The folks at Focus on the Family aren't the only ones who think drafting Tim Tebow was good for the Broncos and good for America. His fans look on him -- or maybe we should say Him -- with absolute reverence. So how will they deal with the irreverence of the Tebros, an ongoing video send-up of their faith in the higher power of the former Florida QB?
And what will they think when they find out one of the Tebros went to Florida State?
Tebros Preston and Randall are played by Jason Garcia and John Hett of OpenSports.com, a fantasy-and-more sports website; it's currently developing a project with Fox Sports that "will integrate fantasy football in real time," Hett says.
OpenSports.com just happens to be based in Deerfield Beach, Florida -- prime Tebow country. So it was only natural that when the boys set about conceiving a comedy routine, they'd think of the Gator Savior.
"I came across an old Saturday Night Live skit of Ditka super-fans," says Garcia, referencing the "Da Bears" routine that featured Cheers vet George Wendt. "And once Tebow was drafted by the Broncos, it was a no-brainer, because there are a lot of Tebow lovers and Tebow haters out there."
The Tebros logo.
Stuck somewhere between these extremes is Hett. He's a lifelong Broncos fan -- his dad grew up in Colorado, and his parents met here -- but he attended Florida State. As a result, he says, with tongue wedged in cheek, "I have this inner struggle to really embrace and understand the Tebow fascination.
"I'm an avid Florida State fan," Hett goes on. "So being around the past four years has been one of the hardest things ever. I had a front-row seat to watch him play lights-out against my favorite college football team. And yet, you watch this guy and he's so good, and he gets all this attention -- and he's squeaky clean. It's a little sacrilegious of me to look at him from the other side, so I guess it's kind of a guilty pleasure."
Unlike Hett, Garcia's not a longtime Floridian. "I've only been here for two years, but I quickly became friends with a lot of Gators, and I bumped into a lot of Tebow haters down here, too. He's such a polarizing figure. But I had a chance to interview him at the national championship game against Oklahoma, and he's a great character guy. The kid everyone wants their daughter to marry -- and a great guy to emulate with the Tebros."
Still, there were some obstacles to overcome. In the skits, Garcia wears a Florida uniform "because there was no way John was putting that on," he says (Hett wears a Broncos jersey). And Hett also refused to do the famous Gator chomp -- so for their first installment, they developed "the Bromp," which combines the chomp with a lasso-type bronco-roping move.
Tebros Randall and Preston with a famous friend.
Also featured in the Tebros's debut: the modeling of a Tebow thong and Randall's confession that he's still a virgin, even though he's been married for a year. He's decided that once the proudly chaste Tebow punches through, that's when he'll score, too.
The first episode launched last week, with its successor, featuring a mock trip to the Philippines, where Tebow was born, hitting the Internet yesterday. In both, they try to strike a balance between celebrating and needling Tebow fandom.
"We don't want to offend," Hett stresses.
"Think back to the Ditka skit," Garcia advises. "The parody they did of those sausage-eating, beer-drinking Chicago guys poked fun at the Chicago lifestyle -- but it was embraced by those people, too, because it was so over the top and funny."
The Tebros plan a trek to Jacksonville for the Broncos' season opener, and they'd like to keep the gag going for the long haul. But what if Tebow turns out to be a bust?
"If you were to ask me or Jason, we'd say we'll take it episode by episode -- one game at a time," Hett says. "But for Randall and Preston, it doesn't matter if Tebow is playing in the NFL, the CFL, NFL Europe or whatever. No matter what, Tebow will never fail."
"Our goal is to get through the season," Garcia maintains. "Even if he doesn't play that much, or even if he fizzles out."
"But I don't think he's going to fizzle out," Hett interjects.
Bet it hurt him to say that. Page down to see both Tebros episodes.
Episode one: The Bromp.
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Page down to see episode two:
Episode two: Mission to the Philippines.