The Tim Tebow phenomenon has captivated the NFL. How else can you explain that a game between the 0-5 Miami Dolphins and the 1-4 Denver Broncos would get such grave national attention? Since his college days at the University of Florida playing for the Gators where he was a polarizing national champion, a Heisman Trophy winner, and an outstanding student athlete, he has gained a myriad of followers and supporters. The question has always been does he have the skills to be a top flight NFL quarterback?
Former Denver coach Josh McDaniels thought so, by drafting Tebow with the 25th pick in the first round of the 2010 draft. This move was criticized by many, as most experts did not believe Tebow was worthy of being a first round pick at the QB position. Many argued that his best value in the NFL may be as a tight end, a wide out, or a player used in special packages, as the New York Jets did with Brad Smith. Last year when the Broncos season was a lost cause, Tebow got the opportunity to start in the final games.
He played well in these games and showed a special ability to play well in the clutch. This still did not earn him the starting job in 2011, as there still remained questions about his throwing motion, accuracy, and overall mechanics. Also, running quarterbacks are often frowned upon as far as transitioning to the NFL. Critics believe that running quarterbacks are prone to injury, and can’t withstand the pounding of NFL defenders.
That being said, this year after the Broncos started out 1-4 under the hand of Kyle Orton, they decided to give Tebow the keys to the car. In his first game, after having an atrocious first three quarters where he went 4 of 14 with 40 yards passing, he led them on an improbable comeback down the stretch. Trailing 15-0 with 5:23 left in the fourth quarter, Tebow lead the Broncos on two touchdown drives of 80 and 56 yards, sandwiched around a successful onside kick. The rally was completed by Tebow converting a two-point conversion by scoring on a quarterback draw. This would tie the game, and Denver would go on to win on a field goal in overtime.
This game pretty much sums up all the pros and cons of Tim Tebow. For the first three quarters, he looked lost, was wildly inaccurate, and his decision-making was questionable to say the least. Then when it became crunch time, he rose to the occasion and led his team to a miracle comeback victory. Tebow’s skeptics say that he is mechanically flawed, his supporters say he “just wins games”. Both views were represented in this performance.
Personally for me the jury is still out on Tebow. I am neither a strong skeptic, nor a fanatic supporter. I believe he has some great attributes; he is a natural leader, a fierce competitor, he’s big, strong, and mobile, and a proven winner. But to be a successful NFL quarterback you have to mechanically sharp, accurate, and be able to play in the pocket. He so far has not shown me that he has the latter qualities. This is not to say that they can’t be acquired. I do however believe that he was drafted too high. I think that he probably will be most effective as a specialist/hybrid, like Brad Smith mentioned earlier. I do not think that he will shine as an every down starting QB, unless his mechanics and accuracy drastically improve. But with his heart, and work ethic I would not be at all surprised if he did become successful, and maintained a starting job. And I hope he proves me wrong. These next few weeks should bring clarity on where he fits in the NFL.