Take a snapshot of this and put it in a safe place. You are watching history.
You are watching greatness. And not just any old greatness.
We're talking historical greatness.
The Florida Gators didn't just win their second national title in three seasons Thursday with a 24-14 victory over Oklahoma. The two men most responsible — coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Tim Tebow — are marching into college football's history books as two of the greatest of all time.
When Tebow ran toward Oklahoma's defense, stopped suddenly, leapt into the air and completed a jump pass for the final touchdown, the partisan crowd of mostly Florida fans erupted in celebration and started singing, "It's great to be a Florida Gator!"
Is it ever.
Meyer, with his second national title in three years, has established himself as the premier coach in college football. He is one of only three active coaches to have won two outright national championships. The other two — Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno — are in the Hall of Fame.
It seems only appropriate that Meyer's second national title came on the same field where the iconic Steve Spurrier coached his final game at UF. Meyer can at least lay claim to being the greatest coach in Florida history. He has two national titles in four years. It took Spurrier 12years to win one title.
As for Tebow, in this media-exposed world, he is well on his way to becoming the greatest college-football player in history. He has two national titles, a Heisman Trophy and third-place finish in the Heisman. Just think if he stays for his senior season and the Gators go into next year as the preseason No.1 team in the country. Tebow could conceivably leave UF with three national titles and two Heismans.
He wasn't spectacular Thursday, but he won in typical Tebow fashion: with grit, guts, sweat and blood. Tebow had not thrown a multi-interception game in college until Thursday night. He threw only two interceptions all season — the same number he had in the first half against Oklahoma.
He rebounded in the second half and took the Gators down the field when he absolutely had to. He threw two touchdown passes and ran for 109 yards.
Not that he didn't have some help on offense from Percy Harvin, who returned from a high-ankle sprain and was as electrifying as ever with 122yards on nine carries.
And with Bill Clinton sitting in the stands among the sellout crowd at Dolphin Stadium, the Gators played off one of the former president's favorite catchphrases: It's the defense, stupid.
All that pre-game hype turned out to be absolutely right. Oklahoma, the highest-scoring offense in the modern era of college football, did not fare well against Florida's fast, ferocious SEC defense. The Sooners came into the championship game having scored 60points or more five straight times. Against Florida, they were constantly turned away when they got within sniffing distance of the end zone.
But, in the end, it was Tebow who won the game. In the week of trash-talking leading up to the game, Oklahoma's Dominique Franks said Tebow would rank only as the "fourth-best" quarterback in the Big 12.
The fourth-best quarterback in the Big 12?
More like the greatest college football player in history.
There has been a plethora of anti-Tebow venom being spewed throughout the airwaves and message boards this week. Ridiculous stuff. The fact is if you hate Tebow, you hate humanity. You hate yourself because he makes you feel guilty.
How can you hate a guy who drinks a glass of milk before he goes to bed every night? Who goes to jails and preaches to prisoners? Who goes to developing nations and feeds the hungry and helps doctors care for the sick? Who eye-blacks Biblical verses on his face before games?
For crying out loud, Tebow even revealed before the national championship game that his favorite song is actually Frank Sinatra's "Send in the Clowns."
On Thursday night, with the Gators holding up the crystal national-championship trophy, the title of the song should have been changed.
Send in the crowns.
And place them on the heads of Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators — the new kings of college football.
Mike Bianchi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times