JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Who is Tim Tebow?

In following (and, truthfully, enjoying) Tebow Magic over the past bunch of weeks, I’m torn over who, exactly, the quarterback is—and will ultimately be. Here are my three categories:

1. Jackie Robinson Cooper—In The Kid from Left Field, Gary Coleman plays “J.R. Cooper,” a little kid who becomes the San Diego Padres’ good-luck charm and ultimately (if memory serves) manager. He has no real skill or ability, but players believe in him. And, gosh heck, you gotta believe!

2. Mark Fidrych: In the magical year of 1976, the Detroit Tigers rookie went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA, winning AL Rookie of the Year, as well as the hearts of fans everywhere. The Bird was, simply, a quirky, goofy guy who came off as the average man. He talked to baseballs, scratched up the mound, celebrated like a fan. He was, well, you. Then—POP!—it ended. Injuries, ineffectivess. But it was one magical little run.

3. Steve Young: The BYU product, as everyone knows, could run, could throw (lefty!), could lead the troops. He goes down as one of the great quarterbacks in NFL history, but started as a mere curiosity, a la Tebow. The man just needed a chance to show what he could do.

So who is Tim Tebow?

My guess …