So this weekend was the NFL Draft. I am a Redskins fan and I also root for the Colts and the Vikings (based on where I used to live and where I live now). So I followed all three of those teams along with some of my favorite college players to see what happened.
If you are unfamliar with the NFL Draft, here is how it works. Each NFL team gets assigned a draft number based on how they did in the previous season. The worst teams pick first and the better teams pick later. Then the draft is divided into rounds and each team, one at a time, selects a player from the college ranks to join their team.
The teams make their picks based on a number of criteria. Obviously, they have watched how those players did in their college careers. They also have an event, called the NFL Combine, each year before the draft where the players get measured and weighed and then perform a number of drills that are meant to measure their speed and strength and other physical factors. There are also other criteria like IQ tests and personal interviews that go into the mix and eventually each team ranks the players available based on how they have interpreted all those criteria.
Going into the draft the player that caused the most debate was QB Tim Tebow from Florida. First of all let me just say that I have always liked Tebow. He is a strong Christian man with excellent character. There was a phenomenal interview with him in ESPN the magazine back in the fall of 2009, where he basically shared the plan of salvation and they included it in the article.
The reason there was so much debate about Tebow before the draft was because although he is considered one of the greatest college football players to have ever played the game, some question whether or not he will be able to transfer that success into the NFL. His detractors question his size, his physical ability, his throwing style, and the offense that he played in during college.
The highlight of the NFL Draft this weekend was the selection of Tim Tebow by the Denver Broncos with the 25th pick of the first round. Immediately the debate raged on by the announcers who said that he didn’t have what it takes to be a great NFL quarterback. But the Broncos chose not to focus on his physical qualities, and his throwing motion and instead focused on his leadership ability, his strong work ethic, his character, and his passion and commitment for the game. And for that reason, they chose him earlier than most experts had him going.
It remains to be seen as to whether Tebow ends up having a great NFL career or not, but this got me thinking about something the Bible tells us about how God looks at man. In the book of I Samuel, chapter 16, we see that God has told Samuel to go and annoint a new king for Israel. He sends him to Bethlehem to the home of Jesse. When Samuel arrives Jesse has his sons parade in front of him one at a time. The first son comes up and he is a great physical specimen, and Samuel assumes that this is who the Lord wants him to anoint, but God tells Samuel this in verse 7, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
God then leads Samuel to pass on all of Jesse’s sons until he arrives at David, who is the youngest brother and God chooses him to be the king of Israel. And of course David turns out to be, “a man after God’s own heart” and a great king of Israel.
I am not saying that the Broncos measured Tebow the way that God measured David, but I do appreciate they way they focused more on his heart and character, than on his physical characteristics. Maybe if we had more teams focusing on heart and character when drafting players we might have less issues like what we see happening with Ben Roethlisburger, and so many other professional athletes these days.