Tim Tebow just shut the door on an eventful 2016. Although he did not play any football, Tebow made noise in the sports world by signing a minor league contract with the New York Mets. In 19 Arizona Fall League games, he batted .194 in 62 at-bats.
While playing baseball, Tebow cross-commuted to the Southeast, where he is a co-host of SEC Nation on the SEC Network. Right now, with baseball safely in the offseason, Tebow is focused on football again. On New Year's Eve, he was in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl before whipping over to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, which will be played on Jan. 2. On the morning of New Year's Day, Tebow opened his 2017 on the phone with ThePostGame, chatting about NFL draft prospects skipping bowl games, his future in baseball and his early thoughts on the Alabama-Clemson National Championship Game rematch.
ThePostGame: What does Tim Tebow do on New Year's Eve?
TIM TEBOW: Well, I was at one of the playoff games, then we had a little postgame coverage, then a little Scott Van Pelt after that and finally, I got to wrap it up with hanging out with a couple of my siblings because one of my sisters lives in Atlanta.
TPG: When did you get on a flight to New Orleans?
TEBOW: Some silly time this morning.
TPG: You are now at the Sugar Bowl. What is your prediction for that game tomorrow?
TEBOW: I think it's really going to come down to Auburn's defense stopping the big play of Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook, who've been able to put up ridiculous stats this year. Then Kamryn Pettway getting going for Auburn and controlling the time of possession. Not just putting up yards and touchdowns, but being able to manage the game offensively for Auburn.
TPG: Do you have a score for the game?
TEBOW: I do not. Maybe tomorrow.
TPG: You're working there with the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team (honoring those whose commitment to community service stands out among the many who participate in the sport). When you look up and down that roster, what comes to mind?
TEBOW: A lot of dudes who are doing amazing things in their community to help a lot of people. That's why it's been so cool to be a spokesperson. You see all these guys from different backgrounds, all across the country, from all different positions, some big schools, some small schools. But they have a passion that they care so much about and they make a huge impact in that area. Whether that's Deshaun Watson with Habitat for Humanity or Derek McCartney donating bone marrow or Oren Burks, who has like seven different initiatives with what he does. It's important to celebrate and say what you do off the field matters as much or more than what you do on the field. There are so many awards on the field, but very few off the field. I think it's very important to show the next the generation the type of person you are and the effect you have on your community matters.
TPG: During your time at Florida -- we're going back pre-social media -- how important was it for you to take time out of your playing to affect the Gainesville community?
TEBOW: It was a huge passion of mine. It was something I felt like was a responsibility and an obligation as a leader on campus to try to rally people. We had some of the biggest weeks of fundraising that any student body organization has ever done. We had weeks of charity work and it was awesome because thousands of people would come out and have so much fun. It's amazing when you can help people and have fun at the same time.
TPG: Switching gears a bit, you played with such a passion at Florida and there's been so much recent media focus on guys like Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette, who have decided not to play bowl games to focus on the NFL Draft. What's your take on that whole situation?
TEBOW: I can see both sides. I think it's totally up to the individual. And I'm okay with it. I see both sides. I think as a player, I'm more of the type of person that would probably lean toward playing because I want to finish this thing with my brothers who I came in with. But at the same time, you have presidents and chancellors and athletic directors and head coaches and assistant coaches who leave all the time. They leave before bowl games, after bowl games, mid-year. That happens all the time. I think that sometimes, they're held to a different standard than the players. I think you want to be realistic that some guys not only have their futures on the line, but sometimes, their families' futures on the line. It's not a game. That's real. I also want to see it from that side, as well. I try to take in both sides. My natural gut as a player and as a person is as a finisher. I like to try to be a finish-strong guy in the fourth quarter. But also, some of these guys' futures, and maybe even more than that is on the line. So, I definitely can see it on both sides.
TPG: Not to bring back bad memories, but you lost the SEC Championship Game your senior year in 2009 and then played in the Sugar Bowl, not the National Championship Game. Was it a conversation anyone, maybe any of those seniors, had in the locker room?
TEBOW: To not play in the Sugar Bowl?
TPG: I don't think so. I honestly think that was such an emotional time for all of us because we lost the SEC Championship, which we really felt like was the National Championship, and we would have won three out of four National Championships. We were so disappointed by that. Adding on to that, Coach [Urban] Meyer got sick and was in and out of the hospital, so we were dealing with that. Our rallying cry as seniors and veterans on the team was we don't know who we're going to play, but someone is going to feel something. We had the chance to come to the Sugar Bowl and play in that. I wouldn't have missed that for anything. That was the last chance to take the field with my guys and it was a special moment and one of the best games I got to play in.
Florida won the 2010 Sugar Bowl, 51-24, over Cincinnati. Tebow set two BCS records with 533 total yards and 482 passing yards in his final NCAA game.
TPG: Speaking of Urban, how tough was it to watch Ohio State yesterday?
TEBOW: Well, I definitely felt for him, knowing how much time he puts into it. But I don't think that tarnishes him at all. I think it just shows what he's done is so incredible and he's right up there with the best. I just think they weren't able to get any big plays going offensively to really spark them. Also, they weren't able to get anything going on first down to create second-and-short, third-and short, and when you live behind the sticks, it's really hard to rise.
TPG: How good is that Clemson team and who do you have winning the National Championship?
TEBOW: Well, that Clemson team is really good and really hot right now. They are peaking at the right moment, led by maybe the best player in the country, Deshaun Watson. And I'm going to predict the winner of the National Championship when you watch SEC Nation.
TPG: This fall, you spent so much time playing baseball in Arizona and broadcasting on the SEC Network/ESPN back East. What was an average week like for Tim Tebow?
TEBOW: Playing baseball all week, talking football on the weekend.
TPG: How were you going back and forth, in terms of transportation?
TEBOW: I was flying back and forth. I'd fly [east] on Thursday night or Friday, then do SEC Nation, then fly back Saturday.
TPG: Where will we be seeing you come February/March?
TEBOW: Playing baseball.
TPG: Do you expect to play in the minor leagues for the Mets?
TEBOW: I don't know where I'll be exactly. I just know I'm thankful to be part of the organization and we're going to take it one day at a time.
TPG: Would you say your future in 2017 is in baseball, not football?
TEBOW: Yes, sir.
TPG: In terms of the Arizona Fall League experience, how do you feel like the players accepted you?
TEBOW: I feel like a lot of them really accepted me and I felt like I had a good relationship with a bunch of those guys. I felt like it was a really good learning opportunity.
TPG: Did you feel like an older brother sometimes because so many of them are so young?
TEBOW: For some of them, yeah. Especially when they would start telling me stories of, 'I came to watch you play at this game when I was here,' and I was like, 'Oh really? You were like four.' (Laughs) But it was fun. A lot of good dudes out there.
TPG: Tim, you're not that old (he's 29).
TEBOW: I know, man! That's what I keep telling them.
TPG: For people that say the whole baseball thing is a stunt, what would you say to them?
TEBOW: The great thing is I don't have to say anything. I just get to go pursue what I love and what I'm passionate about. That's one of the blessings of living in this awesome country. We get to go love and pursue what we want and go after it and live out our dream. I'm thankful I get to do that every single day.
TPG: The Ole Miss video that people love to get pumped up by, do you ever watch that emotional speech to get pumped up?
TEBOW: (Laughs) Not really. Sometimes, I hear it at different events when people bring it up to me. If people get encouraged by it, that's awesome. We all need encouragement and we all get encouraged by different ways.
TPG: You mentioned your foundation, the Tim Tebow Foundation. How much does that affect your average day and how do you want to see it grow?
TEBOW: I put a lot of time into it. It's one of the most important things in my life. It's one of my biggest passions. My foundation is so much bigger than sports -- football, baseball -- whatever it is. That's where I want to focus my life into, for the rest of my life. Sports will be for a season, but that's what I want to do for the rest of my life -- trying to make a difference in other people's lives. We do that through a lot of different ways, whether that's through orphan care or special needs or our hospitals or Timmy's Playrooms or our wish-granting organization. We just try to do that in any way possible because our biggest goal is to 'bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.' I want to see that grow to help as many people as possible.
TPG: There are a lot of people who say Tim Tebow should get into politics. Why do you think people say that?
TEBOW: I'm not sure. I appreciate their support. One day, I feel like that's the biggest avenue for me to be able to affect lives and maybe I'll think about it. But that's not on this day. Not yet.
TPG: Is coaching a future for you?
TEBOW: I would say that has a chance, yeah.
TPG: In terms of broadcasting, how much do you love what you're doing right now?
TEBOW: Oh, I really enjoy it. It's so much fun. Plus I love our team on SEC Nation and all the people I get to work with on ESPN. Half the time, it's honestly like I'm sitting on a couch with my dad and brothers talking or arguing about a game like I have since I was six years old.
TPG: Is it weird broadcasting with your former rivals?
TEBOW: Not really. Sometimes, it's fun seeing a different perspective or hearing how they were game-planning you. I like learning from other people and their experiences.
— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) December 3, 2016
TPG: Is this Alabama team potentially one of the best college football teams you've ever seen?
TEBOW: Oof. I'm not really sure. I'm not sure just because I think it's one of the best defenses I've ever seen and maybe it's one of the deepest teams we've ever seen as well, but the lack of offensive consistency worries me just a little bit, especially in the last three games: Auburn, Florida and yesterday, [Washington]. But when that offensive is clicking, with defense and special teams, it can be a very special team.
Tebow, AFCA Good Works Team head coach Mark Richt and the 25 AFCA Good Works Team players were scheduled to lead a football clinic for more than 250 youths from the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) at Joe Brown Park in New Orleans Sunday. The children were unaware of the high-profile instructors waiting at the field. Before the event, Allstate gave a $10,000 donation to the NORDC.