it once he got hit because it seemed to knock the thinking out of him and he would just act and react after that and his game went to another level. I used to tell people that the coach ought to have some big linemen just go up to Tim at the beginning of each game and slap him to get him to that level at the start of the game. The leadership! Ive never seen another QB that could motivate the team around him to elevate their play like he could. You could just see the surge in the team as Tim got going, it was a beautiful thing to watch! He could really fire them up; that was his greatest ability!

  2. Not a football player. A man. A Child of God. He would be the first to tell you that in the eyes of God he is no better and no worse than anyone else. A sinner like the rest of us. I find him inspiring. At least you weren’t thinking he was a baseball player LOL 🙂