NEW YORK -- Pam and Bob Tebow sat in the Hard Rock Café after their son hoisted the most prized individual award in all of sports with glazed looks in their eyes. There was pride, there was joy, there was relief, but most of all it seemed like there was a peace with the situation at hand.
What impressed Tim Tebow’s parents the most was the acceptance speech that he gave just an hour earlier across the street in front of a nationally televised audience. Poised as always, Tebow recognized his family, his coaches past and present and recognized his teammates by name. The speech was unprepared, but just like always, Tebow delivered like he has on the gridiron for the Florida Gators all season long.
“He did not have a speech prepared,” Pam Tebow said. “There’s no way that he prepared that. He’s been so busy. If you prepare an acceptance speech then you know it’s coming, but he didn’t know it was coming.”
“I offered to help him write one, but we didn’t have time,” Bob Tebow said. “It was a great speech. I was impressed like I always am. He does a great job answering questions.”
The entire Tebow family made the trip to New York. Most of them coming from Florida, and Tim’s sister, Christy, was even able to catch a last minute flight from the Philippines to join her baby brother for his biggest night. Win or lose, Tebow was going to get to share the moment with his closest of friends and family.
“We have lots of friends here in New York and all of our family is here,” Pam Tebow said. “His high school coach and lots of people, so many people that are friends of Timmy’s, friends of our kids, friends of ours.”
After meeting the media at the Hard Rock, Tebow and his family panned to celebrate. But if someone else’s name was pulled out of the envelope at 8:50 p.m. on Saturday night, Tebow’s father said it would have been even a bigger reason to party.
“I met Lou Hotlz’s son at a playoff game at Nease last week in Daytona, and he said that his dad told him when he was coaching at Notre Dame and had a Heisman winner that he went to New York with him not in case he won, but in case he lost,” Bob Tebow said. “I thought that was really good. We had already planned to have a party win or lose, but we would especially have a party if he lost.”
The Tebows raised their son on a small farm just outside of Jacksonville and taught all their kids the value of hard work and respect for others. Bob Tebow, who runs a Christian missionary in the Philippines, exposed Tim at an early age to doing work for others.
“I told Timmy last week, I don’t care if you win the Heisman or don’t win the Heisman, you’re still the same person and how you treat people is who you are,” Bob Tebow said. “The kindness that you show people is who you are. It doesn’t matter whether the world gives you a Heisman or not.”
When Tebow’s football playing days are done, he’s expressed interest in taking over the family business and working in the Philippines. The humility he showed in winning the Heisman was maybe just another step towards his future.
“There’s lots of work to be done,” Bob Tebow said. “We would hand it to him no doubt. You don’t have to be a quarterback to do what I do on the mission field. But he’s prepared a lot to do the work that I do.”
“I’m sure this is part of God’s plan for his life to prepare him for something,” he added. “For what, I don’t know. I’m not the omniscient God of the universe, so I don’t know. I’m just a dad trying to do the dad thing and prepare my kids to do the right things.”
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski