16 December 2011
I've reached my limit on all things Tebow. An ESPN headline and a Sports Illustrated photo manipulation have sent me over the edge.
Studies? Who was studied? Broncos fans? Gator fans? Born-again Christians? Rick Perry? I know. Skip Bayless!
I agree Tebow has become a phenomena. His religious views, and the effect his views have n how fans feel about him, is playing just as big a part in his popularity as his on-field heroics. But the over the top genuflecting over a QB whose numbers are more comparable to Tarvaris Jackson than Aaron Rodgers is getting ridiculous. If we must genuflect, it's should be toward the Denver defense, who have been the true hero of this 8 game run. For that matter, a shout out has to go to he Bears' Marion Barber who did all in his power to make Tebow look like the next coming of...well, let's not go there.
Without the Bronco defense coming up big at very opportune times, Tebow would be talked about as he was after the Lions took him to the woodshed. That being a backup talent who is getting lucky. The Lions had the perfect game plan. Take away the running game, make Tebow a pocket passer, and force him to beat you with his arm. He couldn't do it. Not for 4 quarters.
Despite what fans may think, NFL coaches are smart guys. They will figure out Tebow, and ultimately shut him down. I mean, if the Lions can...
In 2011, Tebow is 7-1 as a starter, using the rarely used script of "suck for 3 quarters, play respectably in the 4th while the opposition implodes" (aka Marion Barber'ed). I'm sorry, but getting Tebow'ed just isn't going to win games over the long run.
The first thing that comes to mind with Tebow, reminding me how fleeting NFL fame can be, is "Slash."
Kordell Stewart was the flavor of the NFL month in the early part of the 00's. After making the Pro Bowl in 2001, Slash was going to revolutionize the quarterback position. Hell, he was going to revolutionize football!
The NFL caught up to Stewart, as they do with any system QB. He was done as a full-time starting QB in 2002, an afterthought by 2003, out of football after 2005.
The revolution never came.
The NFL has seen QB's come and go who looked great for short periods, even entire seasons, only to be exposed as fraudulent, lucky, gimmcks, system QB's or some combination thereof.
There's plenty more...
All NFL franchises have had QB's who were good to great for a time, only to disappoint over the long run. Even the Lions have had their fair share of QB's who burned out after a brief flame of brilliance.
- Scott Mitchell, thanks to his great 1995 season, holds nearly all of the franchise's single season passing records.
- Charlie Batch was the anti-Mitchell, was over .500 his first 2 seasons as a starter (all of 2 games over, but it's the Lions, after all)
- Erik Kramer was a world beater in the 1991 playoffs.
- Eric Hipple had the best QB debut I've ever seen (Monday Night Football against the Bears on 10/19/81: 336 yards passing, 6 TD's, 2 rushing, 4 throwing).
- Gary Danielson took the Lions to the playoffs (Had a 5 TD passing day against the Vikes late in 1978, a winning record as a starter for 2 seasons).
Though fans desperately wanted it to happen, none of them were a savior.
Much the same can be said with offenses. This 2+ year old Dan Pompei headline is laughable now: "Dolphins’ ‘gimmick’ offense is here to stay." The Miami Dolphins' Wildcat offense, smoking hot 3 years ago, is nothing more than a blip on the radar today.
The run and shoot put up some crazy numbers, but was shot down. Steve Spurrier's college passing scheme was laughed at, then run out of the NFL. The same will ultimately happen with the modified option the Broncos are running with Tebow under center.
Gimmicks are never "here to stay" in the NFL. Which is why the rush to make Tebow the face of the NFL is too much, too soon, too over the top.
Honestly, Tebow-mania really reminds me of the George Blanda-mania of 1970. In one of the most remarkable stretches in sports history, the 43 year backup QB/PK, playing in his 21st season, came off the bench in 5 consecutive games and did the following...
On October 25, 1970 against Pittsburgh, Blanda came off the bench to throw three touchdowns and kicked a field goal to lead the Raiders to a 31-14 victory.
The next week in Kansas City, he kicked a 48-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to tie the Chiefs at 17.
The following Sunday, Blanda came off the bench to throw a touchdown pass to tie Cleveland at 20, then kicked a game-winning 52-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to earn the Raiders a 23-20 win.
The magic continued the next week when Blanda threw a touchdown pass late in the game to defeat Denver, 24-19.
The streak culminated with a 16-yard field goal with seconds remaining to beat San Diego, 20-17.
But Blanda's luck ultimately ran out. So will Tebow's. In the NFL, it always does. Luck is not a sustainable offensive game plan.
Whatever you want to call what Tebow has, be it force of will, the will to win, God is on his side...that's all well and good. But you can't just will the ball into the hands of your receivers, either. A career completion percentage of 48.9 gives me major doubts about the "will" thing working long-term. Accuracy trumps all, even God.
Tebow could turn into a serviceable starter, or more likely, a reasonably serviceable backup. But 8 games does not a career make. And it definitely shouldn't make Tebow the NEXT BIG THING, despite what loons like Skip Bayless would have you believe.
The time will come whenTebow makes us all look smart or dumb, depnding upon your point of view. We aren't there yet. Not even close.
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