I don’t think I ever remember a time when there was a more overwhelming negative media assault on a NFL quarterbacks ability to play than I saw this preseason with Tim Tebow. You would think that he must have had the worst rookie debut in the history of the NFL last year, threw way more INTs than TDS and just crumbled under pressure. He must have shown up late to practices, didn’t work hard, and had an entitled attitude. He had to have done something to rub people the wrong way. But the fact is none of those statements are true, except the last one.
Tim Tebow definitely had a huge following before he ever even put on a NFL jersey. He was something of football folklore in the Southeast, winning two National Championships and becoming the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman trophy while at Florida. As well as setting a BCS record in his final game at Florida in the Sugar Bowl against undefeated Cincinnati throwing for over 500 yds and breaking Vince Young’s BCS record for most combined yards in a BCS bowl game. These were the kinds of things Florida fans came to expect from there QB they often referred to as superman. And then you have the stories of young Tebow in High School refusing to come off the field after breaking his leg and running a 20 yd TD on it instead. There is a video of that run and an x-ray of his leg after the game on youtube, it was a nasty break. No denying this kid is tough. The stuff that legends are made of.
The fact that he was so upfront about his Christian faith and was considered a goody two shoes made him even more of a polarizing figure. Instead of indulging in the debauchery that most of us did in college he admitted to being a virgin after being asked by a reporter if he was saving himself for marriage. He would wear bible verses on his eye blacks while playing for the Gators often time making his chosen verse for the night the most searched item on the internet on his game nights. It created such a controversy that the NCAA banned messages on players eye blacks, dubbing it the Tebow rule, though they would later say he was not the only reason for establishing the rule. Yeah right. They don’t make players cover up gang signs or controversial tattoos or brands on there arms when they play but anything concerning God is just too controversial and doesn’t belong in college football. However you look at it there is something to be admired in somebody who can stick to there morals and values amidst all the temptation there must have been for him at the the University of Florida
Tebow just had an exitability about him that was so contagious you could see it bring up the energy of the players around him and made him so exciting to watch. I can remember being in Miami for the BCS National Championship game against the Oklahoma Sooners waiting for the Florida Gators bus to pull up to the stadium. Finally when they rolled up Tebow was one of the last ones off the bus, and the crowd was going nuts yelling his name trying to get a reaction from there beloved quarterback. He looked as if he was trying to tune everything out and stay focused, wearing headphones and looking to avoid distractions he headed into the stadium tunnel much to the dismay of the excited fans. But then all of the sudden he came running back out, right in front of all his fans he starts to do the Gator chomp and he takes his tie off and throws it in the crowd. Waving his hands and getting the crowd fired up, and I have to admit I never wanted to throw on a helmet and go play with someone so much in my life. The guy just inspires people.
So this preseason when I saw a dramatic shift in the sports medias perception of Tebow I was kind of shocked. He ended the year starting the last 3 games for Denver and put up some spectacular and exciting performances for a rookie. Coming in and playing for a stagnant Denver team who had only managed to win 3 games under Kyle Orton, I thought he brought some real life to that team. He managed to throw for over 300 yards against the Texans and put together a come from behind victory scoring the winning touchdown running. In his game against Oakland he became 1 of only 4 QBs ever in the history of the NFL to rush for a TD over 40 yds and pass for a TD over 40yds. In the 3 games he started it was the only time Denver was able to score 20+ points 3 games in a row. He threw more TDs than INTS (5TDS and 3INTS) and he also led Denver in rushing TDs last year. Ill be the first to say he has a lot of room for improvement, but heck for a rookie QB he played pretty well in his limited showing last year. Yes he still needs to improve his short and mid range accuracy and his pocket presence, and he has got to get better in checking down his receivers and not getting happy feet. But these are all things that can be remedied right?
Well according to Merril Hoge Tim Tebow has no place in the NFL. The fact that Denver could even consider him to lead there team is a joke. As well as an unidentified source closely tied with the Broncos organization saying that Tebow is arguably the 4th best QB on the Broncos roster! Not to mention the majority of sports media jumping on this bandwagon that Tebow cant make it in the NFL, when at the end of the year last year he was predicted to be the savior of the franchise and Kyle Orton was getting traded off to Miami! So what could have possibly happened from then till now to have such a dramatic shift in views?
I know there was a coaching shift in Denver, and John Fox did not draft Tim Tebow. That was Josh McDaniels project, and now he is gone. There was also a lockout in the NFL which didn’t allow for any real progress to be made in Tebows game as far as learning the new system. So I have no doubt that a 7 year veteran like Kyle Orton is going to look much better running Foxs offense than Tebow who is really still a rookie in the sense hes only started 3 games and had no offseason in which to learn. But just because the guy didn’t look great in practice where there was no offseason is that the reason for the firestorm anti-Tebow campaign. I watched the preseason game when Denver played the Cowboys and it was ridiculous how biased the announcers were being towards Tebow. They started ripping him before the game even started talking about his throws in warm-ups. He couldn’t do anything right. Even after he threw a beautiful 40 yard pass to Matt Willis in full stride they ripped him for not getting it off sooner. It was literally a perfect throw! He went 7/8 for 93 yards and it was like he threw 5 picks and played horrible. I thought he played better than Kyle Orton in that game. Granted he had a few hiccups where he went over the line of scrimmage and had like 3 penalties on one play, at least he did it trying to make a play instead of quitting, I thought he showed some real athleticism throwing off that cornerback twice without getting tackled. No way Orton would get out of that. And so far this preseason Tebow has a better QBR than Kyle Orton or Brady Quinn. So how do you explain that one away? Oh Tebow played in garbage time against second stringers. Actually Tebow played behind an awful second string offensive line that afforded him hardly any time to throw the ball. While Orton sat behind the first string O line and had much more time to make passes. And as for the argument that Quinn is better than Tebow and should be second string, I think that was settled during the last preseason game were Quinn went something like 4/12 and had one INT, and Tebow went 7/11 with 1TD.
Im not saying Kyle Orton is a bad quarterback, or Brady Quinn for that matter. I think they could both be good quarterbacks in the right situations. Im not even saying Tebow is a better QB than Orton right now. I just want to clear up the facts as to why Tim Tebow has been getting so much unwarranted negative media lately. Is it his fault that he had the number one selling jersey before he ever hit the field? Does he get more advertising than his play on the field has warranted him, I would say yes. But who else would you rather see get millions of dollars for advertisements, when at least you know with Tebow its not going to get spent on Ferraris and hookers. But more likely to charities like his families mission in the Phillipens . I understand hes not your conventional quarterback, and I get that people get aggravated with the fact that this kid has a cult like following who would say he was the greatest no matter what he did. And that makes people want to prove him to be a flop even more just to shut up all the Tebow lovers. I get that.
I admit I am a fan of Tim Tebow, but I am not coming at this from an unrealistic point of view. He for some reason has created a legion of people who want him to fail just as big as the legion of people who want him to succeed. And it seems like those who have predicted him to fail have more football knowledge than all the dumb redneck Tebow fans from Florida pretending to be Broncos fans. But the truth is that what he has produced on the field in his limited playing time in the NFL has not warranted the kind of criticism hes received so far this year. You get judged on what you do on gameday, not in warm-ups and not in throwing drills. Hes already shown he can lead a team to victory in the NFL, Texans or not, he did it. And Id be willing to bet he can do it many more times over even leading the Broncos into the playoffs. But you have to develop an offense around his strengths, and not try and limit the things he does best. Orton and Quinn are gone after this year is done. Tebow is still gonna be around. By having him carry a clipboard another year instead of getting him more game experience and letting him develop into your franchise quarterback the Denver FO is doing themselves a disservice. I have faith in Tim Tebow, Ive seen him do plenty of things that people said he wouldnt be able to, and it always seems like he proves them wrong. It looks like he may not get his chance this year in Denver, but if I were a betting man I would not bet on Tim Tebow failing in the NFL. Ive watched football all my life. I have seen a lot of great players. Some with more athletic ability, some with better accuracy, but when you combine Tebows strength to avoid tackles, his ability to deliver the deep ball accurately, his ability to keep plays alive with his feet, and the sheer drive he has to win football games, as well as enhancing the play of others around him. Ive never seen anyone do it better than him. So for all you Tebow Haters and especially for Stephen A. Smith of 710 ESPN who hung up on me and told me I was never allowed to call his station again when I said I thought Tebow should be the Broncos starter this year I hope he proves you all wrong. I think Tim Tebow should be judged by what he produces on the football field. But when it comes to good role models we need more people like Tim Tebow. Im 26 years old did 3 combat tours in the Marines and I will tell you he is one one my heroes. And I wish there were more people like him in this world. JD Hollingsworth