I hate Tim Tebow. I hate him. I loathe him. I've felt this very same way, this very same pulse of boiling bile for that tremendous blowhard I just watched beat the New York Jets, since his days at in Gainesville. I hated him when he was winning national titles and when he gave interviews after bowl games. There's nothing about Tim Tebow that I like.
After the game last night, I watched Sportscenter. I saw Teddy Bruschi and Mark Schlereth say "even after a terrible game, Tebow just finds a way to get it done and get the win. He's a winner". Tim Tebow was on the winning team. I've been told over and over again that the guy is a winner. But why is it that every time I watch the guy play professional football, I don't ever get that feeling?
I'm a big proponent of winning. I don't always immediately support the athletes that have the flashiest style or the most imagination-defying moves. What I will do is support those who have all those qualities, and then use them to lead their teams to victory.
I hate Paul Pierce. I wanted that wheelchair in game 1 of the 2009 NBA Finals to be a permanent fixture near his lower extremities. Regardless of our mutual city origins, I could not want that 6'7" piece of human excrement coming anywhere near my fair hometown, except if we are going to beat him in game 7 for the championship. But I respect Paul Pierce. What he has done for his team has directly lead to victory. There are many reasons why the Celtics have won a championship and came within minutes of winning another, but amongst them, he is one of the most chief. I see his abilities and regardless of the emotional harm they did to me, I still begrudgingly respect him.
Why don't I feel that way about Tim Tebow? My roomate and I just had a 30 minute "discussion" of whether or not I consider Tim Tebow a winner in the National Football League.
Tim Tebow is that guy in college who you hated. You know that guy; the douchebag at the bar who is fist pounding at the mere piano intro of "Don't Stop Believin'". The guy who pounds a beer and throws his arms up in victory. The guy who earnestly talks about his accomplishments and whose seeming humility must be hiding a dark past littered with dead cats and tube socks. He's the guy who you've met literally a dozen times, and yet he can never seem to remember your name. He's the jackass that thanks God for everything he does to the point that it seems disingenuous, although in reality it is probably just as earnest as it reads. He's the guy who I've always said I would fight if I saw him on the street, but ultimately wouldn't, because I am 5'7" and full of shit. He is a trememndous blowhard. I'm sorry for using the same term twice, but it's the most accurate description I can possibly muster. He is a tremendous, tremendous, tremendous blowhard.
But he also was a tremendous collegiate athlete. One of the best to ever play, in any sport, in any era. I watched him throughout his college career; his combination of bruising physicality, moderate speed and incredible charisma led Florida to two national championships. He was the best player on the best team, twice. I can't take that away from him. At that point, I just hated him because he was good and because, yes, he was still a tremendous blowhard.
Here we are now, in 2011 and Tim Tebow is furbees, trucker hats and pogs all rolled into one, vomit-inducing blue and orange package. He is arguably one of the top 5 most popular players in the NFL. Even I, as a novice to football and a fringe NFL-fan (at best), understand that. He is playing for a Broncos team that has won 4 out of his 5 games as a starter. His standout series last night was a magnificent 92 yard drive that sealed the victory for Denver. In that last 5 minute stretch, Tim Tebow was fantastic, and I won't take that away from him. Though unconventional, I have to admit that Tebow looked like a genuine professional athlete for 5 mintues. Too bad he was awful for the other 55 minutes of the game.
Tim Tebow completed 9 of his 20 passes. When he threw, he reminds me of what I look like when I throw left-handed. I'm right-handed. Color commentator Mike Malock said at least 3 times "well, those are just throws an NFL quarterback has to make. I mean...he's right there". Tim Tebow looked like a running back playing quarterback because the first through ninth string guys were all injured. There was nothing about his actual play that helped his team win for the first 55 minutes. Sure, his team scored 10 points - but those were scored by the defense and a kicker. He was awful. I saw that.
I don't know how Tebow has managed a couple game winning drives in the fourth quarter. Maybe, as MAMBINO rook TuckRule has suggested, maybe Tebow is the son of God himself. For this, you either love him or hate him, but no matter who you are, he has done some incredible work in isolated segments the past month or so.
My argument with my roommate last night encompassed what the definition of a winner is. Yes, Tebow was a winner in college for the Gators. But to compare his level of physical and mental football skill that leads to a W from the college level to the professional level is a foolhardy endevour. As we've seen with college athletes from all types of sports (see: Morrison, Adam; Reddick, JJ; Smith, Troy; Leinart, Matt), skills don't necessarily transfer in full from one place to another. What I can see is that Tebow's play nearly cost his team the game last night. He couldn't make crucial throws to wide open receivers that an NFL-average quarterback would easily handle. His scrambling, while effective to a point, didn't make his decision making much better. After 3 quarters of 3 and outs, anyone watching that game would say that Tim Tebow was easily the biggest reason why the Broncos had not scored an offensive touchdown. The Broncos defense was absolutely stifling against a Jets offense that granted, hasn't fared well against good run defense all year. Watching the first 55 minutes of that game in comparison with the last 5 was positively stunning. How could everyone in the world be attributing all the success the Broncos are having simply to Tim Tebow?
I've heard a lot of phrases like the one uttered by Teddy Bruschi, "I don't know how he's doing it, but he is". The Denver Broncos, with an unconventional, inexperienced quarterback and no real discernable skill players, are somehow inexplicably defying the odds and winning games. The key word here is "inexplicable".
I'd agree; this winning streak of theirs is completely inexplicable. They manage to hang around in games, and then, for a magical drive or two a game, the team seems to put it together and win. They are winning ugly, but as they always say, the scorecard doesn't descriminate with how your W looks; it's still a W. But let's examine this logically. If their winning is inexplicable, i.e. without any type of visible empirical explanation, wouldn't you try to find some kind of rational reason why they're winning? Sure Tim Tebow showed up and they started winning games, but look at how he's played. Just watch him. He's awful! That being the case, how could anyone point to a quantifiably flawed part of the Broncos and say that out of everything, he's the reason on the field why the team is winning? It's downright illogical to try to find an explanation for something positive and point to a rationale that is, 80% of the time, only putting forth negative contributions on the field. Get it together America! What is happening right now goes against the laws of physics. You wouldn't talk about a house sponteanously burning into flames and say that the fountain outback probably led to the fire.
One point to Tebow's credit: I have no idea what he's doing to the locker room. Sure, it's easy to say that a good looking collegiate champion who loves Jesus is going to galvanize a locker room full of grizzled veterans mired in an early season slump and propel them into a race for a playoff spot (which is happening - the Broncos are a game out of first place). But it's also easy to think that the rest of the team thinks he's a joke who can't pass and won't last in the league. I don't know. I'm not in that locker room. If his leadership is so great that he could take a team destined for a top 10 draft pick and turn them into a playoff squad, maybe I would have to re-examine my point of view.
Tim Tebow is on a team that wins. But I do not believe that his contributions are the reasons why the team is winning on the field. They won by a touchdown last night, that to Tebow's credit, he scored on a miraculous drive down field. However, would they have been in that hole in the first place had Tebow not played so terribly for 55 minutes? Is he wasting a dominant defense that should lead to blow outs rather than 4th quarter wins? Tim Tebow is not a winner. Yet. He's had his team cover up the fact that his skill doesn't match his passion. Tebow is 24 years old. He has plenty of time to prove me wrong.
But no matter what, he'll still be a tremendous blowhard.