SAN DIEGO -- Just seven months after handing the hometown San Diego Chargers one of their most crushing defeats of the season, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, then with the Denver Broncos, returned to Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday.
Only this time, he replaced the football with a microphone and turned the boos into cheers.
"It feels really good to get an applause in this stadium," Tebow said. "It's never happened before."
Tebow ventured into what was once -- and still is -- enemy territory to speak at a Father's Day service for Shadow Mountain Community Church, led by pastor David Jeremiah. Shadow Mountain rented out the stadium and invited several area churches to attend.
Some arrived as early as 6 a.m., two hours before gates opened, to tailgate, play touch football and worship.
Tebow went back and forth with Jeremiah, speaking about his faith for little more than half an hour on a stage in the middle of the field.
"The world looks at me as a football player who's a Christian, but I look at the world and say, 'I'm a Christian who happens to play football,'" Tebow said.
Falling in line with the theme of Father's Day, Tebow's message focused on one of his core fundamental values his father, Bob, instilled in him at a young age.
Bob used Mel Gibson's character -- William Wallace, the Scottish rebel -- in the movie "Braveheart" to demonstrate his point. To this day, that remains Tebow's favorite movie.
"It had the biggest impact on my life because every time I would go to practice from then on out, I would think of what my father said to me: 'Do I really love what I'm doing? Am I passionate about it? And am I willing to sacrifice more than anybody else?'"
Tebow turned to the crowd and asked them those same three questions. He then continued discussing how those three questions led him to become who he is today.
"Tebow brought me out here," Michelle Starrett, 14, said. "Really his message. He doesn't just say, he actually lives out what he says he does."
Starrett woke up at 4 a.m. to be one of the first in line at the stadium, as she had never seen her favorite player before in person. Donning a Jets' Tebow jersey, as well as green-painted fingernails with "Tebow" written across both hands, Starrett said she admired Tebow for using his iconic status as a platform to spread the word of God.
Not everyone was as openly supportive of Tebow as Starrett.
Edward Walker, 30, dressed in a Philip Rivers jersey, was reluctant to talk about the last time Tebow was at Qualcomm. The real reason he came was that his father wanted to attend, and he said wasn't going to miss the chance to spend Father's Day with his dad.
"I wasn't going to come see Tebow," Walker said. "But he's a Christian, so he's a brother. I'll listen."
Although Tebow couldn't be with his dad on Father's Day, he gave him a shoutout and concluded with a message about his other father.
"If I know that without a shadow of a doubt that I'm going to spend eternity in heaven with my Heavenly Father, then there's not a better Father's Day than that," Tebow said.