For most everyone else, it was a little over-the-top. But to Florida fans, Tim Tebow's post-game pledge, which quickly became known as "The Promise," was a critical turning point in the legend of the former Heisman-winning quarterback.

The Promise was born from a moment of devastation: Undefeated Florida, seeking a national championship, was challenged early in the SEC season by unranked Ole Miss.

Florida's offense piled up more than 440 yards, but it committed three turnovers and struggled mightily on third downs. Ole Miss squeaked out with a 31-30 win.

For the Rebels, the victory was huge. A rebuilding program now had a cornerstone victory to hang its hat on.

But Florida was in shambles. It had a talented roster and every reason to believe it would be in the mix for a national championship. Although the season was still young, the loss represented a huge setback that could have, in theory, dashed the Gators' national championship hopes.

Tim Tebow -- Heisman-winner, team rallying point, and generally deified figure of Florida football -- was particularly shaken. He had the world on his shoulders, after all, and despite a decent performance in the game, he felt like the loss was his fault first.

So after the game, he faced reporters and said this:

The overdone soundtrack to this video might suggest that Tebow was simply caught up in the heat of the moment. If so, the rest of Gator Nation was with him.

Thus The Promise was born.

In fact, the school wasted no time in commemorating that short speech by searing it onto a plague affixed to the football stadium. The case for memorializing Tebow's promise is a decent one: After that loss, Florida ran the table and won the BCS Championship following the 2008 season.

Tebow returned the following year and only lost once, in the SEC title game against Alabama. Post-Promise, Tebow went 23-1.

Dark days have descended upon Gainesville since then, with the program tanking under the leadership of Will Muschamp. But at least Gator fans can comfort themselves with not-so-distant memories of when their wet-eyed savior delivered them from tragedy.

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