On one level, I understand Tebowmania. An overlooked, unpolished athlete, told his entire life he doesn’t have what it takes, proves the skeptics wrong and sticks a thumb in the eye of conventional wisdom. It’s the ultimate Rudy story, and who doesn’t love rooting for the underdog.
Except there’s one big problem with this narrative.
In this case, the establishment is right. Tim Tebow can’t play.
Now, if you’re one of the faithful, you might be shouting, ‘What about his record?’
True, Tebow is 8-5 as a starter and seems to have some good leadership intangibles. But Tebow Nation is conveniently forgetting there are 11 men on the field. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl with a Baltimore team built on defense and a strong running game, and despite his ring no one has ever suggested he was a great quarterback. In fact, when people are feeling charitable, the best they can do is toss out words like ‘decent’ and ‘competent’ to describe Dilfer’s career.
But Tebow has an emotional hold on people which defies all logic.
Here’s the hard truth. Tim Tebow is not a quarterback. A quarterback’s primary job is to throw the ball, and Tim Tebow can not throw. In 30 years of watching football, I have never seen a less accurate quarterback. It’s often hard to tell if he’s trying to hit one of his receivers or commit intentional grounding . As soon as the ball leaves his fingertips, after his awkward and mechanically incorrect motion, it floats like a sickly, warbly badminton birdie. No surprise, Tebow completed just 46.5% of his passes, easily the worst percentage in the league. His QB rating wasn’t much better, 72.9, ranking him as one of the NFL’s 5 worst at his position. It could have been worse, but his throws are so wild, it’s just as difficult for defensive backs to intercept his passes, as it is for his receivers to catch them.
Now, time to address the elephant in the room.
Tebow wears his evangelical faith on his sleeve. What he believes is his business, and he has the right to express himself, but as a non believer I find him annoying at best- sanctimonious at worst. Many NFL players are deeply religious, but they don’t paint bible passages on their face, kneel down in prayer after every touchdown (as if God really cares about the Denver Broncos) or start every news conference by thanking “my lord and savior Jesus Christ.” Even Kurt Warner, a man of deep faith, has publicly suggested Tebow “tone it down.” This aggressive form of Christianity has predictably captured the imagination of Palin/Perry/Bachman-Nation, who see Tebow as one of their own.
Fortunately, unlike politics, it’s hard to spin facts in the world of sports. So anyone who watched the Patriots’ thorough 45-10 demolishment of the Broncos this past weekend, got a glimpse into Tebow’s NFL future. He was a feeble 9/26 with 136 yards, most of which came in garbage time.
The Lord may have big plans for Tim Tebow, but they’re certainly not in the NFL.