Tim Tebow is a two-time national champion, first round NFL draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner. He is co-hosting the second season of the FOX program Home Free (premiered June 16) with home renovation expert Mike Holmes.
In addition, Tim is a college football analyst for the SEC Network, and he contributes to a variety of ESPN platforms including SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, and the network’s Heisman Trophy coverage. Prior to joining the SEC Network, he played in the NFL for the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets.
In 2011, Tim was the first quarterback featured in ESPN’s “Year of the Quarterback” series. That same year, he published Through My Eyes, which was named the #1 sports book as well as the best-selling religious book of 2011.
Tim was born in the city of Makati in the Philippines to parents who were missionaries. Even after moving to Florida as a child, he returned there as a teenager to spread God’s word and to do the Lord’s work by serving the needy.
He carried that calling with him to the University of Florida where, in addition to leading the Gators to two national championships and winning the Heisman Trophy, he also devoted himself to charity—raising money for pediatric cancer patients and disadvantaged children.
In 2010, his vision took shape in the Tim Tebow Foundation, which was created. to bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. The foundation fulfills this mission every day by making dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses, building Timmy’s Playrooms in children’s hospitals, providing life-changing surgeries to children of the Philippines through the Tebow CURE Hospital, sponsoring Night to Shine, a nationwide prom for people with special needs, providing care for orphans in four countries and adoption aid grants for families who choose to adopt an international child with special needs.
Here, Tim talks about co-hosting Home Free with Mike Holmes, the TV series where contestants compete to win a dream home for their personal heroes. The second season airs on Thursdays at 9:00 PM (ET/PT) on FOX.
Hi Tim, thanks for the interview.
My pleasure, Kam.
What interested you in Home Free?
When they pitched the idea to me, I’d heard about this show, and knew what they did in Season 1. But then I learned what they were going to do in Season 2, that they were going to have 11 contestants competing to try to win a dream home for their personal hero, and that one of the twists is that every single one of the contestants gets to give away one of the homes to their heroes. So, everybody walks away a winner!
Also, you really start to understand the stories of these heroes, and these contestants, and why they’re really special. It’s because the heroes have done so much to sacrifice to get the contestants where they’re at, and now it’s the contestant’s chance to really make a dream come true for these heroes. I thought that’s really special. Plus, you get to hear the stories of sacrifice, whether it’s Nick, who was a war hero in Afghanistan, who’s now competing for the man that picked him up on the battlefield and saved his life and brought him to safety. Or the contestant that we had that was competing for a young lady who does random acts of kindness all the time, and donated her kidney to save her father’s life when he was going through dialysis.
When I heard the stories, and how the contestants really had a chance to change the lives of the heroes, I think that’s what really gripped me. At heart, it’s people loving and sacrificing for other people to make a difference in their lives. When I understood that, I knew it was a project that would be a lot of fun to be a part of.
What do you want people to take away from the show?
A number of things. I think people are going to see that it’s probably the biggest build show America’s ever seen. So, if they like building, it has a lot of that. It has so much competitiveness, which was so fun for me, really fierce competition. It’s obviously got its fair share of drama, but I think, more than anything, I’d want them to take away that it can be cool to be able to love and sacrifice for other people and give for other people. I truly believe that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. And that’s something that this show illustrates every single week.
How has your lifelong commitment to charity work played into the show?
It definitely plays into it, just coming from the place of wanting to help other people and wanting to make a difference. It’s also the theme of what you’re trying to promote, that it is such a blessing to be able to help other people, and sacrifice for other people. Whether it’s your money, your time, your energy, your effort, whatever it is, it’s worth it, and it’s not just worth it when they give you a home in return, but it’s worth it because of the lives that you’re able to change. I think that’s something that I’ve really learned through a lot of the work that we do at the Tim Tebow Foundation, and the work that I’ve done in Third World countries. I think it’s also just as important to be able to do it here in our own communities and our own homes, because people need help and they need hope. Sometimes, that’s as little as a hug, and sometimes it can be as much as giving away a home, but I just think it’s so important. I think to be able to tell that story and have people see that, I think it’s good, especially in a day and age when it can be so much about “me, me, me” and, “How can I get mine?” where this show is totally about helping other people, and that’s really cool.
What was it like doing a reality TV series?
I don’t know if I’d call it a reality program. It was fun and exciting, and I got super close to all the contestants and to the entire crew. It was great building those relationships, and investing in everybody on set, especially the contestants who went through so much. They put their lives on pause to be able to do this. I think it was really, really cool to really invest in them and hear their stories and why they’re doing it, to really understand the “why” behind it all.
And another cool thing about it was, to be able to see some of them grow, whether they’d start to believe in themselves or find their confidence, or to be able to overcome obstacles. It’s a lot for people to be away from their families and put their job and their life on hold in order to try to win a home for someone else. It was really cool to be able to experience that with them.
Watching the first episode, Home Free struck me as a show designed more to inspire than entertain people.
Yeah, when so many shows might be entertaining, but there aren’t many that families can watch together that are entertaining and uplifting. I think that’s what this show brings together. What’s also really cool is that there are a lot of heroes walking around amongst us, and so many times they don’t get thanked. They don’t get supported, and what they do goes unnoticed. I think that this show really tries to thank them, and say, “We appreciate what you’ve done, and the sacrifice.” That might be someone just helping cancer patients get out of bed every day and go for a walk, and encourage them, or it could be our military saving people on the battlefield. There’s such a wide spectrum, but I think we have heroes every single day and it’s important to say “Thank you!” This show does that.
Were you drawn to the show in part because of the biblical principle that it’s more blessed to give than to receive?
That principle’s a great principle, and it’s something that I try to live by as much as I can. So, I think that trying to be able to show America that it is a blessing to give and you do get more by giving than you do by just trying to take, take, take. Cultivating a mindset of serving other people is important and sometimes it doesn’t always seem to make sense. People aren’t sure, and wonder, “Well, how am I going to receive?”
Receiving comes in a lot of different forms, whether that’s receiving peace or fulfillment or purpose or a calling. Or, maybe it’s just by receiving joy by making a difference in someone else’s life. I think the Bible says that for a reason, and I believe it.
Do you have a personal hero you would’ve played for, if you had been a contestant instead of the co-host of the show?
I’m blessed with so many heroes in my life, and role models. But I think more so than any, it would be my mom and my dad. My dad, for having the most passion and courage I’ve seen in any man, and then my mom, for being the sweetest lady. They’d definitely be my top two heroes.
Home Free airs on Thursdays at 9:00 PM (ET/PT) on FOX. For more information, go to fox.com/home-free.