He may be just a benchwarmer on the mediocre New York Jets, and Monday-morning quarterbacks endlessly criticize his throwing mechanics. But to Gov. Rick Scott, football star Tim Tebow is "an inspiration" who's fully deserving to be the 67th person ever bestowed with the high honor of a "Great Floridian."
The governor planned to present the award Friday afternoon to Tebow, a former Florida Gator star, in a ceremony at the Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, the city where Tebow's high school gridiron heroics made him a national sensation. (For this photo opportunity, one wonders, who's the greater beneficiary, Tebow or the re-election minded governor?)
Speaking to reporters Friday in Broward, Scott explained why he nominated the 25-year-old Tebow for the award: "Tim Tebow is a great Floridian. If you look at what he's done, he's inspired young children to stay in school, to do well in school, to live a great life. He's an inspiration."
Great Floridians are chosen by the Secretary of State Ken Detzner from a nominating committee that also included Scott, three Cabinet members, the Senate president and House speaker.
Recent award winners have included retired FSU football coach Bobby Bowden, former Gov. Jeb Bush, inventor Thomas Edison (of Fort Myers), former Sen. Bob Graham and environmental leader Nathaniel Reed. To date, 66 people have been given the honor since the award was created in 1981.
-- Steve Bousquet