Tim Tebow, Michael Jordan, and the Will To Win

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I guess it’s human nature, but it seems that the grass is always greener somewhere else.

Why does the guy with the super hot girlfriend always end up cheating?

Why does the rich business man get busted for fraud when he already had more money than he could ever spend?

Why is it so easy to ignore all of the good things in your life and instead focus on few flaws?

It’s about time to stop looking at what Tim Tebow can’t do, and appreciate what he can do.

tim-tebow-fantasy-football-week-11-start-sit-advice

A Tebow Comparable

Almost thirty years ago, a young kid from North Carolina entered the NBA with a lot of fanfare. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a real great shooter. He also didn’t play a lot of defense, and his passing skills were scrutinized as well.

What if we had given up on Michael Jordan because he couldn’t (yet) do everything on the basketball court?

Shooting guards were supposed to SHOOT the rock. Shooting guards were supposed to play great defense. Shooting guards were supposed to be role players – letting the big men and point guards lead their teams to victory. It didn’t matter that Jordan was a winner in college – he didn’t do things “the way they’ve always been done.”

His Airness ignored all of that. He had one thing that was greater than anyone he would ever play against: a fierce desire and will to win.

Eventually, he learned to shoot the rock. Oh yeah, he also ended up playing a little defense as well, and he became one of the most underrated passers of his generation (just ask Steve Kerr and Jon Paxson).

What Is Tim Tebow?

What do we REALLY have with Tebow?  To be honest, I don’t really know.

I know he’s a solid, if not spectacular, runner of the football.  I know he has a strong arm, but not an accurate one.

One thing is for sure though: he has that fierce desire and will to win.

How long are we going to keep ignoring this?

More importantly, why do we look past that trait of his and not the others?

How many players have had the talent of Michael Jordan?  Crazy athletic shooting guards are a dime a dozen these days. Vince Carter was MORE athletic and a better shooter right out of college. JR Smith, Jason Richardson, Clyde Drexler…need I keep going?

These guys all had similar if not better skill sets than His Airness when they entered the league. But it was Jordan’s drive that separated him. That drive spread to his teammates. That drive won him championships.

It was Jordan’s DRIVE that made him the GOAT.

The conventional wisdom says that quarterbacks are supposed to throw the ball. It says that a QB’s most important trait is accuracy. “Nobody has ever done it this way before.”

JaMarcus Russell still has a better arm than Tim Tebow. So did Jeff George. So did countless other busts outs.

As evidenced by them, it clearly takes more than a good arm to become a good quarterback.

Tebow, Jordan, and The Will To Win

While we search for greener grass elsewhere and nitpick a player that has led a mediocre team to a 4-1 record,  we have ignored the biggest strength that Tebow does have – a quality that is possibly transcendent: a once-in-a-generation-like will to win.

What Tebow did on Thursday night could not have been more Jordan-like. How many times did Jordan fight through a tough game, battle against a defense whose entire goal was to stop him, only to rise to the occasion when it mattered the most and lead his team to victory?

Like Jordan, Tebow was a winner in college.

Like Jordan, Tebow makes the players around him better.

Like Jordan, Tebow does things a little differently.

Who cares if it wasn’t a playoff game? That might as well have been “The Drive 2.0.”

Nobody questions the fact that it was Jordan’s will to win that separated him from everybody else.

Image source: Interbasket.net

Let’s stop criticizing Tim Tebow for possessing “little more” than the “Will to Win.”

Wouldn’t that be the FIRST trait you would built upon if you were building “the perfect QB?”

So what that he’s unconventional.  Who cares?  Nobody had ever seen a 6’6″ shooting guard palm a ball in his hands and dunk from the free throw line before either. I think it’s safe to say we would all go through the Michael Jordan experience again.

Today, we will probably hear countless critics talk about Denver’s defense winning the game. Others will criticize the play of Mark Sanchez. All of them will try to argue that for 55 minutes, Tebow wasn’t good.  (Of course, they will ignore the fact that John Fox didn’t allow Tebow to do Tebow-Things until that point either.  With 8 minutes left, trailing by three with the ball inside your own 10-yard-line, you call THREE CONSECUTIVE RUNS into the middle of the line?  You have got to be kidding me.)

But once upon a time, Michael Jordan went 13 for his first 33 against the Utah Jazz in Game Six. What happened next?  Layup…steal…jumper…game time.

He got better when it mattered. And we praised him for it.

The Grass Is Green In Denver

Give Tebow the same benefit of the doubt. Maybe, like Jordan, he just lives for crunch time.

Let’s enjoy what we DO have.  Let’s appreciate his competitive fire.  Let’s admire the way his teammates ALL respond to him.  And who knows, maybe he will end up learning to throw the ball around a little bit after all.

When that happens, we can all stare at and be thankful for the greenest grass around.

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About Jon Washburn

Jon Washburn grew up in Indianapolis, IN and as such, is a diehard Pacers, Colts, and Cubs fans. When it comes to college, he cheers for Notre Dame football fan and Purdue basketball. Yes, this sounds shady, but since he grew up without cable, he learned to love Notre Dame - the only team on TV. Glenn "The Big Dog" Robinson was at Purdue when Jon was in his formative years, so he latched onto them as well. Did that make him a fair-weather fan at the time? Sure. Give him a break...he was 8...and he has stayed with those teams ever since. Currently, he lives in Charleston, SC with his wife who grew up in Cleveland. Although he is no longer physically in the Midwest, his heart will always be there. Jon goes by the name "Twitch" because he has Tourette's Syndrome. Hit him up on his twitter @jwtwitch.

Comments

  1. Tebow!

  2. Sean maupin says:

    Come on lets not be rediculous… Jordan dominated 4 quarters not the last minute of games. These two are not even in the same league. Like a senior in high school being compared to a kindergardener.

  3. I really really really want to hate on Tebow…But you guys are making it damn near impossible…

    Seriously though, if you are a hater of Tim Tebow, be a hater. If you are a lover of Tim Tebow, then be a lover.

    I am so sick of people (i.e. the World Wide Leader) flip flopping on this kid from week to week. He was the second coming of Christ after that win over Miami then gets run through the ringer after getting stomped by Detroit.

    I am a hater, no doubt, but that stems waaay back when people were screaming for him to start at Florida when they still had Chris Leak (who won them the National Championship in '06). I am a Buckeyes fan, so obviously I hate all things Florida Gators. My hate for Tim Tebow might be unsubstantiated, but whatever, in sports you can hate someone for the jersey they wear and that is enough.

    All I'm saying is pick a stance and stick with it…unless of course he changes jerseys to your teams..then get one with "Jesus" on the name plate.

  4. @MeganHine says:

    This is completely ridiculous. Tebow can thank his defense for last night's win. He got extremely lucky that with only seconds left on the clock that it was only a 10-10 game. Yes he did make a phenomenal last drive BUT was not very good at all in the first 97% of the game.

    • Feels like…sounds like…THE DOLPHINS GAME! Which he got sucked off for afterwards too…Just a regular Tebow cycle. They'll get stomped by the Chargers next week and the cycle will repeat itself.

  5. WakeAndBake says:

    Tim Tebow is to Michael Jordan as Mila Kunis is to Chris Farley.

    #VERIZONWIRELESS

  6. Have not read yet, but will shortly. Not surprising in the world of "occupy wall street" and name calling/hatred over facts, that we have people who absolutely refuse to give Tebow credit. The man is a winner over and over. This envy started with our sports media, and they set the tone for the views of most Americans, sadly. Ditto news media on politics.

  7. chriscallaway33 says:

    Having read the whole article, I understand the comparison and see it as valid. And you got the right city, but you kept misspelling Jay Cutler's name, and I don't know who that guy in the red jersey is.

  8. Now I've read–twice. A fantastic comparison, clever, fair-minded and very well-explained. Nice work, Jon. Haven't seen anything with this kind of depth and honesty from the elite sports media yet — nor will I. Apparently, whenever Tebow succeeds, it's the other team's fault in their minds, Such irresponsible, subjective journalism. This is why blogs outperform the "mainstream" media.

    Tebow: 4-1, considered "awful."
    Cam Newton: 2-7, considered a "future Hall of Famer, perhaps better than Marino" (Colin Cowherd and Trent Dilfer)

    • Josh Tinley says:

      I'm hesitant to ascribe a single point of view to the media, or the "elite sports media" or the "mainstream media." The media, especially in this day and age, isn't monolithic. There are certainly major media personalities who have been unfairly critical of Tebow (e.g. Bomani Jones, who I otherwise like). But it's not hard to find major media personalities who have praised Tebow:

      "You have to raise a toast to Tebow. You have to. Nothing like this has been done in the NFL since the Wildcat and this is even more impressive. That Jets defense Tebow was singlehandedly destroying is pretty good. Not great. But good. He was humiliating the Jets. Absolutely humiliating them."—Mike Freeman, CBS Sports NFL Insider

      "Tebow has four second-half comebacks in his eight NFL starts, including three in the last month, and he’s starting to earn a reputation like his boss, John Elway, Denver’s original Comeback Kid."—Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press NFL writer

      "TEBOW: 4 wins in 5 starts. Tebow in those 4 wins: ZERO TURNOVERS. Careful w/ throws, option ballhandling. Skip Bayless

      "Teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-bowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"—Bill Simmons

      "Credit to the Broncos for stealing the Raiders' "Just win, Baby,'' mantra and using it to go 3-1 in Tebow's four starts, thrusting Denver into the thick of the AFC West playoff race at 4-5. The Broncos game plans are so old-school that they might as well wear leather helmets, but they're also brutally effective. Who said you had to pass to win in today's NFL? These Broncos run on third-and-long and make no apologies for it. Being just a game out of first place means you never have to say you're sorry."—Don Banks, Sports Illustrated NFL writer

      "I'm going to call it right now: Tebow is going to throw his best ball of the night on this drive. Game over."—Jemele Hill

      "Five Tebow starts: Six touchdown passes, one INT, zero fumbles lost. One TO in 20 quarters. Music to Fox's ears."—Peter King, Sports Illustrated

      There are plenty of others who genuinely like Tebow but aren't convinced that his style of play will work long-term. This is a valid opinion.

      I don't know enough about the finer points of pro football to know where this Tebow thing will go, but it's been fascinating watching it unfold.

  9. Very good article. He’s a unique player. He’s got to look to sit in the pocket longer, and that’s like breaking a bad habit, but he can only get better at it. How much better is the question. The one thing that I would also say is that Jordan came into the league with a "can't miss" tag on his head. Tebow did not. And so that makes Tebow's early success look that much better. Anyway, good for Tebow, happy that his hard work is paying off so far.

  10. Robert Salazar says:

    I enjoyed reading the article. It’s a good comparison. I am a broncos fan. I have been all my life. It has been a while since I have seen anything worth cheering for since Elway retired. I am excited about the will that Tebow has to win. It reminds me of Elway’s drive to win when Elway laid out his body in the super bowl to gain an extra yard instead of sliding like most other quarterbacks. I’m also glad that Tebow hasn’t gone off and quit even though he is being trashed by the media. Thats just more evidence of his will to win. #VERIZONWIRELESS

  11. Reece Helms says:

    my mom couldve gotten more points than Shonn Greene

  12. Andrew Rysta says:

    Love Tim Tebow great Christian. Look up to him a lot.

    #VERIZONWIRELESS

  13. Joseph Brett says:

    #Verizon Wireless

  14. Sigh. This is the problem with wanting to see something, as opposed to seeing it, even in defiance of what they actually see. The very idea that Tim Tebow should be compared to Michael Jordan in any way shape and form is insulting to the intelligence of pretty much everyone. Jordan had the skills to go along with that drive. He was more talented than every other player in the NBA, and had an obsessive need to refine those abilities, so in concert with that drive he became truly exceptional. He was good from the moment he started until the last time he retired. Tebow has none of that. He has no QB abilities, fundamentals, or skills. His motion is terrible, his footwork is atrocious, and his reads are mind blowingly bad. He isn’t lighting the league on fire with his performances, he’s surprising the league because his terrible performances aren’t leading to losses. Huge difference. But people want to believe that a great kid with his priorities can defy the skeptics and be great in an “unconventional” way. Well, hate to break this to you, but there have been plenty of running QB’s, what’s unconventional about Tebow is he’s the first QB who can’t throw. Oh, and Jordan being a 6’6″ guard who “could palm the ball” was not unconventional. No one looked at Jordan and said “wha? You’re playing Jordan? But his hands are so big! I don’t care if he is averaging 28 per game in his rookie season, this is madness”! So again this idea of comparing Tebow to Jordan is amazingly ridiculous.

    But to the main question: How long can we ignore this? Remember 2 years ago when Josh McDaniel had the Broncos at 6-0? Or when Vince Young was winning games with Tenn? Or when the wildcat was the wave of the future? All during that time the constants were Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Small sample size applies to every sport, and last I checked Tebow has played about 10 whole games (and has been really bad in them all). Eventually he’ll get figured out. Eventually the Broncos will stop getting punt return td’s and defensive td’s. If you want to see a truly great young QB check out Andy Dalton. That’s reality. And to that main question, the answer is: not as long as you can ignore reality.

    • If only you knew something about sports. That is why this is insulting to your intelligence. Really Michael Jordan was that talented? That is why he didn't even make the UNC basketball team as a freshman. Tim Tebow is not being compared to Michael Jordan as a whole but they are comparing his will to win. I think it is extremely comparable. Tebow is the ultimate winner just like Jordan was. Certain players have that it factor. Derek Jeter in baseball has it while Alex Rodriguez doesn't yet A-Rod is still more talented than Jeter. Jeter elevates his teamates just like Jordan did, and Tebow does now.

      Stop ignoring the facts. As for Andy Dalton a very promising up and coming young quaterback but I wouldn't use the term great.

      • Josh Tinley says:

        Michael Jordan was on the UNC basketball team as a freshman. He was the ACC Freshman of the Year and hit the game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship Game.

        You may be thinking of his high school career, when he failed to make the varsity squad as a sophomore. By his senior year (thanks in part to a growth spurt) he was a McDonald's All-American averaging a triple double.

        Jordan was uber-talented. But I agree that his drive was unique among players of his caliber and was crucial to his success.

    • the same thing never happens twice. until you get that, you will never obtain wisdom.

    • Andrew Rysta says:

      Hey bro if you aren't smart enough Tebow can throw the ball. He has 750+ yards in eight games this season. He just beat the Jets D. He buddy do you know who they are…..hint hint Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott. They have an good D. Tim Tebow is getting consistently better and I want to ask you one thing where's Peyton Manning now, and his great "constantism" he is hurt.

  15. Tebow is great for the game. Makes the league more interesting!

  16. David Levy says:

    Good article. I respect WINNERS, thus I support Tebow. I don’t understand the hatred. All the guy has done is say the right things and play his ass off when given the opportunity. And oh yeah, WIN. He may last as a qb, may not, but he will find ways to help whatever team hes on win football games.

  17. #Verizon Wireless

  18. #Verizon Wireless

  19. #Verizon Wireless

  20. Gotta love Tebow, he's a good person and a good player, he doesnt get the passing yards and stats but he does the most important thing, WIN

  21. #Verizon Wireless

    winning a bionic would be awesome! :))

  22. Tim Tebow is good at what he does. He will never throw for 40-50 touchdowns, he will never throw for 300-400 yards in a game. But he does enough for his team to win the game. I do not think he will win very many playoff games. But he will win a lot of good Regular Season games.
    #Verizon Wireless

  23. sick of all this Tebow stuff, all i hear is Tebow this, Tebow that! The man completed 2 passes and he gets praised for it? What kind of QB only has 2 completions. This is DENVER Tebow! Not Florida!
    #Verizon Wireless

  24. #Verizon Wireless

    It's an interesting read, but in response to all those who argue about Tebow's mechanics, read this article and see how far mechanics take you: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/draft10/news/story?…

    I do believe that the Broncos success may not last. The Wildcat got figured out. The Patriots spread offense has been figured out. The Bears Cover 2 was figured out. But Tebow will continue to adapt if the coaching staff does their job and game plans for wins. They are doing that now, and finding success.

  25. The comparison to MJ is a stretch, but I see Washburn's premise. Winners. Tebow won at every level, and despite all odds (including his coach trying to lose!), he wins with a bad team. The media has brainwashed us all to believe that any and all credit goes to the O-line, defense, system, etc. No, it starts with thw QB. 10 TDs in 5 games. As a Bronco fans, I cant recall the last time Denver won at Oak & KC in the same season, much less back to back.

    All I heard on radio were excuses from the media about why Tebow sucks and gets no credit. I know these envious tools are jealous of Tebow, but it's also dishonest and, frankly, nauseating. If I need intense bias, dishonesty and hatred, I'll watch MSNBC.

  26. #Verizon Wireless

  27. Noah Helms says:

    #Verizon Wireless

  28. Mike Smith says:

    #Verizon Wireless

  29. Samuel Helms says:

    #Verizon Wireless

  30. Reece Helms says:

    #Verizon Wireless

    Go JETS! We need the Falcons to beat Tennessee

  31. Reece Helms says:

    #Verizon Wireless

  32. don't predict the future by another man's past. but do compare their will to win. you can't say tebow will fail because ronnie brown failed. you can't say that defenses will figure it out this time because they figured a wild cat out, last time. that was then, this is a different 'wildcat', now. you can't think tebow will win, only if he develops other skills like Jordan did. maybe tim will win without those skills. but i know you said 'maybe'. comparing wills to win is not a stretch, thogh. tebow and jordan are similar. i believe tebow will have rings, with or without skills.

  33. David Helms says:

    probably wont win but its worth a shot!

    #Verizon Wireless

  34. Noah Helms says:

    #Verizon Wireless

  35. Reece Helms says:

    wants this contest really badly

    #Verizon Wireless

  36. I WANT TO WIN THIS BADLY
    #VERIZON WIRELESS

  37. Go Panthers!

    #VERIZON WIRELESS

  38. Reece Helms says:

    for like the 10th time….

    #VERIZONWIRELESS

  39. #VERIZONWIRELESS

  40. #VERIZONWIRELES

  41. #VERIZONWIRELESS

  42. who won? #VERIZONWIRELESS

  43. can someone please tell me who Michael Jordan is?!? is he French?!?

  44. Billy Shakespeare says:

    who is Tim Tebow is she French ????????????????????????????

  45. Bob the Builder says:

    they did fix it (The Broncos)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] incredible “will to win,” which a writer from Midwest Sports Fans is going as far as calling Jordan-esque. Critics would be utterly remiss to not mention how well the Broncos underrated defense has been [...]

  2. [...] Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments! Tim Tebow, Michael Jordan, and the Will To Win I know he has a strong arm, but not an accurate one. One thing is for sure though: he has that fierce desire and will to win. How long are we going to keep ignoring this? More importantly, why do we look past that trait of his and not the others? … Read more on Midwest Sports Fans [...]

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