The Florida Gators sophomore quarterback had to pause a moment to consider the question, posed by an eager reporter after the presentation ceremony Saturday in New York.
“Tim, how does it feel to join an illustrious cast of football players, a list that starts with Chicago’s Jay Berwanger all the way back in 1935 and now includes the great Tim Tebow of Florida?”
shitting kidding me?” Tebow said before breaking into a surge of unscripted laughter.
“Berwanger? What’s a Berwanger? C’mon, that’s a made-up name. … Dude, I’ve done missionary work in the Philippines, I’ve preached the gospel to convicted murderers and rapists, met a lot of weird people, but I’ve never heard a name like that ….
“Berwanger … really? … Wow. I really thought you guys were messing with me.”
Tebow, who threw for 29 touchdowns and rushed for 22 more before edging Arkansas running back Darren McFadden in the voting to become the first underclassman to win a Heisman Trophy, finally succeeded in composing himself.
“To be honest, I just want to say that I am fortunate, very fortunate for a lot of things,” he said. “God truly blessed me and this only makes it sweeter.
“God has blessed me with many gifts. But most of all, I thank God, I mean really thank Him, that he gave me a good American name, and not a ridiculous one like Berwanger.
“I mean, can you imagine how dorky I’d be with a name like that?
“I’m sorry, but if you want to know the truth, that just would not be cool at all. Especially in Gainesville. What would the chicks say?
“Berwanger? You could’ve fooled me. That’s surreal.”