(Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten)
Tim Tebow is a good guy, and now he has the award to prove it.
On Tuesday the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) named the New York Jets quarterback the winner of the 2012 Good Guy Award, which "is given to a NFL Player for his qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs."
It's no secret that Tebow can handle pressure on the field, as he demonstrated after becoming the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 2011 when the team had only a 1-4 record. Not only did he eventually lead his team to an AFC West title, but on five separate occasions he helped them to mount fourth quarter comebacks for wins.
Still, the PFWA award was given to him not for his clutch on-the-field performance, but for the way he handled the intense media scrutiny he was under in the 2011 season.
"I think Tim handled himself well all season long with the kind of attention few players are asked to contend with at any point in their careers," said PFWA Second Vice-President Jeff Legwold, who covered Tebow for the Denver Post, in a statement.
"Tim not only dealt with the traditional media obligations both locally and nationally, but he was also the focus of many non-traditional media outlets, both from in Denver and across the country. And while he didn't always let folks peer into his innermost thoughts, he did always conduct himself professionally, with a great deal of respect for both the process and the people who take part in it."
Tebow, who was traded to the Jets this offseason, is the fifth consecutive quarterback to receive the honor after Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers won it in 2011. Jerome Bettis, former Pittsburgh Steelers halfback, was the first to win the award in 2005.
The first major off-field award given by the PFWA this week was the George Halas Award, which is "given to a NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed." The award was given to New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft because of his role in the collective bargaining negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Players Association while his late wife, Myra, was battling cancer.
"A special thanks to Myra Kraft, who even in her weakest moment, allowed Mr. Kraft to come and fight this out, and without him this deal does not get done," Jeff Saturday, center for the Green Bay Packers, said about the honor, in a statement. "I don't want to be climactic in any way, but he is a man who helped us save football, and we are so gracious for that. We're gracious for his family and for the opportunity he presented to get this deal done."
The PFWA will announce three other major off-field awards this week, including the Rozelle Award for top public relations staff, the Horrigan Award for the league or club official who most helps the media and the McCann Award for the most distinguished reporter.