Getting real: Give Tebow a shot or set him free
ESPN’s Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith had one of the most heated debates on Thursday morning on ESPN's First Take when it comes to the subject of Jets quarterback Tim Tebow.
While their tirade went off on several tangents, their bottom line was right on the money – Tebow wins games and in the 2011 regular season won more NFL games than he lost at 7-4 as a starter for Denver.
Bayless is such a huge Tebow supporter he has urged the Jets to free Tim Tebow to give him new life on a new team and started a “free Tebow campaign” on Twitter using the hash tag #freeTimTebow.
The problem with many NFL coaches and officials is that they are purists who have preconceived ideas about how things should always be done. A successful NFL quarterback is someone who is supposed to be around 6-foot-5 with an accurate, strong arm. They typically stay in the pocket but if they scramble there better be a good reason for moving out of that pocket and they better be able to throw accurately on the run.
Completion rates have to be high. A quarterback better be able to deal with pressure and make quick decisions - read defenses and be able to check down from one potential receiver to another within seconds until an open guy is found.
And oh yeah, you need to win games.
But being unconventional leads to unpredictability and ultimately excitement for fans.
Just about everyone who talks about Tebow prefaces their discussion by saying Tebow isn’t a good quarterback and is far from being a prototypical NFL quarterback.
But the guy just wins.
In college while playing for Florida from 2006-09, he led the Gators to two national championships, was nominated three times for the Heisman Trophy and won it in 2007.
Last season Tebow became a media sensation, leading a Denver team that was 1-4 when he became the starter to the playoffs and then pulling off a huge upset with a win over Pittsburgh in the first round of the NFL playoffs.
Here is an example of what Tebow has the potential to produce – in the 29-23 OT win over Pittsburgh he threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, including the memorable 80-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play in overtime.
The recent Tebow bashing also had me thinking about a commentary that D.J. Gallo wrote for ESPN.com during the 2011 regular season comparing Tony Romo, considered a prototypical quarterback, to the unconventional Tebow. Here is the link - http://es.pn/oIvs6H.
I’ve always been a big Tebow fan and I’ve always believed he could be successful in the NFL.
There is something special about Tebow when he is on the football field. He finds a way to make positive things happen for his team and I believe it starts with his faith. He certainly wears his religion on his sleeve, but I believe his religious faith is what gives him a positive take on the field on every down and every situation. It is that religious faith that gives Tebow the faith in himself to produce, faith in his teammates to produce and faith in his coaches to make the right moves and decisions. The results were obvious in Denver last season with Tebow’s late-game successes, his poise under pressure and overall leadership ability.
NFL experts have said Tebow is a product of the system he was in during his college days and it didn’t transition well to the NFL game. The key is for an NFL team to instill that similar system that works for a Tebow-run spread option offense and to also have a strong defense that complements that offense.
The exciting thing for fans is you never know what is going to happen with Tebow on the field. You could get an 80-yard TD bomb or a 50-yard running play. You could also get a few sacks and interceptions. But with Tebow starting it's never boring and based on his makeup and history he will always try and make something positive happen.
The Jets should give Tebow a shot and a start for one game to see what would happen. If not, like Bayless says, free Tebow and let him go to a different struggling NFL team that would embrace an unconventional spark.