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CBSSports.com National Columnist

Don't try to grasp Tebow mania, just jump on board and enjoy the ride


I'm enjoying Tim Tebow. Me and lots of people like me. We're enjoying this story as it unfolds, crazily and then more crazily, right before our eyes. We're enjoying it, and we're not going to listen to you.

Yeah, you.

You know who you are. You're on my Twitter feed and you're on the message boards below the story from Denver's ridiculous overtime victory Sunday against Chicago. You're everywhere, and although there are millions of you, you're the same person.

You're the smartest guy in the room, the guy who knows Tim Tebow isn't really winning these games. For months you've known he couldn't hack it in the NFL, so you watch with a smirk as people like me get on board with the Tebow story.

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But not you. Getting on board with the Tebow story? You? Never. That would be an admission that you were wrong when you decided Tebow couldn't play in the NFL.

But since we're speaking so bluntly, let's be even more honest: You never would have come up with that idea on your own. Not when Tebow was winning one Heisman Trophy and two national championships and making Florida Gators fans go nuts after his junior season when he announced he was skipping the NFL Draft to return for his senior season.

Before someone with a lot more football knowledge than you decided Tebow couldn't make it in the league, you had no idea. But then Merril Hoge or Boomer Esiason or someone like that decided Tebow couldn't hack it, and you decided you liked that idea.

So you adopted it as your own.

And here you are, refusing to give in, because giving in would be a sign of weakness or stupidity. And you're damn sure not weak or stupid. So instead you cling to your story, that Tebow can't play in the NFL, even as he improves to 7-1 as a starter.

Because you're not weak or stupid.

Let me tell you a little bit about you, and if this doesn't scare you, nothing will: You're me, and nobody does "smartest guy in the room" worse than I do. And I was bad six weeks ago -- right when this Tebow phenomenon was starting, back when I was still convinced the world was flat -- when I wrote an entire story chewing out the most ardent, the most unreasonable of Tebow's fans. I told them, "You roam the countryside looking for people to get mad at, and you lash out in ways that will only drive critics farther away from Tebow's side."

I stand by the crux of that story -- Tebow's most unreasonable fans do tend to push away folks -- but now I'm starting to understand why they get so damn crazy. Complete disclosure? I got damn crazy the first time I wrote this story, the one you're reading right now, which I've toned down maybe 14 notches from the original version.

I wrote the original version Sunday night in the euphoria of watching Tebow guide the Broncos from a 10-0 deficit in the final five minutes to a 13-10 victory in overtime. That game was so preposterous, so Tebow, that I was screaming at my television as Matt Prater was lining up his 59-yard field goal at the end of regulation, and his 51-yarder in overtime. Had Prater missed either one of them, I might have thrown my TV through the window. But when he made them both, I sat down here to write about the joy of watching Tebow win that game, and about how the anti-Tebows among you tried to kill my joy.

You were on Twitter, telling me things like, "Tebow's not winning these games."

When I responded with a tweet saying, Tebow is the most interesting man in the world, you told me things like "Replace 'interesting' with 'lucky' and you've got it."

I mean, look. It's one thing to like this Tebow story so much that we like him too much. That's possible, and I'm not going to dispute it. The Broncos' defense is keeping that team in every single game. Other players are doing special things, most notably Matt Prater on Sunday with those two monster kicks.

But let us enjoy the ride, huh? And again, you know who you are. You know how some Christians put the sign of the fish on their car? You're the guy with the bumper sticker showing a four-legged sea creature eating the Jesus fish, or maybe just showing a four-legged fish whose body encloses the word "Darwin."

That's the kind of cruel-just-because personality that taunts strangers for daring to get swept up in something unexplainable -- and Lord knows you don't have to be a Christian to get swept up in the Tebow craze.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, has gone after Tebow's religious zealotry as hard as I have. This story from August about Tebow's faith made people so mad, they're still writing me, ripping me. And I get it. I meant what I wrote, but I get their anger.

But Tebow's popularity has gone way, way beyond his ideology. You know that Tebowing meme, where people around the globe started dropping to one knee and adopting his prayer pose? That was started by a Jewish dude from New York, and Jared Kleinstein started it out of admiration. He doesn't practice Tebow's religion, but he appreciates Tebow's play.

That's what all of us Tebow fans are doing. We have different reasons -- there are some who appreciate Tebow because they agree with his religion, just like there are some who like that he plays for the Broncos, or that he went to Florida -- but we all have the same theory on football in the NFL: A game with Tebow is fun.

We'll keep enjoying this season. We won't explain it, because we can't. Nor do we have to. Whatever Tebow is doing, and however he's doing it, it defies description.

Beauty usually does.

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for CBSSports.com. He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.

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