It's the offseason for hockey, and also training camp for the NFL (CFL is in full swing, y'all) so things are getting a bit silly for these sports. There's a lot of talk about non-starting players, fan favorites, and the like. I listen to just enough talk radio (aka 2 or 3 Toucher and Rich bits a day) to finally see this: Shawn Thornton and Tim Tebow aren't that different, when you break it down.
For one, both of them are fan favorites. Everywhere he goes, people wear his jersey. I wouldn't speak ill of either one without being ready to talk about them a bit more, as you'll end up getting your ear chewed off. Servo learned that this year (a couple times!) when he gave him a C for the year. Tim Tebow is a similarly polarizing figure. Gang Green Nation, the Jets blog here on SBN, damned him with faint praise after he got cut this summer.
So why do people like them? Because occasionally they show flashes of brilliance. Yeah, yeah, we all know Shawn Thornton would probably be MVP of our rec leagues, and that's backed up by his occasional skill play. Remember his penalty shot?
Yeah, of course you do. It was awesome. Jets fans didn't get any such highlights because Tebow was basically benched for the season. But ask a Broncos fan about Tebow Time, where the Broncos' suffocating defense kept an inept offense in a game long enough for Tebow to make a ridiculous drive downfield and likely win the game. Sure, it would be better to just be up most of the game and win handily, but as they say "You can't have a thrilling come-from-behind victory without coming from behind."
It's not just the fans that love those players, though. Coaches talk about them being a positive influence in the locker room. Media members fall all over themselves to get a quote. Both have been discussed on-air by play-by-play teams as being good people. Fellow players seem to like them, as well.
Another similarity is championships. Tebow has 2 in the NCAA. Thornton has 2 in the NHL. How much of each of those they had a part in is immaterial, because RINGS. When you're a champion, you're a champion. Just ask Stanley Cup Champion Dominik Hasek. He'll tell you.
So there you have it: Shawn Thornton and Tim Tebow are practically the same player.