Playing for their head coach Chuck Pagano, currently receiving treatment for leukemia, Indianapolis overcame a halftime deficit for 30-27 win over Green Bay in a game where the Colts were spurred on to play for Pagano. The “Chuck Strong” movement has spread throughout the NFL and college football and now the Colts are hoping to ride the wave of emotions to a big road win this weekend against the 2-3 Jets.
For Jets Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow, emotion is a part of the game. Dating back to his collegiate exploits at Florida, Tebow was known for his primal emotions on the field and a fiery passion that would lift his teammates. He sees the same thing in the Colts win last Sunday.
“I mean, I really believe football is so much about momentum and spark and enthusiasm. Gosh, when you have that momentum in a game, leading up to a game – something to believe in – gosh – I really just think it makes you play harder, play more physical. You’re believing in something – our league is so close. The difference between wins and losses is a play here, a missed blocked here, a missed tackle here, one more pass,” Tebow said. “When you have something guys are fighting for, guys are believing in, it can make the difference.”
When asked if he’s praying for Pagano, Tebow said “Absolutely I have.”
But Tebow countered that while the Colts might have an emotional edge given the health and battle their coach is currently going through, the Jets also have their own emotions to deal with. There is plenty of motivation for this team, especially since they’ve lost two straight and badly need a win against the Colts to resurrect a season beset by injuries and tough losses.
“A lot of our thoughts and prayers go out to their coach. First and foremost, that’s more important than winning a football game, I want that to be clear,” Tebow said. “But when we step out on the football field, I think we have a lot to play for and we take a lot of pride in how we play. We have to believe in each other and have the same will to win that they have.”
In terms of playing for a purpose, Tebow said he really doesn’t have one other than the obvious. It isn’t his overt Christian faith or any one of the children he hosts after a game that spurs him on; just the 52 other players in the Jets locker room looking for a win.
“A lot of times it can be the same: something off the field for a kid, for a family, outside. I know so many guys take pride in playing for their kids or family or mom or something like that so that’s obviously a lot of added motivation,” Tebow said. “At the same time, playing for your teammates and coaches means a lot as well.”
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and contributes to The Jets Blog @KristianRDyer