You cannot be everything to everyone. That is why Tim Tebow's decision to decline an invite to the Playboy All-American team is both frustrating as it is noble. Frustrating that he spurned a publication that has led the way in protecting the First Amendment; noble that he is so aware of his influence that he seems to be thinking how many fans would be disappointed over him versus how many would be pleased.
At this point, Tebow is like a great politician, artfully crafting his image and avoiding any missteps. As engaging as he can be in interviews, there is nothing new. He loves God and the Florida Gators. We don't really know what he thinks or what drives him. There is nothing wrong with that and maybe that will come with age as he opens up more. Instead, we have to look for clues. Declining Playboy is one of those clues.
Prior to his Heisman and National Championship winning season, Danny Wuerffel also declined Playboy.
''It was a very simple thing for me, really,'' Wuerffel said. ''No big deal at all. The things I'm trying to do with my life, to glorify God, that just wasn't a way for me to do it.''
In a year when Tebow could win a second Heisman and a second national title, the decision to copy Wuerffel is proof Tebow is sticking around for a senior season.
It is not about the numbers for Tebow, even if he does catch Chris Leak and Wuerffel's records. It's about becoming to fans what Wuerffel was to a previous generation. Just like Tebow had a poster of Wuerffel in his bedroom as a kid, so do thousands of kids now have a Tebow poster.
Tebow is what Derek Jeter is to the Yankees and Albert Pujols to the Cardinals; a link to the past and the benchmark of class and elegance. (I'm not exaggerating there. There is elegance to jumping in the air, pausing and then throwing a touchdown.) Just as those players are linked to Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial, Tebow has taken the torch from Wuerffel. Tebow looks like he will be running with it for two more seasons.