Tim Tebow Recalls Lesson from Devastating Loss: Jesus, Not Football, Is ‘My Identity’

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Sports broadcaster and author Tim Tebow says his Christian faith has helped give him the right perspective on life, including during one of the biggest losses of his collegiate career at the end of his senior year.

The former Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner acknowledged that a 2009 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game still stings because it prevented the Gators from competing for another national title. Tebow made the remarks on his Instagram account over the weekend alongside a photo of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium marking the years of Florida’s national titles: 1996, 2006 and 2008.

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Tebow won national titles in 2006 and 2008 and claimed the Heisman Trophy in 2007.

Alabama dominated Florida 32-13 in 2009, spoiling the end of his senior season. The loss may have prevented him from winning another Heisman. Alabama’s Mark Ingram claimed the SEC Championship Game MVP and won the Heisman the next weekend.

“It’s hard to feel like there shouldn’t be another number up there – 96, ‘06, ‘08 and 2009,” Tebow wrote. “As athletes, sometimes it’s the missed opportunities, the mistakes, and the losses that stick with you more than all the wins and great plays. Sometimes they truly hurt more. I spent so much of my life striving for wins and agonizing over losses, not that there is anything wrong with wanting to win a game. But when that game becomes your identity, you can’t help but ride the rollercoaster of all the highs and lows.”

Tebow, an outspoken Christian, said faith – not football or anything else – forms his identity.

“Over the years and thanks to many mistakes, I’ve had the chance to learn and constantly be reminded that my identity is so much more than a game! I’m grateful, through God’s grace, our identity doesn’t have to be a roller coaster, but we get the firm foundation of who He is and what He’s done for us on the cross,” Tebow said. “We aren’t defined by our mistakes or our scars. We’re defined by His.”

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Rich Polk/Stringer

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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