I'll admit, until recently, I was one of those haters. And trust me, if you think this post is going to end with some miraculous conversion where I begin singing the kid's praises, you might as well stop reading now. He still bugs the hell out of me. I've just come to the realization that there are a lot of people in the world of sports who deserve my vitriol more than Tim Tebow.
But before I start naming names, let's examine why Tebow is so hated in the first place. Now some people might try to beat around the bush by saying they just think he's overrated, overexposed, a terrible thrower, etc. All valid criticisms, to be sure, but let's face it: the main reason Tebow's haters -- and they are legion -- harbor such rancor is because he's an outspoken, evangelical Christian. Okay, so that might be a bit of an understatement. He's probably the most outspoken, evangelical Christian athlete ever.
So no, it's not simply Tebow's faith that's annoying, nor his public expression of it. It's just that he's so over-the-top about it. Seriously, when Kurt Warner is suggesting you dial it down a notch or two, it might be a sign that you've crossed a line.
Just for the sake of argument, let's remove fame from the equation for a moment. If Tim Tebow was just a regular guy at your job who started every meeting by thanking his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and ended every conference call with "God bless," you'd still find it annoying. You'd want to pull him aside and say "Look, Tim, I appreciate your faith and all, but I just don't think Jesus actually had a vested interest in us landing the Kwik-E-Lube account."
Now let's take Christianity out of the equation too. There are lots of people who are just way too into something or other, to the point of being annoying about it. Maybe you know someone who won't shut up about Bruce Springsteen, or Howard Stern, or Harry Potter, or Star Trek, or Ron Paul, or that fucking new Skyrim game. Hell, there are probably people out there who are incredibly annoying simply because they won't shut up about Tim Tebow. How's that for meta?
All that being said, there's a difference between annoyance and hatred. My best friend is the Tim Tebow of Dylan fans, and sometimes his incessant Bob-selytizing can get tedious, but I sure as hell don't hate him for it. He's still my friend. I just zone out and wait for him to finish. Which brings us to the whole point of this post: while Tim Tebow might be annoying, there are plenty other sports figures more deserving of your hatred. So the next time Tebow goes off on one of his postgame sermons, just zone out and focus your hatred on one or more of the following people. Trust me, they've done much more to earn it.
10. Thom Brennaman
If you currently hate Tim Tebow, odds are good that Brennaman is a big part of the reason why. By the time the BCS National Championship Game rolled around on Jan. 8, 2009, Tebowmania was already at an all-time high. As the quarterback for the Florida Gators, Tebow had become the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy following the 2007 season. In 2008, Tebow led the Gators to a 12-1 mark and a spot in the aforementioned championship game. Tim was already a media darling at that point, but FOX play-by-play announcer Brennaman's unabashed Tebow worship took the absurdity to new heights. Just listen to a few highlight's of Brennaman's three-hour, on-air praise-a-thon and try to hold down your lunch:
9. Tiger Woods
Look, if I was one of the most famous people in the world, I'd take advantage of the, ahem, perks of that fame too. What I wouldn't do is get married and have kids first. (I also hope that I'd have a little better taste in women.)
8. Barry Bonds
I'm not a huge baseball fan by any stretch, but even as a casual observer, I'm appalled that two of the game's most hallowed records -- the single-season and all-time home run marks -- are held by a known cheater. I can't imagine how livid true fans of the game must be.
An incredible talent on the football field, Phillips proved to be an even more incredible asshole off it. During his time at the University of Nebraska, Phillips was arrested on assault charges after dragging his then-girlfriend down a flight of stairs by her hair. His problems continued through a brief and mostly ineffective NFL career, as arrests piled up much faster than touchdowns. Phillips is currently serving 30-plus years in California State Prison for multiple felony assault convictions. Plus, he played for Nebraska.
6. Roy Kramer
Who the hell is Roy Kramer, you ask? He's the guy who's widely credited as being the inventor of college football's BCS. Anybody who screws up such a fantastic sport to such an unbelievable degree is certainly deserving of hatred. Plus, I had to put someone in between the two former Huskers.
5. Thunder Collins
And now we get to the real scumbags. This former Husker running back is currently serving a life sentence for murdering one man and seriously injuring another in what prosecutors described as a "drug deal gone bad." Plus, he played for Nebraska.
As the old Jim Rome axiom goes, "you must smack your own." So while I take a certain joy in rehashing the wrongs of former Nebraska Cornhuskers, I have to add a former Colorado Buffalo to this list as well. Carruth is currently serving time for conspiracy to commit 1st degree murder, after paying a friend to murder his then-girlfriend, who also happened to be eight months pregnant with his child. Miraculously, his son was delivered via C-section, but the mother died of her injuries a month later. At least he waited until after he left CU to show his true colors, but he's still a scumbag.
3. Michael Vick
Is killing dogs really worse than killing the mother of your unborn child? No, but Carruth got nearly 20 years for his crime. Vick was out of prison in less than two years and is now making millions again as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. It's enough to make you wish that Lawrence Taylor would come out of retirement for one more coke-fueled game just to snap Vick's leg in half, a la Joe Theisman.
As appalling as it is that Vick only got 21 months for killing dogs, it pales in comparison to Simpson getting off scot-free after killing his ex-wife and a waiter. He's currently serving time on convictions of kidnapping and armed robbery, but let's face it, he should've already gone to the gas chamber by now.
Granted, Sandusky has yet to be convicted of any crimes, but if the multiple allegation of child rape levied against him hold up, he has more than earned his spot at the top of this list. Now you might be wondering if child rape is really worse than premeditated murder. After all, at least the kids are still alive, right? Well, I just keep going back to Chris Rock's take on OJ Simpson: "So you gotta look at OJ's situation. He's paying $25,000 a month in alimony, got another man driving around in his car and fucking his wife in a house he's still paying the mortgage on. Now I'm not saying he should have killed her... but I understand." And therein lies the difference. While what OJ did was reprehensible, it is understandable, at least on some level. The crimes Sandusky has been accused of are so unfathomably sick and wrong that nobody can relate.
[Caveat and full disclosure: I was born in Denver and have been a Broncos fan my whole life. Just as I still love my Dylan-worshipping best friend, I also still want the Broncos -- and, by extension, Tebow -- to do well, despite their respective Dyan and Jesus obsessions. If you happen to be a Raiders, Chiefs or Chargers fan, or already hated the Broncos before Tebow got there, then you have a perfectly valid reason for hating Tebow. By all means, hate on.]