(Photo: NBC/Lloyd Bishop)
Tim Tebow appeared on NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" early Thursday morning and revealed that he is somewhat flattered by the "Tebowing" trend that became so popular over the course of this NFL season.
When the 24-year-old Denver Broncos quarterback was asked what he thought of the trend, he said, "I'm not sure, but I gotta believe that I'm probably not the first athlete to get on a knee and pray...But also, on the other hand, the greatest form of flattery is...imitating somebody."
Tebowing – the act of getting down on one knee and praying in public – first became popular after cameras caught Tebow praying on the sidelines near the end of a game against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 23. Of all the Tebowing photos that are now floating around the Internet, though, there was one person in particular who caught the Christian athlete's attention.
Joey Norris, a boy who is fighting cancer, sent Tebow a Twitter message that said, "I'm Tebowing while Chemoing." In response, Tebow flew Norris out to a Broncos game.
"A lot of cool things happened, but that was one of the coolest to be able to spend time with that kid," Tebow told Fallon.
Fallon thanked Tebow for his many fourth-quarter comebacks and making the 2011-2012 NFL season exciting to watch. Tebow gave credit to the entire Broncos team, however, as he has done time and time again, saying that he was proud to be part of a team that "showed so much character."
"As a team I think we all believed that, you know, no matter where we're at, no matter...what's happening, no matter how many times we got knocked down we're going to keep getting up," said Tebow.
The quarterback also displayed his sense of humor during the interview. In January, Fallon portrayed a character called "Tebowie" – a cross between musician David Bowie and Tebow – on the show. While wearing a mullet wig, football shoulder pads and face paint, Fallon used the melody to Bowie's hit song "Space Oddity" and changed the lyrics to poke fun at both Tebow's play and his faith.
During Thursday's interview, Fallon stated that he never meant for the song to be offensive, but Tebow said he had one complaint about it.
"The only thing that was kind of messed up about it was, I mean, you were a little bit off-tune and a little pitchy," said Tebow, which brought about a roar of laughter from the audience.
Tebow also said he would be busy this offseason doing work with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and his own organization, the Tim Tebow Foundation, which is currently building a hospital in the Philippines. The hospital is being constructed on the island nation where Tebow was born in 1987 with the help of CURE International.
At the end of the segment, Fallon had Tebow autograph a rolled-up jersey to give to an audience member. Instead of throwing it into the crowd, however, Tebow was given a t-shirt cannon to launch it into the upper balcony of the theater.
For most of the NFL season, Tebow's critics have said he is inaccurate as a passer, and his throwing technique is poor. Taking a jab at himself, Tebow said he would use the cannon to launch the shirt because, "I'm still trying to work on my motion."
Thursday's episode of "Late Night" was filmed in Indianapolis, the location of Super Bowl XLVI. Tebow led his team to one playoff win this season before the Broncos fell to the New England Patriots, who will be contending for the title on Sunday against the New York Giants.