The Tebow Debate: The Believers and the Haters


By Tim Marcin

Elm Staff Writer


Here it is: the obligatory Tim Tebow article.  I’ll start this article with a little bit of a warning.  I’m a Tebowmaniac.  I believe in the great power of Tim Tebow.  I believe in character.  I believe in a high-school offense.  I believe in intangibles.  I believe that every cliché sports speech about heart and the power of team has been proven true.

Yet I wonder, why do I have to say I believe in Tim Tebow?  I think that Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL.  I have never caught myself saying I believe in Aaron Rodgers.  Tebow is the most polarizing player in the league because the discussion surrounding him has broken down into factions—the believers and the nonbelievers.  Like a political debate or more fittingly, a religious argument, the gap between the sides has been separated decisively.

Why is there such a divide?  Simply put, because Tebow showcases his religion much like other athletes showcase their jewelry, touchdown celebrations, or model girlfriends.  Fair or unfair, this is a time when openly displaying your religion makes many Americans uncomfortable.  Tebow writes bible verses on his eye-black and people cringe.  His goody-goody, wholesome image drives people crazy.  Many of those who do not believe in him want to see him fall.  Nobody can be that perfect, they think.  They pessimistically root against a person who dares the world to challenge his image, his religion, his throwing motion, or anything else they can dream up.  I want to see a person who has the willpower and intense confidence succeed.  Call me an optimist.

Now granted, there are those who do not root against him, but do not think he is a good enough quarterback to sustain his winning ways of late (5-1 as a starter in 2011).  I guess in a debate that feels inherently religious, they are the agnostics—not in full support, but not fully against either.  I admit he is not the best thrower in the history of football.  He will never drop a ball on a dime to the back shoulder like Aaron Rodgers.  I do think, however, that he has something, the proverbial it, that can will a team to win.  Will the read-option offense the Denver Broncos run be a sustainable model for success?  Probably not.  Will Tim Tebow find another way to win?  I believe he just might.

4 thoughts on “The Tebow Debate: The Believers and the Haters

  1. I think the read-option, shotgun/pistol offense is very sustainable in the NFL. People haven’t tried it because of the old stand-by cliches like “you get the QB hurt” or “NFL defenses are too big and fast for college plays to work.”

    The eternal folly of the latter dogma is amusing because the child understands what the adult cannot: PRO OFFENSES ARE ALSO A STEP UP. Few still realize that when Lombardi came into the NFL from college football, teams were throwing. Vince was told “Nobody runs a lot anymore, the athletes on defense are too big and fast.” Lombardi immediately said “My athletes on offense are equally big and fast” and the rest is history.

    Getting the QB hurt is of course bad, but if you’re a proven durable runner with the body of a fullback, carrying 15 times a game is preferable to standing and getting drilled from the blind side. Since the tremendous running production that the option game brings you also wears down the defense & negates a pass rush, I’d say it’s worth the trade off. More QB’s are hurt running for their lives than on designed runs.

    Besides, the whole “Your play won’t work because the LBs are bigger/stronger/faster/named Von Miller” stuff is fallacious in a very easily shown way. Because if they’re saying there’s an inverse relationship between the size/speed of linebackers vs. the level of production in running option plays, then what accounts for the apparent lack of such disparity in all American football outside of the NFL? High School teams don’t seem to automatically have more success running a triple-option scheme than say, Navy or Georgia Southern. There are more losing Pee-wee and Freshman football teams running the Tim Tebow read-option than you can shake a noisemaker at. What about all the nasty-bad colleges in weak conferences, like New Mexico, that run read-option? You’d think they’d have a winning record, all those small linebackers & such.

    So then they say that it will work at Division 2 and not 1, and now most teams in Division 1 run some type of option plays. Then they said it couldn’t win it all and Tebow of course did the rest.

    Just think if an NFL team adopted the shotgun-spread option offense and built around it. What if you had more than one superb runner at QB, who was smart and could throw deep when defenses cheat, like the Vikings did today? What if you built a line and receivers specifically to zone block, run and throw deep?

    1. He’s a first round draft pick biehnd an average quarterback in Kyle Orton. These days almost every first round quarterback is starting in Week 1 so he’s an exception (not that I hold that against him). He’s not a phenomenal athlete for any position outside of QB although he is incredibly strong for a quarterback, possesses a strong arm but not elite speed, in the sense that he won’t be able to operate the Wildcat or a similar formation in a similar way to how Ronnie Brown does.As for college records and performances I think we all know that they don’t equate to professional ability (taking snaps under center, reading coverages, etc) as it is very much a different game. Who knows how well he will do but he’s certainly on his own in terms of hype, ability, adoration for someone who hasn’t taken a snap in a regular season game. That’s why these sort of articles are appearing.

  2. FIrst of all, Tım, I’d like to congratulate you on a well written article. What bothers me slightly, however, is that you’ve fallen into the age old trap Sports Journalists do when they attempt to translate the eloquent language of football to the uneducated masses. How many players are there on the field at any gıven time? No matter the skill of any quarterback, there are still 10 other men on his offensive that he must rely on to do their jobs with the same degree of perfection, every single play. Why don’t we hear about the absolutely stellar offensive line that allows Tebow quarterback his unconventional style? For every fan who can ramble intelligently about how “Tebow is the second coming of Christ” or “the worst quarterback since Todd Marinovich”, there are 50 who make the same argument yet cannot differentiate between a Guard and a Tackle, and even more who believe that Jesus magically hands Tebow the ball on every play…rather than J.D. Walton, the soon to be All-Pro Center who was named No.1 in his position prior to entering the draft.

    My only point is, the obsession with Tebow confuses the success of a football TEAM with an individual player’s athletic talents. Is Tebow a highly talented quarterback? Without a doubt. Could he beat any team singlehandedly? Only if you ask Skip Bayless.

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