Tim Tebow. It’s not just a name. It’s an emotion, a story, a belief. The man is just that – a man. Tebow has become the most polarizing figure in professional sports. In regards to his person, there’s no middle ground. You love him or you hate him. You root for him, or you root against him. Or you simply enjoy “Tebowing” to get a reaction.
Much to his despisers’ delight,Tebow’s 2012 postseason campaign came to an unceremonious and sudden stop last weekend at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Tebow was sacked five times, hit nine times and lost a fumble. For the second straight week, he threw for under 50 percent.
Statistics alone are unbiased. It takes the human element out of a player’s track record. They’re the cold reality of performance, or a sad reminder of a lack of execution.
Tebow finished the 2011 season in the bottom third of every measurable passing
statistic. On the flip side, he gets it done on the ground, something the “elite” quarterbacks don’t do. Even then, Tebow finished below rookie Cam Newton in every rushing category for a quarterback.
The most important statistic in football is a team’s record. In regular season games Tebow played, the Denver Broncos were 7-5. However, no one will forget the 80-yard overtime touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card playoff round.
With that being said, no one will forget the embarrassment in New England in the AFC Divisional Round. Getting beat 45–10 looks bad in any sport, let alone in the setting of an NFL playoff game. It’ll leave a sour taste in the mouths of fans and the Denver front office.
So, where does Tim Tebow go from here? That question will be up to Broncos President John Elway, a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and MVP. Elway was the original “comeback kid,” a title Tebow has earned on several occasions this season.
Elway made his decision official on Sunday when he said Tebow has “earned the right” to go into next season’s training camp as the starting quarterback. The title of training camp starter leaves room for doubt from fans and leeway for the front office.
The fact of the matter is Tebow is unorthodox and unpredictable. The lack of stability costs people jobs. Former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels learned the hard way when he was fired prior to the conclusion of the 2010 regular season.
McDaniels was the one who drafted Tebow and Thomas in the first round, but by all accounts current head coach John Fox got the most out of them.
But if getting the most out of an NFL quarterback includes sub-50 percent games with an average of fewer than 200 yards, then why is Tebow still starting games in Denver? There are two logical answers.
The first is ticket sales. A polarizing figure will always attract a cult-like following. The second is the Denver Broncos have a winning record with Tebow as their starter. At the University of Florida, Tebow won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman and two national championships as their starter. He was the best college football athlete of the 2000s. He’s a winner, an intangible that can’t be measured or debated.
Whether or not, Tebow has the tools to translate college mechanics and measurables to the NFL was a question going into the 2010 Draft. It still hasn’t been answered. Meanwhile, Denver continues to defy expectations and overachieve with a quarterback that performs with the statistics comparable to Cleveland’s Colt McCoy and Washington’s Rex Grossman.
Denver won’t be in the position to take top prospects Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in the 2012 Draft. While it’s possible that the Broncos could look at a quarterback on the second or third day, it appears that Denver is stuck with Tebow for at least another year, for better or worse. Brace yourselves for another NFL season of record newspaper sales with number 15 on the cover, more endless debating…and of course, spontaneous Tebowing.