To understand why I say Tebow deserves to be on an NFL roster, we have to take a look at him from the roots of his football career.
Tim Tebow, as many see him, was a pure athlete when he started playing football in Pop Warner. He was all over the field, from running back to linebacker. But he never played quarterback until his coach gave him a shot one game. And he fell in love with the position.
When high school came around, Tebow wanted to play for a high school team, despite being homeschooled by his mother. He decided to go to Trinity Christian, the school his older brothers played at. Everything was going great there despite one problem. The coach wanted him to focus on the linebacker position and would not allow him to play quarterback. The coach did not think Tebow had the skill set to play quarterback and that his game wouldn’t translate to the next level. So after that season, Tebow decided to transfer to a different school, this being Nease.
Tebow was accepted by the team and earned his spot as the starting quarterback. Throughout his career at Nease, he set a number of records, won a state title, and became one of the top recruits in all of the nation. He also did insane things such as play an entire half on a broken leg. Tebow ended up receiving many scholarships to colleges such as USC, Alabama, Michigan, LSU, and, of course, Florida. His decision came down to Alabama and Florida, and couldn’t decide between the two in the waning minutes going up to his national televised decision. Tebow nearly went up to the podium saying he was going to join the Crimson Tide, even calling Florida coach Urban Meyer to tell him he was going to Alabama, but the call was disconnected before he could say so. A very teary Tebow, still torn between the two schools after he thought he had made up his mind, received a phone call reminding him of where his parents went to, and of all the posters up in his room. Tebow, a hardcore Gator fan growing up, then immeadiately knew where to go and wiped the tears off of his face and went up to the podium and announced that he was going to be a Florida Gator.
Tebow accomplished many feats during his tenure at the University of Florida, en route to becoming one of the greatest college football players of all time. He was named an All-American every year, won two national championships, won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, the first ever, and won the award for quarterback of the year three times. But even with all of these accomplishments, analysts didn’t believe Tebow had what it takes to make it in the NFL. Many predicted Tebow wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, be drafted in the first three rounds.
Despite all the talk, Tebow went to work over the offseason to change anything to his game to improve his draft stock. Apparently it was enough to earn him a 1st round pick. He was drafted 25th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos.
Tebow spent roughly a year in the back-up role, but was given the last three games of the season to show his stuff. Although he finished 1-2 in those games, he was very impressive in all three games, and had the chance to win all three. Tebow’s sophomore season is his season of note. This is where Tebowmania and Tebowing all started from. After a number of poor outings by starter Kyle Orton, Tebow was put into a game against the San Diego Chargers and nearly was able to win the game. He was then declared the starter for their next game, which was in two week against Miami. He struggled for most of the game but was able to rally the team to tie the game in the 4th quarter and send the game to overtime, where the Broncos won. Tebow went on to lead the team on a string of come from behind victories, and took a team that was 1-4 and headed for a season that could have been one of the worst in franchise history, to finish 8-8 and win the AFC Division.
Tim Tebow’s signature moment had yet to come. It came in the playoffs of the 2011 season. The Denver Broncos were slated to face a Pittsburgh Steelers team that could have easily taken the division title away from the Ravens. The game actually played out opposite of how Tebow usually performed. He did great for the first three quarters of the game. But as the fourth quarter came around, Ben Roethlisberger and Co. picked up the pace and were able to send the game into over time. On the very first play from scrimmage, with the ball at the 20 yard line after a touchback, Tebow snapped the ball from the shotgun formation. He patiently stayed in the pocket and perfectly zipped the ball to Demaryius Thomas, who was able to break a couple of tackles en route to a touchdown that led to an upset victory over the Steelers. It was the fastest ending to an overtime game in playoff history. The next week the Broncos had to face the Patriots, where they were blown out of the water. Despite this horrendous loss, a Broncos VP John Elway was impressed by Tebow’s effort and promised him the starting job going into training camp. But that’s when Tebow’s career took a turn from heaven, straight down towards hell.
Peyton Manning was coming off a season in which he had 4 neck procedures in one year, and sat out the entire 2011 season. After he was given the green light to resume his playing career by doctors, it was up to the Colts to decide whether or not to keep him, fearing that one hard blow would end Peyton’s career. Also, if the Colts decided to keep him, Manning would be owed a large contract bonus. So in the end, to avoid paying Manning this large sum of money, they released him and decided to look towards the future with Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, which of whom they picked Luck, using their number 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Manning was then courted by many teams, including the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, and Denver Broncos. The Broncos interest in Manning was perplexing as they had just recently named Tebow their man going into the 2012 season. But this showed that Elway never had any faith in him and figured that Tebow won all of his games through dumb luck rather than through sheer guts and effort. In the end, Manning signed with the Broncos, thus making Tim Tebow expendable since he does not play in the same type of offense that the Broncos planned to set up with Peyton Manning. Figuring that they could get something out of Tebow, they decided to place him on the trading block rather than simply releasing him.
The Broncos promptly traded Tebow to the New York Jets for two late round draft picks. Upon arriving in New York, Tebow claimed that he was very excited for a fresh start and to be with the organization. Rex Ryan also stated that he was going to compete with Mark Sanchez for the starting job, and that they would also try to find ways to utilize Tebow all over the field, i.e. Wildcat. When the season came around, Mark Sanchez was named starter and Tebow was to be played in roles such as punt protector and Wildcat quarterback. As the season blew through Tebow was seldom used. And when he did get played, he had some really great flashes, namely via the punt protector position. But his playing decreased as the season progressed. When the time finally came for Mark Sanchez to get benched, he was entirely skipped over and Greg McElroy was given playing time. At the conclusion of the season, Tebow was released the day after the 2013 NFL Draft, where the Jets selected Geno Smith.
After he was released, Tebow’s career was in major jeopardy. Analysts felt that he should either change positions or try a stint in either the Canadian Football League or Arena Football League. Tebow refused to do either. After months of waiting for an opportunity, Bill Bellichick and the New England Patriots decided to take a shot on Tebow. They brought him in with the plans of keeping him at the quarterback position, but with the possibility of experimenting him in other roles.
There were many reports that during training camp sessions, Tebow looked horrendous despite looking slightly better in the pocket. He was not making accurate passes and was throwing interceptions in seven-on-seven drills. When preseason, came around, Tebow still was not as sharp. He was still throwing balls too short or overthrowing receivers, and throwing picks. He did have flashes of greatness, namely in the final preseason game where he threw a bomb to Quentin Sims in the early 4th quarter, and when he threw a game winning touchdown to Sims with 10 seconds left in the game. Even with these flashes, it wasn’t enough for Tebow to secure himself a spot, and he is once again on the outside looking to get into an NFL roster.
Many feel that this is the end of the road for Tebow. I say that this is the contrary. Tebow is very deserving of a roster spot and everything I have said prior describes why. If you read closely, you will see that the only thing that Tim Tebow ever did wrong was not be as great as Peyton Manning. If this was the case, more than 85% of quarterbacks should be looking for a job. Tebow simply got the
shit short end of the stick. Who knows what could have happened if Peyton Manning was never released by the Colts. Could Tebow have been considered among the league’s best? Could he have lead the Broncos to a 13-3 record himself? Could he have led the Broncos to a Super Bowl run? Some of these statements are somewhat exaggerated, but some are true. We will never get to know what Tim Tebow’s true legacy could have been if this is the end of the road for him. One thing is for sure though, Tim Tebow is a fighter and a winner, and there is absolutely no doubt about it. And if he never puts on an NFL uniform again, their will be four people to blame for the destruction of an extremely promising career: Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning, John Elway, and Rex Ryan.
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