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Ken Burns’ ‘Tim Tebow: Legend of the Fall’

miller-article1Dear Ken Burns,

I’m sure you get ideas tossed at you left and right, but I have one that you must accept.

If you find this offer underneath all the others on your desk, at least give it a once-over.

It’s a documentary that will be a hit six or seven years before it even airs on PBS. From what I’ve read, it takes you that long to finish a series.

Now, I understand you’ve been honing your directing craft for nearly 30 years, and your list of award-winning films stretches as far as the width of the Grand Canyon.

Speaking of which, your latest masterpiece The National Parks: America’s Best Idea has kept me on the couch glued to the tube.
But, it’s football season and during this time, in the South, we love our college football. So having time for a 12-hour documentary is more than difficult to slide in between hut-huts and hikes.

I suggest trying your luck with a college football film. Since your 1994 work-of-art Baseball flourished, I think that a football-oriented one would thrive even more so.

And, don’t tell me that because you’re a native New Yorker that college football isn’t as important as baseball.

You can admit it to me privately if you wish, but college football reigns supreme.

To make a thoroughly enjoyable picture, I suggest that you focus all your research and time on one football player in particular.

Most people know him as Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow; others as Superman or Timmy.

His story practically writes itself. I bet right now you could get a solid nine-hour film out of this local Jacksonville legend.

Also, considering Saturday night’s injury to Tebow, it makes for an even more compelling storyline.

I can hear it now as Tom Hanks tells us: The superstar quarterback of the Florida Gators went down against the Kentucky Wildcats with a concussion only to return two weeks later against LSU, and eventually lead the Gators to a second consecutive national championship.

Plus, with your penchant for using photographs to enhance your stories, you couldn’t ask for a better Heisman Trophy montage than the one from Saturday night.

Incredible emotion could be extracted by going from a photo of Tebow getting sacked by Kentucky defensive end Taylor Wyndham, then Tebow hitting his head on offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert’s knee and finally lying motionless on the field at Commonwealth Stadium.

It’s nearly as captivating as when Tebow gave “the speech” after last year’s nail-biting loss to Ole Miss.

Beyond last Saturday night, the material to create an in-depth Tebow documentary is expansive.

Tebow was homeschooled and led his high school football team, the Nease Panthers, to a state title.

His recruitment by the University of Alabama and the University of Florida was highly publicized for months. We all know which university eventually won.

However, Tim Tebow is more than just football and amazing statistical numbers.

He’s almost like a national park himself. He encompasses the spirit and essence of college football.

Tebow is regarded as a leader on and off the field of play.

On it, he dismantles opponents with the vicious Gator spread offense. Off the field, Tebow tries to stay out of the limelight and give credit to his teammates and coaches.

Tebow is the ultimate team player. He embodies what a college athlete should be.

At all times, Tebow wears his Christian faith on his sleeve, and his eye black during Florida games.

And, we’ve all heard how Tebow has performed dozens of circumcisions in the Philippines, and has helped to support his family’s missionary work.

In addition to his enormous heart, supposedly Tebow puts fear in the eyes of former kickboxer Chuck Norris.

So, in my opinion, there is plenty of material for a phenomenal documentary on the 22-year-old Tebow.

In six years, he may even be an NFL quarterback with another Heisman trophy and national college championship title to his name.

I find Tebow’s story to be a feel-good one in a day and age where there are less and less motivating and enlightening stories.

If you decide to create Tim Tebow: The Definition of College Football, remember where you read it first.


Richard Miller
College football fan and sports columnist for The Jacksonville Observer


E-mail Richard Miller at richard.miller@jaxobserver.com.

Richard is also a radio broadcaster for Sporting News National Radio. He can be heard giving updates for Jaguars home games.

9 Responses »

  1. I'm sick to death of the hype about Tim Tebow........Enough already!!!!!

    The last thing in the world I would want to watch is a Tim Tebow movie by Ken Burns!!


    I am waiting for the "I Walked Toward the Bright Light" story. Tebow appeared dead and I feel for his parents having to see that.

    Being an avid FSU (now that they have finally won a game) we always wanted something to take him out of the game. Not hurt, just out of the game.

    He has now been elevated to a level of stardom that will not be surpassed in my lifetime. What a star as you say "LEGEND!"

    What was made perfectly clear and you know Urban noticed, with Tim Tebow, it will be "WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR" all over again.

    • What I meant to say is: With Tim Tebow leaving at the end of this year, it will be "Wait Until Next Year" all over again.

      Maybe they can convince him to go to Medical School and stay eligible another 8 years. The only Quarterback with 8 or 10 Heisman trophies.

  3. Sounds like we have a subliminally jealous 'Noles fan in the house. Paul relax, the Gators are not going to fade away. Our offensive attack will change when Brantey takes charge, much the same offense that won our 2nd National Championship (coached by Urban), but the strength and depth and talent will still be intact. Our defense follows suit. Perhaps a year to reload but with Urban at the helm, the Gators will always be a contender to win the BCS (which at this point is more than I can say for the 'Noles).

    See you on November 28th in The Swamp when once again YOU will say "Wait 'till next year".

  4. What a great story. Tebow is quite a player and leader of his team. It's absolutely fun to watch him play. And, seeing him laying on the field was quite a scare for all of his fans and well-wishers. There's no doubt he is a "legend."

    Heard you on 1320 AM at 5:45 on the drive home. We are holding you to your prediction that the Jags will win the next game. And, what's this talk about HOME games in Orlando. Come on Wayne, give Jacksonville a chance. Offer something affordable here before you flee to Orlando for home games.

  5. To "Enough already":

    We actually need to hear more about Tim Tebow, and not less. A star like him comes along very rarely, and we need athletes like Tim as an example to our youth and to the other football players. In my opinion and many others, he has raised college football to a higher level.

    GO GATORS, and bless Tim Tebow!

  6. Tim Tebow is the Gator team. It's not only his athleticism, but also his leadership and spirit that makes the team. It's infectious. Love hearing about him. It's never enough. AND HE IS A LEGEND.


  7. go gators !! Tim Tebow Spirit is always on fire