Tim Tebow. The Broncos. John Fox.
What do we REALLY know about all of the above?
Not much, in my opinion. However, it seems that nearly every sports fan alive has an incredibly dogmatic viewpoint towards one or all all of these topics.
Be honest…this is not normal.
As a fan of all things Indiana, I could give you a full discourse on Reggie Miller (greatest shooter ever), Peyton Manning (better than Brady), Travis Best (worst point guard of all time), Mark Prior (I hate him), or anybody else that has ever played for one of my favorite teams. That’s what FANS do. We are fanatic about the players and teams that we cheer for.
Everyone else? That’s not really our area of expertise.
Give me three reasons why Christian Ponder will or will not be a ten-year starter in the NFL. How about Andy Dalton? What are your thoughts on Colt McCoy?
Unless you are an actual fan of Minnesota, Cincinnati, or Cleveland, you probably don’t have a strong opinion concerning any of those players.
And then there’s Tim Tebow. Why does everybody care?
The short answer…because of Tebowmania. The coverage devoted to Tim Tebow has been off the charts. Tebow-lovers constantly feel the urge to validate him because of the unbelievable coverage he has gotten. Tebow-haters constantly try to prove why that coverage is unjustifiable. The poor neutral people are trapped in the middle…they just want the coverage to stop.
Regardless, most people can’t turn the channel when Tebow is on (the ratings prove it)…so TV executives keep doing the “smart” thing and ram him down our throats over and over again.
BUT WHAT DO WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT TEBOW?!?!?!
Let’s put all of the biases aside, and examine the few facts that we do know.
- Fact: The Broncos won 7 of their past 31 games before Tebow…and have won 7 of their past 11 with him.
- Fact: Not a single one of those wins was against a playoff team.
- Fact: Teams win games…not players…unless of course, Peyton Manning is involved.
Listen, Tebow-haters, you can’t deny this first fact. The Broncos have been absolutely TERRIBLE for the past three seasons, and NOTHING is different about the team that Tebow has played on. In fact, the Broncos traded away their best wide receiver immediately upon Tebow’s arrival.
On the other hand, Tebow-lovers, none of Tebow’s wins look as impressive anymore. The Jets ended up being a fraud. Road wins against Oakland, San Diego, and KC were solid victories against division rivals, but none of those teams is anywhere close to elite. The Bears and Vikings? Laughingstocks. Ironically, his first win against the Dolphins looks like his best win of the bunch.
But on the OTHER hand (yes, we are now on our third hand), 3 of the 4 Tebow-losses were pretty respectable. The Patriots and Lions are playoff teams with outstanding offenses. The loss on the road in Buffalo is hardly a unique experience for a rookie QB.
Of course, at the end of the day (I may shatter the record for cliche usage by the end of this article), teams win games, not individual players. Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson have won as many Super Bowls as Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. That’s messed up. That’s also football.
Maybe we should put less stock in W’s and L’s in general when we try and evaluate individual players.
(Colin Cowherd would like me to mention that Tebow is playing on an amazing team with an incredible defense. I would calmly like to respond with this link. That’s right…come talk to me when your defense is better than Carolina’s. Yikes.)
A couple more facts:
- Fact: Tebow has succeeded in the clutch on numerous occasions.
- Fact: Tebow has been awful in crunch time the past two weeks.
What can you say? Neither of these facts is even CLOSE to being false. I really don’t know what either group can say to discredit the other concerning these two points. Let’s just move on.
(Of course, here is where Tebow’s haters scream, “Defenses have figured him out!!! He will never be clutch again!!!” as his supporters respond, “He’s throwing to guys like you and me!!!!” The lesson as always…sports writers like me should probably stop trying to bring facts into the equation – especially when dealing with topics as divisive as Tim Tebow.)
A few more facts:
- Fact: Tebow didn’t have time to prepare with his new coach until a month before the season, and to be honest, has had to learn this new offense on the fly since becoming the starter.
- Fact: Several other rookie/beginning quarterbacks have looked very good in recent seasons (Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and to a lesser extent Joe Flacco, Christian Ponder, Sam Bradford, and Matthew Stafford).
These two facts are hard to reconcile. Have the rule changes made it easier to succeed right away? Should we still give rookie/young quarterbacks some time to show us whether or not they will succeed?
I still am not sure about Tebow long-run, but personally I think the jury is still out. It usually takes us at least a year or two to really know whether or not a quarterback is going to succeed. Sure, Cam Newton and Andy Dalton have looked very good at times this season, but other young guys like Matt Moore have started to show us a lot in their last few starts after slower starts to their careers.
Mark Sanchez has looked just as up and down as Tebow has this season…and he just finished his THIRD YEAR of starting. Good grief, Alex Smith is STILL being given chances, five years after being drafted. I don’t think we should give Tebow five years…but I’m willing to give him one more.
Another awesome fact:
- Verizon Wireless has given me the opportunity to try out a Droid Bionic and a Motorolla Xoom for the past few months. I have already told you all about the Bionic, so I wanted to update you on the Xoom…
- First of all, for anyone that has ever thought that a tablet would be little more than a large toy, you are dead wrong. Internet browsing is so much nicer and easier on the Xoom. Not only can you get the internet almost anywhere in lightning-fast 4G, but it’s also much quicker and runs videos incredibly smoothly.
- I don’t own an ipad…I have heard they are awesome…but I have to say that the Xoom’s ability to seamlessly run flash videos really sets it apart from all of the apple products that I own. For anyone considering a tablet, I would definitely recommend going to your local Verizon store and checking out the Xoom.
Back to Tebow and the Broncos.
Two more facts:
- Fact: The Broncos have some of the worst skill position players in all of football.
- Fact: Tim Tebow has looked undeniably terrible on several occasions this season.
If not for the Cleveland Browns, I would have said that the Broncos easily have THE WORST skill position players in all of football. Don’t worry Cleveland, y’all deserve to win SOMETHING…so I will leave you in the running for this dubious award.
Regardless, who is Tim Tebow supposed to be throwing the ball too? Were ANY of Denver’s WR’s that are still on the team drafted in your fantasy league this year?
Willis McGahee has had an outstanding year, but he was supposed to be the backup this season. After that, the Broncos have a decent offensive line and little else on offense.
Of course, Tebow would appear vindicated if he were at least hitting open players. Greg Little once had FIVE dropped balls in one game for the Browns this season…Tebow can’t share Colt McCoy’s complaints. While the Denver wide receivers can only attain a comically tiny amount of separation for their QB, Tebow has been WAY off on a lot of throws this season.
What do these two facts mean?
I think they mean that Tebow CAN be successful – but only if he’s playing with some good players.
Clearly, he’s not Peyton Manning (how good does the Colts’ offense look this year?) or Tom Brady who can turn average Joes into Pro-Bowlers. Congratulations. Tebow is just like 25 other QB’s in the league.
What we need to know is if Tebow can be Matt Schaub – someone that can look great if he has some good players. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on this one – and we won’t know unless Denver gets him some weapons to play with this summer.
- Fact: John Fox has done a nice job of building an offense around Tebow.
- Fact: John Fox has killed the Broncos with some of the most ridiculously conservative play-calling I have ever seen.
On the positive side of things, anyone has to admit that Fox did something this season that maybe no other coach in the league would have done – he adapted.
How many coaches have we seen stubbornly hold to their system, all the while losing games and refusing to change his team’s philosophy? Fox saw what he had, and he practically built an offense on the fly in order to give his team a better chance to win. I think we can all agree that the Broncos would NOT be winning games if Tebow was forced to drop back 50 times a game and air it out.
On the other hand, Fox has turned the Broncos into an offense from the 1940s.
The ONLY time Fox lets Tebow throw the ball is on third and long. How many quarterbacks in the entire NFL are routinely successful in those situations?
And if Colin Cowherd is correct, and Matt Prater is the best kicker in football, then how come John Fox elected to punt the ball TWICE yesterday on field goals that would have been less than 56-yards? Just think about that…how different is yesterday’s game if Prater makes even ONE of those field goals early in the game?
Who punts with two and a half minutes left when trailing by four?
We get it Coach Fox, you play conservatively…but it’s getting harder and harder to believe that you are actually TRYING to win these games.
So what do we know?
A whole lot of nothing.
Of course, Tebow’s lovers will cherry-pick different points of mine so they can annoy the rest of America today. Tebow’s haters will do the same.
But me? I’m okay with not knowing anything yet.
Just like Andy Dalton, I THINK Tebow will succeed…but I honestly haven’t watched him enough to know yet. He’s a young QB. These things take time. We will all find out in two years, when he is either out of the league, settled into a backup QB or H-back role, or in the Pro Bowl.
Now, ask me something about Danny Granger…there’s something I REALLY know.