This past Sunday witnessed one of the more lopsided encounters of the NFL season so far, as the Detroit Lions battered quarterback Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos up and down the field all afternoon. Not only did the Lions win 45-10, they made Tebow look simply atrocious.
“We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn’t do anything,” one Lions defender told Yahoo! Sports. “In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, ‘Come on – that’s your quarterback? Seriously?’”
Such a sentiment was echoed across ESPN, as analyst after analyst said Tebow would never be successful. Merrill Hoge went as far as to say Tebow was the worst quarterback he’d ever seen.
While it may seem that the entire sporting world has lost faith in the polarizing quarterback, it is still far too early to deem the Tebow experiment a complete failure. Though his style—light on throwing mechanics, heavy on God-given grit and determination—is unconventional, he has not been given a truly fair chance to succeed.
Tebow’s unfortunate descent from college football immortality to pro football futility began on draft night, when the Broncos traded-up to select him with the 25th overall pick, generating unreasonable expectations.
Tebow became the immediate hope of a franchise and city. But he was never going to be the next John Elway, even if every break fell his way.
Still, Tebow did have a fair measure of success during his rookie year, winning rookie-of-the-week honors twice. Former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels used Tebow wisely, inserting him at the goal line and in end of game situations that allowed the quarterback to get his feet wet.
Unfortunately for Tebow, the Broncos set a franchise record for losses and McDaniels, Tebow’s main supporter, was fired before the season ended. The offseason brought new management and an uncertain future.
The new regime, unintentionally or perhaps intentionally, has not put Tebow in a position to succeed. New coach John Fox and team president Elway made the correct decision in placing Tebow third on the depth chart out of training camp despite strong public support for Tebow from fans. However, after the team’s horrific 1-4 start, Fox gave the fans what they wanted by naming Tebow the starter during the Broncos’ bye week.
During the Lions game, the Denver coaching staff called plays as if Tebow was Peyton Manning. They consistently called for slow-developing passing plays—a recipe for disaster against a stout defensive line like the Lions’. It was as if the coaching staff was trying to show the fans why they didn’t start him.
Sure, Tebow was inaccurate and indecisive, but such is to be expected with a non-traditional quarterback in only his fifth career start on a team with a serious lack of talent. Tebow needs time to develop and a system that caters to his unique skill set, taking advantage of his mobility and running power while masking his inability to unleash the ball downfield.
The Tebow experiment might be close to over in Denver before it was given a legitimate chance. It seems everyone is focused on what he is not, instead of what he is. He’s certainly no Brady or Manning, but he could be a legitimate threat in some capacity in the NFL. He just needs a fair chance.
Practice Tebowing with Adam at email@example.com