The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Bickett’s ticket: Why can’t we be friends?

If you’ve somehow avoided ESPN in the past two weeks, you missed the news that Tim Tebow started at quarterback for the Denver Broncos last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.  You also probably know by now, unless you’re woefully unaware, that Tim Tebow and the Broncos beat the Dolphins thanks to an unprecedented (or messianic?) comeback in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter.  This has caused quite a stir in the football world, for multiple reasons.

For some reason, America is split on Tebow.  You’re either pro-Tebow, or anti-Tebow.  There’s no in-between.  My house is the epitome of this phenomenon.  We are split right down the middle, with two people on each side and no one ever changing sides.  It’s hard to find someone who has switched from the anti-Tebow to the
pro-Tebow camp.

Most Tebow haters use his lack of statistical accomplishment as reasoning for calling him a bad quarterback, or not giving him credit in general.  This isn’t surprising, given America’s love of stats when it comes to sports.

By all statistical measure, Tebow is a barely-average or below-average quarterback.  But you can’t use stats to evaluate Tebow.  You can’t use stats to evaluate him because what Tebow does doesn’t get measured with stats.  Tebow’s intangibles have won games all by themselves.

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His intangibles actually ran a 4.6 at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in 2010.

This preponderance of intangibles and lack of statistical relevance is one of the reasons why the football world is up in arms over Tebow.  We like it when we can measure things with stats and rely on them.  This is why we can’t tell if Mark Sanchez is good or not.  Yes, he’s won four road playoff games and been to the AFC Championship game two years in a row.  But you could say his defense carries him, the offense relies on the run game, and his stats aren’t that good.

Tebow has taken this Sanchez model to the extreme.  Tebow’s stats are worse than Sanchez’s, and Tebow doesn’t even win as many games as him.  Yet there are supporters out there who clamor for him to start, for the Broncos to give him a chance.  When the Broncos have let Tebow play, the electricity and attitude have been undeniable.  The Broncos play with a fire that isn’t seen when Kyle Orton is leading them.  This might be due to the fact that Tebow has a four-sizes-too-big Grinch heart, while it’s hard to tell sometimes if Orton even cares about playing.  Tebow is constantly imploring his teammates to succeed, and players respond to that.

There are some who say that Tebow can’t overcome his poor throwing mechanics, that they’ll always be detrimental to his success.  But then, is there a perfect motion for throwing a football?  Every quarterback is different.  No two quarterbacks have the same motion, and no quarterback has a perfect motion.  Maybe Tebow can’t overcome his mechanics.  But he will work hard to change them, which is a key point.  It appears that Tebow may be the James Brown of the NFL, the hardest-working man in football.  It’s because of this ethic that he will be successful someday.

Now those are just a couple of reasons to look at the complex quarterback that is Tebow, and honestly, this column could have been 2,000 words.  There are so many more things to say about him, like his college success not translating to the pros, or the constant comparisons to Cam Newton, which are coming.  If you think I’m crazy, look at the facts.  They’re both two-time BCS national champions, and they both won Heisman Trophies.  They were both drafted in the first round after analysts predicted they wouldn’t translate to the pros.  They’re destined to be compared to each other as professional quarterbacks.

Those are just a couple of ways to look at the complex issue that is Tebow’s success, or lack thereof.  I also didn’t even mention his faith or religious beliefs, which are a column all itself.  His faith and moral compass give him a respect for the people who criticize him, and make him unflappable to the noise.  All he does is respond with a smile and a “God bless.”

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