"He made so many plays on critical third-and-1, fourth-and-1, third-and-2, on drives that propelled us to the national championship game," Addazio said of the 2006 season. Even in the national title game, Tebow threw for one score and ran for another against Ohio State.
It almost didn't happen.
"He almost went to Alabama," Addazio said, recalling that Tebow was a prized recruit, wanted by virtually every school in the Southeastern Conference even though he wasn't the prototype QB.
"I watched that sucker in high school start a championship game, put his team on his back. He played on a broken leg," Addazio said.
Temple's coach didn't mind telling several friends in the NFL that they blew it by not taking a chance on Tebow, fully realizing that Tebow, while the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, isn't the standard-issue NFL QB.
"I also see those guys who throw pretty spirals in seven-on-seven, and they can't win," Addazio said.
As for the other big Tebow issue, his Christian ways, Addazio said of the man born in the Philippines to Baptist missionaries: "I was around the guy for four years. He didn't throw his religion onto anybody. He never did."
Not that he ever got into trouble.
"No, no, no," Addazio said. "He's a pure guy."
All the coaches realized Tebow's fame could have taken him in any direction he chose.
"And all the time he'd rather come in the office and watch tape. Nobody worked harder," Addazio said. "He was a good dude. He really, truly was what he preached."
Addazio obviously has been watching the Broncos closely and will watch them play Saturday at New England because Tebow is the quarterback.
"It's like they're excited to play," Addazio said. "That's the way it's supposed to be. People say, 'Well, this isn't college.' Well, why not? Who wants to be around a guy who is like, 'This is business, and then I go home.' . . . This guy has it. Whatever it is, he has it. He's passionate. He has the juice. He wants the ball when the game is on the line. Those are just the starting points."
But there are Division III quarterbacks who have all the intangibles but don't have the skills for the higher level. Isn't that overglorifying his intangibles?
"The things he has are the things you can't coach," Addazio said. "You can teach mechanics. But he threw for a lot of yards in the SEC. Every week he was going against cornerbacks who would go in the first round of the NFL draft. A lot of guys have different mechanics. But he made the plays."
There was no doubt Florida wanted Tebow. There was debate about what position he might play. Tight end? Fullback? Quarterback? Addazio wasn't involved in Tebow's recruiting. Greg Mattison, now the defensive coordinator at Michigan, was the key guy in Tebow's recruiting, Addazio said. Tebow's hometown of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., outside Jacksonville, was Mattison's territory.
"Even back then, I can remember conversations about mechanics and all this," Addazio said. "Thank God, Greg Mattison just loved this kid, and Urban Meyer got behind him."
Remembering when it looked as if Tebow would choose Alabama, Addazio said: "We rallied late. He grew up a Gator fan with a Gator mailbox. The thing almost got messed up."
Addazio was offensive line coach for the two national championship teams, then offensive coordinator for Tebow's senior season. He would get aggravated, he said, when people complained that the coach was too predictable in giving the ball to Tebow for keepers on short-yardage plays, that "everyone in the stadium knew it was coming."
"Everyone in the stadium did know it was coming," Addazio said. "But it still worked 95 percent of the time. I want to see you tell Tim Tebow on third and 1 that he's not getting the ball. He'd give you that death look. No way. Come on."
If you're tired of the Tebow hype machine, that's understandable. In the last 24 hours, I got one e-mail saying "43 percent of Americans believe divine intervention is at least partly responsible" for Tebow's success and another touting "a surge of activity with fans searching for Tim Tebow party supplies" before Saturday's game. According to a tabloid report Thursday, singer Katy Perry's mother wants her daughter to date Tebow.
But Addazio wasn't talking about Tebow the phenomenon. He was talking about the man. When talking to recruits, Temple's coach said he doesn't bring up that quote from Tebow, which appeared in the New York Times.
But, Addazio added: "I'll talk a lot of times about him because I think he stands for everything that's right and good in football."
There's the matching billboard quote. Put enough of them up, people might think Tebow went to Temple.
Contact Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489, email@example.com, or @Jensenoffcampus on Twitter. Read his "Off Campus" columns at www.philly.com/offcampus