Tim Tebow envy: Do his biggest bashers secretly want to be just like him?

Football fans are likely to get a full dose of Tim Tebow in Thursday night's exhibition closer against the Minnesota Vikings, giving him the best chance yet to beat out Brady Quinn for the Broncos' backup quarterback position -- although, at this point, Johnny Unitas's corpse could probably outplay Quinn. Even so, Bleacher Report's April Wall has a message for all those viewers who'll be rooting against him: Deep inside, people who hate Tebow the hardest want to be him the most.

That's the supposition at the heart of "Tim Tebow Condition: Symptoms, Constant Hating On Tebow,."

Throughout, Wall marvels at the vituperative assaults Tebow inspires. In her view, "He isn't a god. He isn't an angel. He isn't even the savior of all things football. But what he is, however, is one of the most genuine, passionate football players of this generation, perhaps of all time."

So why do haters ridicule his faith, his crying jab at the end of the Florida-Alabama game, his professed virginity and more? Here's her best guess:

I say what we have here is a clear case of Tebow envy. Could it be that those that bash him the hardest, secretly want to be him the most? Is it possible that all those Monday morning quarterbacks sitting around trashing Tebow on their blogs could inwardly be longing for his fame, his success, even his unflinching faith in Jesus Christ? Nah, can't be that. Has to be the fact that this young guy is just so irritating he deserves all the fury and ire we can throw at him.

To such bile merchants, she has this to say:

Who cares if you like Tim Tebow personally? Who cares if you root for the Denver Broncos? But if you call yourself a fan of football shouldn't you at least give this guy a shot at proving himself on the field before you persecute him for his personal life off the field? I say yes, but maybe that's because I don't suffer from Tebow envy.

Which makes her the perfect type of person to come to his defense. Still, his best shot at silencing critics is to play well on Thursday.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts