The most polarizing free agent in the history of sports is looking for a job. In most industries Tim Tebow has a lot of qualities that would make him a desirable hire. He graduated at the top of his class at a prestigious football university (Two-time national champion, Heisman Trophy winner). He has experience in his field (16 NFL starts) and some professional accolades (credited by many for “saving” the Denver Broncos 2011 season including a playoff victory).
Undoubtedly, Tim Tebow has achieved some outstanding feats in his football career.
So why is he going to have a very difficult time finding employment in the National Football League?
The answer is easier than many believe and it has nothing to do with Christianity or conspiracy.
To put it simply, Tim Tebow’s ability doesn’t warrant the distraction and fanfare that goes hand-in-hand with his presence. In a passing league where accuracy, arm strength and the ability to diffuse and disseminate defenses are required for long term success, Tim Tebow has none of those attributes.
So how has Tebow been able to experience the amount of success he has without many of the qualities which make great quarterbacks?
A combination of circumstance, good fortune and great teammates have aided Tebow through his journey. At the University of Florida, Tebow was a backup quarterback for the team’s first national title while the less celebrated Chris Leak led the way. Make no mistake, Tim Tebow was a great college player but that doesn’t make him qualified to play the quarterback position in the NFL (see examples Eric Crouch, Troy Smith, Jason White, Chris Weinke and Danny Wuerfful among others). While at Florida, Tebow played with 29 players who were selected in the NFL Draft, 11 of which who assisted him on offensive.
Did Tim Tebow win games in college? Sure, but so did those other stars who had a major part in the teams success.
Tebow’s run as starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos was certainly exciting and made for great television viewing. In 16 career starts he had a record of 9-7. That’s very solid, but after the run the Denver Broncos felt the need to upgrade the position and the following year with many of the same players won 13 regular season games.
The argument against making Tebow a starting quarterback is that his style of play can’t achieve success over an extended period of time. The two occasions where teams were able to play against Tebow for a second time, the Broncos offense sputtered. Denver scored a total of 13 points while Tebow completed just 15 of 48 passes for 196 yards, no touchdowns and an interception while taking seven sacks.
Tebow hasn’t proven himself able to go through progressions, throw accurately or not be a distraction. His rabid following has made him in one team executive’s opinion, “nuclear” for any team to sign. The minute any NFL team signs Tim Tebow the locker room immediately becomes all about him, due to the media coverage and fan following. Some of his former teammates have commented that Tebow isn’t the hardest worker and the media attention the quarterback gets has often made his more talented teammates jealous.
Whether you believe Tim Tebow is a great football player or the worst quarterback in football, he is certainly interesting and polarizing. The argument that Tebow “just wins games” falls short of reality as the quarterback lost four of his final five starts. The argument that Tebow “hasn’t been given a chance” simply isn’t true. In the NFL you make your own chances and coaches and general managers are hired and fired based on wins and losses. After seeing Tebow every day, does anyone really believe they wouldn’t play him if they truly believed he could help them win games?
Even if there are no jobs available to Tim as a quarterback in the National Football League, he still has options. If he wants to “lower himself” and actually prove his talents in a lesser league such as the CFL or Arena Football, he can do that. If he’s as hard of a worker as his followers believe, and if he wants to play quarterback as much as he says he does perhaps the CFL route is the one that will lead him back to the spotlight. If he’s more about the spotlight and being a celebrity, perhaps his next career path is full-time speaking engagements where he will likely earn a wonderful living.
To answer the original question, “Is Tim Tebow worth the trouble for a potential NFL team?” The answer is being spoken loudly by the teams who are quick to assert their lack of interest in the former college great.
Charlie Bernstein is the host of The Charlie Bernstein Show on Sportstalk 1040 The Team which can be heard Monday through Friday from 3-7 pm EST.