What if I told you the you could have a quarterback who was a model citizen and a true winner? In the age of high profile players getting into big problems (Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick), role models are essential, but hard to find. But not only does this man steer safe of trouble, he gives back to the community. He is the definition of a winner and has the competitive drive of no play in college football in a long time. He has size (6’3″ 245) and he has a strong arm. He can even run when the pocket starts to collapse. Shouldn’t every team want this player? And shouldn’t everyone love him?
As you have probably figured out, this man is Timothy Richard Tebow. But for some strange reason, Tebow is the most hated college player since J.J. Redick. When Denver traded up to the 25th pick in this year’s NFL Draft, the crowd erupted in boos. Mel Kiper’s face turned visibly red. Steve Young looked ready to punch someone. But Jon Gruden was ecstatic. That sums up the feelings for Florida’s star quarterback. Most people either loved it or absolutely hated it. As for me, I like to say, “Why not?”
One of the biggest concerns for Tebow going into the draft was his release point. Throughout his college career he had a near sidearm motion, something scout absolutely hate. But if you remember, Philip Rivers had the same “problem” when he was drafted #3 overall out of N.C. State. Now, Rivers is a Pro Bowl quarterback with a $40 million contract and an even bigger pay day coming up.
As for another quarterback with poor mechanics, look no further then Tony Romo. Often criticized for a terrible release point and strange throwing motion, Romo has still found great success in the NFL. Making three Pro-Bowls with an average QB rating of 95.6 and over 3,700 yards per season. Even though Romo has only one playoff win in four games, he has gone from an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois to an NFL superstar. Tebow will never go from nothing to something, but he could prove his doubters wrong in the same way Romo had to.
At Florida, Tebow was under the greatest scenario possible in college. He had a great college coach who can turn anyone into a star (Chris Leak and Alex Smith). He was surrounded by great players at receiver (Percy Harvin, Louis Murphy, Aaron Hernandez, and Riley Cooper). Although he had plenty of weapons in his arsenal, Tebow was able to take plenty of matters into his own hands. No one in college was more competitive; no one wanted to win more the Mr. Tebow.
Now, Tebow is on a team in the Broncos that wants him to be the man. Instead of him having to completely re-do his throwing motions, the Broncos can change their offense to suit him. With speedy receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eddie Royal along with second year running back Knowshon Moreno, a spread offense wouldn’t be out of the question, especially with an innovative coach like Josh McDaniels.
Unarguably, drafting Tebow with the 25th overall was the most risky pick in the draft, especially at the price they have to pay for him. While Tebow has the upside to be an elite quarterback in this league, he could just as likely have to become a running back, full back, or tight end in the future. This was a risk, however, that McDaniels needed to take considering the short life of an average NFL coach and how important it is to have a great quarter back. If Tebow is great, McDaniels is a genius and he has job security for the next five to ten years. If Tebow is a flop, the Broncos still have another high-upside young QB on the roster, Brady Quinn. If either of them pan out to their expectations, the Broncos have struck gold in star-power from the most important position in football.
Already, Tim Tebow has broken records without taking a snap. Tebow has the highest selling jersey in the league, more then Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady. While Tebow is a new commodity, and the latter three quarter backs are still on the same team, its shocking that someone would buy a jersey of someone who may not touch the field this season, nor stay a quarterback for his entire career.
In the end, it comes down to character. He is a great guy who does everything right. He commands respect without asking for it, and there is no reason for anyone to hate him. People are searching for great character guys while they fume about what Ben Roethisberger did to a college student, yet overlook this great young man.
More then anything, Tebow doesn’t want his team to lose. In the 2008-09 season, Florida lost to Mississippi 31-30 in the fourth week of the season. He didn’t take this loss lightly. After the game, he made a speech that has since been immortalized on the Gators’ campus. He said “I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season.” And his promise came to fruition as Florida reached the pinnacle of the BCS, beating Oklahoma in the championship game 24-14.
During Spring Break in 2008, Tebow had a choice to make: go to the beach with his friends or do something bigger. Deciding that going to the beach would not benefit himself more then helping the community would to others, Tebow decided to return to his home country of the Philippines to do community service. This man is more then just a star quarterback; he cares for others and is one of the least selfish players in the game. Players these days are all about the paycheck, volunteering for publicity and improving their image. Tebow is different. Tebow is special.
People shouldn’t overlook great character players because of good off-the-field interests, whereas they should be concerned about people with off-the-field issues like Pacman Jones. Because a player loves his religion or has smarts shouldn’t prevent teams from giving them a chance, especially when they showed that they are as good as anyone in college. So, teams, who do you want: a questionable character with potential or a great guy with proven talent?