(Photo: Reuters/Chris Keane)
International martial arts champion and conservative actor Chuck Norris wrote a 1500-word essay pubished this week in wnd.com praising former New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow. Norris compared Tebow to himself and suggested the Jacksonville Jaguars "give Tim the opportunity to excel as a quarterback and usher them to Super Bowl status."
In late April, the Jaguars announced they would not consider Tebow. "The Jacksonville Jaguars' plans do not include Tim Tebow," wrote Jim Woodcock, spokesman for team owner Shad Khan, in an email to the Florida Times-Union.
The immensely popular Tebow currently waits in limbo, due to the Jaguars' decision. Nevertheless, Norris expressed great confidence in the football star. "With his skillset, confidence, marketability and Christian faith, his future is rock solid and good as gold – on and off the field," the actor wrote.
Norris also quoted Tebow's expression of his faith in God: "I don't know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future."
On Forbes' list of 2013 Most Influential Athletes, Tebow secured the top spot, and only three other NFL players made the list. Norris called him "a natural-born leader, an amazingly gifted football player, an inspiration to his team and the possessor of intense determination and strategy to bring any team to victory – no matter what the odds."
Norris recounted the story of Tebow's tremendous fourth-quarter successes in 2011 with the Denver Broncos. With enthusiasm, he asked, "what sportsman can ever forget how that amazing rookie quarterback then led the Broncos to six wins in their next seven games and into the playoffs, beating the highly favored Pittsburgh Steelers in a wild-card game?"
During that game, Tebow threw a "perfect" 80-yard pass in overtime to win 29-23. "It was the Broncos' first playoff victory in six years," Norris recalled.
"I have been following Tim since he became a quarterback for the Florida Gators," the actor wrote, "and I have never seen a more determined and inspiring athlete play the game of football." As quarterback for the University of Florida, he led the Gators to a 13-1 record and was named the offensive MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the national championship game.
Tebow reminded Norris of his own martial arts tournaments. "I would spar with my black belts in class, and sometimes they would outscore me," he explains. "Yet in tournaments, I would defeat them." Indeed, Norris' prowess led him to establish a whole new martial art style – Chun Kuk Do.
Similarly, Tebow knows when to turn on his "turbo." "If a quarterback came through with a clutch, final-minute victory, he pulled a 'Tebow,'" Norris writes, quoting the sentence as a famous aphorism. "And that is why he is the ultimate clutch player."
But Tebow cannot perform without a team. "No warrior can prove his worth if kept from the battlefield," Norris wrote, expressing his belief that "we have just begun to see what Tim is capable of doing."
Norris urged the Jaguars to pick Tebow for reasons besides his football excellence. "Tim is from Florida, where he bears a victor legacy and an extensive fan base, to boot, from his days with the Gators," the actor wrote.
"Whatever you would pay Tebow would be recouped tenfold by the increase in attendance and fan base," he added, promising that he himself would attend Tebow's games, along with thousands of others.
Norris also appealed to Khan's trailblazer image. The first minority owner of an NFL franchise, Khan often cites Martin Luther King Jr.'s work "as a contributing factor to his success." To Khan, Norris addressed Dr. King's words: "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right."
Lastly, Norris invoked his own athletic success to defend Tebow. "I have been an athlete all my life, being a six-time undefeated world middle weight champion in the martial arts, and I know a winner when I see one," he wrote. "Tim Tebow is a winner – plain and simple!"