Quarterbacks in the NFL are put under the spotlight unlike any other position in professional sports. The position requires thick skin, an unflappable will power, and God-given football playing abilities. The rigors of the position go much farther than being able to fire frozen ropes into tight windows and recognizing zone coverage. You must be handsome. You must be tall, fluid, and athletic. You must be able to impress a room full of shameless media members who are crossing their fingers hoping you say something note worthy. You are the face of a franchise. The nucleus of a multi-million dollar business. You are a master of public relations and of the play action pass. You have the ability to have an entire city at your fingertips (think Tom Brady) or be public enemy #1 (think Mark Sanchez).
Needless to say, not many dudes have the guts to play Quarterback in the NFL. Lot’s of guys can throw gorgeous spirals, not so many can lead the 2 minute drill on the road with 98,000 pissed off Charger fans screaming in your ear. Not many can lead their squads to three overtime victories in eight weeks. Not many can capture the hearts, or at least the attention of, every NFL fan in America.
Enter Tim Tebow.
His contractors will claim that he sucks for three quarters of every game, can’t hit the broadside of a barn, and is a product of a beastly Bronco defense.
None of this is true.
In the first quarters of games this year, Tebow completes 50% of his passes. In his ‘miraculous’ fourth quarter games, he completes at a 56% clip. So he doesn’t exactly turn into Joe Montana, but he also doesn’t “suck for three quarters”. In the first three quarters of games this year, he has thrown 5 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Claiming that Tebow is inaccurate is both true and false. Of course, he doesn’t (and likely never will) throw the ball like Aaron Rodgers does. But, to be fair to him, he’s not exactly throwing to the likes of Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordie Nelson, and JerMichael Finley. No disrespect to Daniel Fells, Erik Decker, and Demaryrius Thomas, but they aren’t quite what I’d call an elite receiving corps. In his latest outing, a win over the Bears, Tebow’s targets dropped six passes. Those count as incompletions, too.
Although the Broncos defense has been terrific (holding opponents to under 20 points in five games since Tebow took the helm), it does nothing to detract from #15’s greatness. If the Patriots were holding teams to 15 points per, do you think Brady would be throwing the ball 35 times a game? Of course not! Willis McGahee is on pace for almost 300 carries this year. The Broncos like to squeeze the air out of the ball by letting Tebow and McGahee run roughshod on teams. Why not play to your strengths? The Broncos strengths are: offensive line, physical backs, defense. It would silly to say “Hey, Timmy, go out-gun Philip Rivers!” John Fox knows better.
We haven’t even discussed Tebow’s biggest asset as a football player. He is a terrific running back! 94 carries for 517 yards (5.5 YPC) and 3 scores so far. He’s a beast. Hard to tackle a 6’3, 235 pound bowling ball with good moves and good speed. He’s a white Clinton Portis. If he completes 15 passes for 15o yards and rushes twelve times for 50 yards, that’s the same as a normal QB throwing for 200 yards, right? He’s a multi talented threat that the Broncos are taking advantage of.
Tebow has captivated the football viewing community. We don’t like when conventional wisdom is trumped by ingenuity. It’s taboo. For as long as we can remember, quarterbacks have been tall, right handed, and classic football guys. They wore wrangler jeans and letterman jackets. They were the popular guys at school dances. Tebow isn’t the same. He was home schooled. He’s religious. He’s ultra competitive. He’s lefty. He doesn’t throw the ball as well as some would like. He prefers to stiff arm opponents rather than slide to safety. He plays in the shadow of John Elway and is shining brighter than Elway ever could.
Many people put the blame on Tebow’s religion. It is well documented that Tebow is a man of faith and high moral esteem. This rubs many people the wrong way. Do these nay sayers believe that Tebow is being led to victory by God? Do they believe that Tebow thinks this? Either way, Tebow is a positive influence on a locker room that, during the Orton era, desperatley needed a voice of reason. Tebow leads the team in prayer sessions. Are their prayers heard? Maybe. Maybe not. Is Tebow’s insistence upon eternal optimism a drink that we should all drink?
Down 10-0 with two minutes left against the Bears, Tebow throws a touchdown pass, and (thanks to a defensive stop) marches downfield for the game tying field goal. The man has done it again. He certainly has a knack for crunch time, but he also has a knack for something else.
Winning. Can’t argue with results. I believe in Tebowmania. Now excuse me while I put away this Tebowner.