SITUATIONS MATTER author Sam Sommers takes on the phenomenon that is Tim Tebow.
We’re all amateur psychologists. We spend countless hours trying to “read people” or pondering those profound yet ethereal mysteries of human nature. Like happiness. Love. The meaning of life.
In analyzing our social universe we prefer a simple narrative, reducing the actions of those around us to a straightforward X causes Y explanation. As spelled out in my new book, one of our favorites is the often dubious assumption that other people’s behavior reflects stable predisposition or personality type.
But let’s get back to Tim Tebow. Because in case you haven’t heard, all roads now lead to Tebow, the formerly third-string but now second-coming quarterback of the Denver Broncos. He’s a dominant presence on sports TV, talk radio, and even youtube. And it is a remarkable story how the Broncos have gone from 1-4 before he came off the bench to 8-5 today, with a series of consecutive last-minute wins.
But as with everyone else around us, with Tebow we’re too wedded to the simple narrative. Depending on your religious affiliation, Tim Tebow is either magic or miraculous (as in, the Lord giveth and the Lord pusheth Marion Barber out of bounds on 3rd down to stop the clock and give Denver one last possession). I actually heard sports analysts describe the latest win over the Bears as transcending analysis, which is a bit like your financial advisor telling you your investment question transcends advice.
The Broncos have had a heck of a run this past 6 weeks. But there isn’t just one simple reason for their success at the end of these games. They have a great defense. They’re running an unconventional offense that seems to wear opponents down by the 4th quarter. There’s luck too. Real life can be complicated that way.
Still, the Tebow as deity story sucks us in. Which explains why even a secular Jew like me is adding a few Hail Marys for him tonight. Hey, I’m a Jets fan, and Timmy’s got the Patriots in town this Sunday.
Sam Sommers is the author of SITUATIONS MATTER: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World, on-sale from Riverhead Books December 29.
To purchase SITUATIONS MATTER: