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Tim Tebow was the definition of a star athlete during his four years at the University of Florida. He won the Heisman Trophy and three BCS Bowl Games. Two of them were national titles that came in just a three year span.
These are the facts that his supporters point out when they make their case as to why he will be a successful quarterback in the NFL. When labeled by many of his fans, both former and current teammates and coaches, peers, competitors, and even some of his critics as a football player, one simple word often comes to mind – winner.
He won in Gainesville and in 2011 he has won four of his first five starts as the Broncos quarterback. However, it would appear reasonable to note that Tebow’s inability to consistently throw the football at a high level is not enough to lead a championship caliber NFL team, no matter how much of the ‘it factor’ he may have.
So many people want to see him fail for a number of reasons – he is lowering the standards of performance at the position, he wears his religion on his sleeve, and he has this never-ending optimism about his job no matter what the critics say about him. A vast amount of viewers have also lost hope because — this is the NFL.
Not to say that FBS football is a walk in the park, but Tebow’s mechanical flaws at this level don’t display promise for translating into a great degree of success. Several NFL analysts such as former quarterback Trent Dilfer of ESPN agree that his throwing motion is severely prolonged and it’s an advantage to all eleven defenders he’s up against.
Lineman have that extra second or so to get to him, defensive backs have that slight moment to get a jump on the football, and linebackers will have that slim instant to either adjust in coverage or continue their pursuit of him. If that isn’t enough, his accuracy has been atrocious. He has completed only 44.8% of his passes this year, when an NFL quarterback is expected to be at the very least in the fifties, but more preferably the sixties.
He’s missed a number of wide open receivers, he’s constantly overthrowing those who have their man beat downfield, he’s throwing behind them when they create small windows that need to be hit, and for a young man with extremely muscular arms – he tends to underthrow and short-hop his teammates much too often.
‘He wins’ is what his believers always claim. They believe that that’s all that matters. But take a look at who the Broncos have beaten and the fashion in which they did so. The Dolphins couldn’t recover an onside kick late and gave up the game tying touchdown in a prevent defense, Carson Palmer was making his first start for the Raiders, the Chiefs allowed him to complete 2 passes the whole game, and the Jets had to fly cross-country on three days of rest coming off an emotional loss to the Patriots.
The competition will improve. And is it realistic to believe that this option-style offense will continue to win games? The NFL has tended towarda a predominantly passing league over the last few years, and not only are defenses expected to catch up as they always do, but being a runner will also put Tebow in more situations where he is likely to get injured. Just look at Michael Vick and the numerous injuries he’s suffered throughout his career.
Even Tebow’s own bosses don’t show confidence in him. John Elway, former Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Broncos and current Executive Vice President of football operations for the team continuously denies that Tebow is the future of the organization when asked after every game. Head coach John Fox also admitted that the quarterback would be “screwed” if he had to run a traditional offense.
With all that being said, it doesn’t appear that Tebow will have long-term success in this league unless he finds a way to become a truly efficient pocket passer. People had the same doubts about Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton before this year’s draft, and now he is completing exactly 60% of his passes. The transformation is possible, but is all dependent on Tebow’s physical ability and mental commitment.
However, unless that happens, the future doesn’t seem too bright in Denver.
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