When it comes to two professional athletes who are almost nothing like each other, it’s hard to find a bigger contrast than Tim Tebow and Tom Brady.
Tebow is a Christian who puts God at the center of his life. Brady is nominally Catholic, but he told The New York Times’ Mark Leibovich, “I think we’re into everything. … I don’t know what I believe. I think there’s a belief system, I’m just not sure what it is.”
On the football field, Brady is a six-time Super Bowl champion widely considered one of, if not the best player of all time in the NFL.
Tebow had one memorable playoff victory from his days in Denver but spent most of his brief NFL career carrying a clipboard before changing focus and getting ever-closer to a dream of playing Major League Baseball.
But when Tebow and Brady crossed paths in 2013 when Tebow found himself on the roster of the New England Patriots, he couldn’t help but be impressed by what he saw in practice and on the field.
“I think he’s the best to have ever done it, for a lot of reasons,” Tebow said.
“I have so much respect for Tom. He was so nice to me when I was there. I feel like we had a friendship going in and we still do. He’s someone that always handles himself with a lot of class, very professional.
“He treats everyone the same. That means a lot to me that he’s not different around some people than he is around others, and I really appreciate that. You know sometimes when people have that much success, they can treat people differently, and he’s very humble that way.”
— Yianni Kourakis (@YianniKourakis) April 11, 2019
And let’s face it, Tebow does know a thing or two about coming through in the clutch. Maybe not as often as Brady has done it, but go back and watch that Broncos-Steelers playoff game again and tell me Tebow doesn’t have clutch written into his DNA.
“I think one of the things as an athlete that I respect so much about him is he’s his best when his best is what’s needed the most,” Tebow said. “I think (there are) very few athletes you can say that about, but the great ones I think you have to say that about.”
“He just gets better and better when the pressure is more and more,” Tebow continued. “He gets calmer and just handles that’s one thing I just love about his game because very few people are like that.”
What separates what Bill Simmons calls “Great Stats, Bad Team” guys from champions is that killer instinct in the clutch, and Tebow has not only done it but knows it when he sees it.
“I think Tom’s one of the best in my lifetime in any sport of handling those ‘moments,’ with the pressure packed in. Just look at all those Super Bowls. A lot of them have come down to those moments.”
Tebow, ever humble, finished by saying to the reporter, “So that was a long answer to your question.”
Tebow knows better than anyone the importance of grit, determination and faith in doing the impossible.
After all, even though it’s not at the same time, Tebow is following in the footsteps of true legends like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders in trying to play big-league baseball and pro football in the same lifetime.
And some of the greatest athletes of all time haven’t gotten as far as Tebow has in pursuit of the two-sport star dream; Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest ever to play basketball, washed out of Double-A when he tried his hand at swinging the bat.
Tebow’s in Triple-A, playing for the Syracuse Mets and hoping to stay healthy this year and get that coveted September call-up to the Show.
Maybe when that happens, we’ll get Tom Brady’s thoughts.
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