January 11, 2012
Tebow 3:16 -- Jesus just whipped your ass!
By MATTHEW ASHER - SLAM! Wrestling
All of the great storylines professional wrestling has produced over the years pale in comparison to one of the wildest sports tales ever. In an industry where brothers fight each other inside a steel cage, oldtimers well past their primes defeat younger and more talented kids, and employees actually have to kiss their boss' ass just to keep their job, even the writers for wrestling would roll their eyes if someone pitched them the tale of the 2011 Denver Broncos and claim that nobody would believe this was possible.
As a lifelong Bronco fan, I've been suffering for the better part of a decade since Denver won Super Bowl XXXIII. With only a handful of playoff appearances and just one victory during the playoffs since quarterback John Elway retired, Bronco fans were thrilled when quarterback Tim Tebow began his six-game winning streak to save the Broncos season. Yet all was not well for Tebow. Going 7-4 as a starter, critics continued to say that all the teams Tebow beat were bottom feeders. Three of the teams that beat Tebow made the playoffs this year. And just like Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania 22, nobody thought the Broncos would beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night on pay-per... er, network TV. But that's exactly what Denver did, on the first play of overtime even. When the game was over, the statistics Tebow produced had me convinced that some person had orchestrated this whole thing.
Looking back on the season, I can't help but to compare this Broncos season with a wrestling storyline, replacing Tim Tebow for John Cena. This weekend, Denver faces the heelish New England Patriots, a team complete with an evil manager who has resorted to cheating to win -- yes, Bill Belichick is pro football's version of Bobby "The Brain" Heenan! Just like in any good story, these two teams met earlier this year, foreshadowing what was to come. Although the babyface Broncos put up a valiant effort, those bad ol' Pats ended up destroying Denver. Now it's time for the moneymaking rematch and if Denver wins in the same fashion as against Pittsburg, I will be convinced that Tebow really is the John Cena of the NFL.
Like Cena, Tebow is one of the most polarizing athletes ever. People love him while others hate him over his Christian beliefs. In a way, he seems too good to be true. During Cena's run as the WWE champ, many fans believed that Cena didn't possess the wrestling skills to be the top guy. The same can be said for Tebow and his odd throwing mechanics. Yet, both men found a way to utilize their talents. Like Cena, Tebow is never one to shy away from improving the community. While Cena has his Make-a-Wish group, Tebow spends his off time with other terminally ill people.
Just like the CENation, Bronco fans this year have been submitted to ridiculous amounts of heckling for believing in the leader of their group. Every time Tebow needed a miracle to win a game, all I would hear the next day was how much Tebow sucks because he never is leading until the end of the game. I find this odd because they are still proving my point that he's at least a good quarterback. Those of you who remember the first ever Hell in a Cell with the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels know what I'm talking about. For nearly 30 minutes, Undertaker completely demolished HBK. Yet the match ends with Kane knocking ‘Taker unconscious and a barely conscious Shawn Michaels covering him for the win. Did it matter that Michaels was losing the whole time? No. He won at the end, regardless of how it happened. The simple fact is that Tebow wins when he needs to. An ugly win is still a win. His winning attitude has stemmed throughout his whole life, but the nation was unaware of it until his days playing football in college.
At the University of Florida, Tebow occasionally wore eye black strips with John 3:16 written on them. What happens at the end of the Pittsburg game? Tebow torched the Steelers' top-rated pass defense for 316 yards and an NFL playoff record 31.6 yards per completion. (You can't make this stuff up!) Given Tebow's devout religious identity, as the son of Baptist missionaries, it seems like fate these numbers he quotes so often would now present themselves as milestones in his young professional career.
It was so crazy that even "Stone Cold" Steve Austin took note of the accomplishment. Austin commented to TMZ that if Tebow can repeat his performance of the Mile High Miracle against the New England Patriots, Austin will hand over ownership of the Biblical numbers. Depending on how January 14th turns out, there may be no more Austin 3:16, but instead Tebow 3:16.
"Austin 3:16 still rules" said Austin, who added, "If Tebow can throw for 316 yards again this weekend then hell, he can have the numbers and I'll have no problem with it."
Harkening back to Austin's seminal moment, it was June 23, 1996, in Milwaukee, WI when Austin defeated Jake "The Snake" Roberts to be named the newest King of the Ring. Before the coronation ceremony began, Austin changed the face of professional wrestling with three small sentences.
"You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!"
With that utterance, Austin ushered in the Attitude Era for the World Wrestling Federation. For more than 15 years, 3:16 has been synonymous with the Texas Rattlesnake. But what would Tebow 3:16 say? My guess is less ass-whipping references, unless Jesus is doing the butt kicking. I would love Tebow to go in front of the media and simply say "Tebow 3:16 says Jesus and I just whipped your asses!" Of course, I doubt that will ever happen. Regardless of the outcome of the Denver-New England game, Austin is fine if Tebow can repeat his success. "A guy named John was using it before me," Austin said. "If Tebow can do it again, more power to him!" It should be noted that while Austin is not a Denver Broncos fan, he does believe that Tebow is an excellent role model for children.
Regardless of how you personally feel about Tebow, you have to respect his dedication to his craft and his willingness to put his body in serious danger because that's what the fans paid money to see. I wonder how Tebow would fare as a pro wrestler. One thing's for sure: the writers would have the easiest time creating Tebow's story. Simply following his real life experiences would be enough.
One guess who Matthew Asher, a native of Atlanta, is cheering for when the Patriots stare down the Broncos.