The Enigma That Is Tim Tebow
No one can argue the character, integrity and intangibles that Tim Tebow brings to any locker room. A league in dire need of players that uphold the high standards Roger Goodell has set, the NFL loves the image Tebow portrays.
With two BCS National Championships and a Heisman trophy, Tebow’s resume is arguably the best that CFB has ever seen. He’s a leader and dynamic playmaker at the collegiate level. If there was a play to be made for the Florida Gators, Tebow was clutch. Tebow took the SEC by storm and took the Gators to new heights under former head coach Urban Meyer.
Tebow stirred up controversy across the football world when Josh McDaniels, then head coach of the Denver Broncos, took Tebow in the first-round with the 25th pick in the 2010 draft. Beloved at the collegiate level, Tebow quickly became a polarizing figure as a professional. Interestingly enough, many analysts and former players didn’t believe Tebow would be taken earlier than the third-round let alone the first-round. It left the league divided, but many gave Tebow the benefit of the doubt that they hadn’t given previous players in the past that possessed a similar skill set.
Tebow was not the first great running quarterback to come out of college. Players like Tommy Frazier, Eric Crouch and Pat White were equally as productive as Tebow with similar, if not better, throwing ability, only to never be given the support or patience to develop as an NFL quarterback. Players like Michael Robinson of the Seattle Seahawks, Brad Smith of the Buffalo Bills, Armanti Edwards of the Carolina Panthers, Denard Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars and many others weren’t given a chance to play quarterback in the NFL after having productive college careers at quarterback.
Since when was someone drafted strictly for their intangibles rather than their ability? Tebow was never a first-round talent, which was obvious for most to see, yet he was given a pass, a pass that is still received with skepticism. Even if his intangibles were off the charts, the NFL is a talent acquisition league. If you are not supremely talented, no one respects your opinion, thus leaving you powerless in a leadership role. Intangibles do not work from the bench. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning can’t lead a team holding a clipboard.
Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson were far more accomplished passers at the collegiate level than Tebow and far better athletes. They both possess a lot more speed and agility, yet never garnered attention for first-round consideration. What is it about Tebow that makes people forget quarterbacks have to complete passes on a consistent basis to win at the NFL level?
After being traded by the Broncos to the New York Jets, prompted by the signing of Manning, Rex Ryan began to see everyday what John Fox had seen; a quarterback who didn’t have the ability to throw the ball accurately. As bad as Mark Sanchez played for the Jets, Ryan realized putting Tebow in for Sanchez was a slap in the face to the other players on the squad. His ineptitude at practice was overtly apparent and Ryan may have risked losing the team by starting Tebow.
Released by the Jets in the offseason, Tebow is now reunited with the man that drafted him. McDaniels is in his second stint as the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. McDaniels was probably the only person who believed Tebow’s intangibles warranted him being chosen in the first-round of the NFL draft. It looks as if Tebow has been given another lifeline, even as CFL and AFL coaches went on record stating Tebow didn’t throw the ball well enough to start on their squads.
It is an interesting dilemma; Tebow has become a divisive figure across the country, praised for his work ethic and character, chastised for his inaccuracy and understanding as a passer. As supporters look for him to get an opportunity, naysayers wish he would just change his position to fullback. He is built more like Peyton Hillis than Aaron Rodgers anyways; it would be a simple and seamless transition.
While there is no doubt in my mind that Tebow will make the Patriots roster, I do have doubts on whether it should be at the quarterback position.