x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Brady and Tebow - the high school jocks who had it all

In both games I found myself rooting against these two guys. I wanted Tennessee to stop Tebow and for the Jets to take down Brady. Why?

Over the weekend I watch a lot of college and professional American football. Two games stuck out. On Saturday it was the University of Florida versus the University of Tennessee. On Sunday it was the New England Patriots against the New York Jets. The Florida Gators and the Patriots have a lot in common. During the past decade the Gators and Patriots have been among the most successful teams in college and pro football, respectively.

What else they have in common is that they have big name players leading their teams at the quarterback position; Tim Tebow for Florida and Tom Brady for New England. In both games I found myself rooting against these two guys. I wanted Tennessee to stop Tebow and for the Jets to take down Brady. Why? Tebow and Brady are among the most successful, most respected players in the sport. Brady has led the Pats to three Super Bowls, all the while becoming one of the most marketable athletes in American sports.

Tebow is just a senior in college, but he has already led the Gators to two national titles and has won a Heisman trophy. He could win one more of each this year. I thought about it, why was I rooting against them. I think what happens to fans like me is that we get bored by the same person dominating the sport year after year and I am not alone. I want to see the next great player or the next great team. That is understandable and pretty common.

We all want the next great player. But if that is the case, what is my issue with Tebow? He is young and not even in the NFL yet. I think the reason is something deeper. The media coverage of Tebow and Brady over the years has been overwhelming. Brady was being discussed as a possible hall of famer when he was still in his mid 20s. If you watch the coverage of college football, it is like there is Tim Tebow and then everyone else. Tebow is the face of the entire sport at the college level. The camera never leaves him during a Florida game on television. Yes, that is part of it as well. Tebow and Brady monopolise the headlines with what they do on the field and off.

Brady is notorious for dating fellow celebrities and is now married to supermodel Giselle Bundchen. Tebow's love life has not made the news, but his charity work has. He goes to third world countries to help sick children. He goes to prisons to give inspirational talks to the inmates. They are too good to be true. Now I have found my answer. Tebow and Brady are just older versions of the star athlete that we all went to high school with. They are the guy who was the star athlete, dated the head cheerleader, got straight A's and helped old ladies cross the street. They have it all and make it look easy. I know this sounds jealousy and it probably is, but it is the truth. We do not root for Bill Gates to make more money or for George Clooney to meet more supermodels. They have had more than their share.

So now that I have analysed myself, I have to realise that high school is over and that the prom queen is with Tom Brady. I have a great life and a great job. I get to talk about sports for a living. But every once in a while, it is nice to see Brady and Tebow struggle. It is okay to enjoy it when you see the prom king get a speeding ticket. ppabst@thenational.ae