Over the past six weeks I have watched the criticism of Tim Tebow grow into a national past time. Tebow’s pre-game warm-up during one of the preseason games last month was said to be “the worst warm-up ever seen in the NFL”. Yet he continues to be one of the biggest names in all of sports. Will Tim Tebow’s fame outlast this season, or will he someday grow into a great NFL quarterback?
There are several reasons why I believe we will continue to see Tebow in the league for a long time, and not just as a benchwarmer. One of the best comparisons I find for Tebow can be made with one of the all time greats, and ironically one of the all time most hated players in the NFL. Yes you guessed it – Brett Favre. Whether fans hate Favre for his over-dramatic play, the way he betrayed Green Bay, or because he retired more times than we can count, it is hard to ignore the mind-blowing player he became during his career. Favre was a great leader, hard worker, and winner. He had the uncanny ability to rebound from a bad mistake, make a play out of nothing, and lead his team to victory. The way he played the game did not fit the perfect NFL mold of a quarterback like a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Brett Favre played the game his own way and was incredibly successful at it, and for that I applaud him. In many ways, Tim Tebow did the very same during his college career. Now I know what you’re thinking, the NFL is not college football, and I agree with you. The NFL is much faster, more complex, and requires a much higher level of play to be successful. Although Tebow needs to improve in many areas to become a starter in the NFL, he does have the leadership, hard working qualities, and desire to win that a quarterback needs in this league. That is something you cannot teach and something that does not come along very often.
One of the most impressive things Favre did during his career was hold the record for the most consecutive regular season starts at 297, a record that is remarkable and among one of the greatest sports achievements of all time, up there with Cal Ripken, Jr. From Tebow’s college career we know that he is one tough dude and he’s played through his own list of injuries. Tebow played with a broken right hand in the second half of the 2007 game against the Florida State Seminoles and had to wear a cast during the next three games. He also played with a bruised shoulder, broken throwing hand, respiratory illness, rib injury, and others. The truth is that toughness certainly does not equate success in the NFL, but it is a sign that Tebow is more likely to have to be dragged off the field by John Fox because of injury before he ever turns into a Jay Cutler at a conference championship game. Tebow is out there to win the game through sweat, blood, and tears.
One of the most questionable aspects of Tebow’s game has to do with his throwing mechanics. Many, such as Merril Hoge, have criticized Tebow for having “awful” pre-game warm-ups, terrible practices, and not able to even hit the atrocious mega-sized Sports Authority at Mile High sign on one throw (okay, I made that up). Now I know that Tebow’s throwing mechanics need to improve, but I have a hard time understanding why he’s viewed as the worst passing quarterback in the history of the NFL it seems. During my time at the Broncos training camp I saw Tim Tebow hit multiple receivers right in the numbers, and have seen him make several perfect throws during preseason games. Either way, throwing mechanics are something that can be learned. Tebow’s career should not be condemned for failing to have flawless throwing mechanics. To say he can’t improve his throwing motion is like telling an average golfer he can’t improve his golf swing. It is downright irresponsible. Tebow can and will improve his throwing mechanics, and when he does the NFL better watch out. Tim Tebow is here to stay, and may even leave a legacy behind.
A symbolic photo for the future perhaps?