I Want My Quarterback: The case for Tim Tebow that teams can take to the bank…

By:iamasportswriter is a WordPress site with weekly and current sports articles written by Jacob Dreyer

Following Super Bowl XLVII, the conversation on all sports talk shows was: Is QB Joe Flacco, also known as Average Joe, an elite National Football League quarterback?

In the weeks after XLVII, I debated this question with numerous co-workers in the Ticket Office and always presented the same argument: Joe won a ring and was named Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl, ergo facto, he is an elite quarterback.

Including Flacco, 26 quarterbacks were named Super Bowl MVP. Of those 26, 13 were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and eight are still active. The remaining five: Jim Plunkett (Oakland Raiders, XV), Phil Simms (New York Giants, XXI), Doug Williams (Washington Redskins, XXII), Mark Rypien (Washington Redskins, XXVI) and Kurt Warner (St. Louis Rams, XXXIV). Many analysts and experts argue that not a single member of the 26 MVP quarterbacks will be denied entry to the Hall of Fame.

So, is Joe Flacco elite?

The argument cannot be based solely on the amount of Super Bowl rings, as the counter-argument is almost always centered on Dan Marino (Miami Dolphins). He is second in career passing yards (61,361) and third in career passing touchdowns (420), but he never won a ring. Marino is widely considered one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, but not the best of all-time. And why not? In my opinion, because he never won a Super Bowl.

Not winning is the issue for Marino.
Winning is the issue for Flacco.
And winning appears to be the issue for Tim Tebow, as well.

I am a “stats guy” by profession, but I am also a self-proclaimed believer in Tim Tebow. I could list hundreds of reasons why Tebow should be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but they would all be heart-felt and statistic-less. That being said, I will present the statistical argument for Tebow. Because as the ESPN show says: Numbers Never Lie.

Let me begin by building my credibility in saying that the Denver Broncos did not, I repeat, did not make a mistake in choosing Peyton Manning over Tebow. Manning is a future Hall of Fame member and current top-five quarterback. But let me also say that Tebow is no slouch.

Tebow started 11 games at quarterback for the Broncos in 2011 and finished the regular season with a 7-4 record as a starter (.636 winning percentage). His passer rating was 72.9. He completed 46.5 percent of his passing attempts (126-271) for 1,729 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. Tebow also rushed for 660 yards on 122 attempts (5.4 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. He lost six fumbles, however, for a total touchdown-to-turnover ratio of 3:2 (or 1.5:1).

In comparison to the 2012 season, Tebow produced greater than/equal to the following starting quarterbacks in the respective categories (quarterbacks needed to start more than half of the regular season games or be benched midway through the season due to poor performance in order to qualify for comparison):

Note: For the purposes of comparison, each team is allotted one starting quarterback (the better of the two or three who played) as determined by me (with the exception of the Arizona Cardinals).

Passer rating: Brandon Weeden (Cleveland Browns, 72.6), Mark Sanchez (New York Jets, 66.9), Matt Cassel (Kansas City Chiefs, 66.7) and any Arizona Cardinal.
In 2011, Tebow posted a better passer rating than four of the 2012 starting quarterbacks.

Completion percentage: None.
In 2011, Tebow did not post a better completion percentage than any of the 2012 starting quarterbacks.

Passing touchdowns: Michael Vick (Philadelphia Eagles, 12), Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins, 12), Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans, 10), Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers, 10), Blaine Gabbert (Jacksonville Jaguars, 9) and any Arizona Cardinal.
In 2011, Tebow threw more passing touchdowns than six of the 2012 starting quarterbacks.

Passing yards: Blaine Gabbert (Jacksonville Jaguars, 1,662) and any Arizona Cardinal.
In 2011, Tebow threw for more passing yards than two of the 2012 starting quarterbacks.

Interceptions: All except Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers, 3), Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins, 5) and Blaine Gabbert (Jacksonville Jaguars, 6).
In 2011, Tebow threw fewer interceptions than 29 of the 2012 starting quarterbacks.

Rushing yards: All except Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins, 815) and Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers, 741).
In 2011, Tebow rushed for more yards than 30 of the 2012 starting quarterbacks.

Rushing touchdowns: All except Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers, 8) and Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins, 7).
In 2011, Tebow rushed for more touchdowns than 30 of the 2012 starting quarterbacks.

Touchdown-to-turnover ratio: Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1.4:1), Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys, 1.3:1), Philip Rivers (1.2:1), Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts, 1.2:1), Carson Palmer (Oakland Raiders, 1.2:1), Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings, 1.2:1), Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears, 1.1:1), Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions, 1.1:1), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo Bills, 1.1:1), Blaine Gabbert (Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:1), Michael Vick (0.9:1), Brandon Weeden (Cleveland Browns, 0.8:1), Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins, 0.8:1), Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans, 0.7:1), Mark Sanchez (including one butt fumble; New York Jets, 0.5:1) and Matt Cassel (Kansas City Chiefs, 0.4:1).
In 2011, Tebow posted a better turnover-to-touchdown ratio than 16 of the 2012 starting quarterbacks.

Disclaimer: I may have inadvertently missed or miscalculated a quarterback or two, but you understand my point.

But perhaps most importantly…

Winning percentage: All except Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons, .813), Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos, .813), Matt Schaub (Houston Texas, .750), Tom Brady (New England Patriots, .750), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers, .688), Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts, .688), Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks, .688 [sort of; replacement referees]) and Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears, .667).
In 2011, Tebow posted a better winning percentage than 24 of the 2012 starting quarterbacks.

Playoff wins: All except Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens, four) and Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers, two).
In 2011, Tebow won as many or more playoff games than 30 of the 2012 starting quarterbacks.

In the Denver Broncos’ win versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, the game unofficially known as The 3:16 Game, Tebow completed 10 passes for 316 yards (an average of 31.6 yards per completion), two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He rushed for 50 yards and one touchdown. On the first play from scrimmage in overtime, Tebow threw a perfectly placed ball to a slanting Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard, game-winning touchdown.

In the 2011 playoffs, Tebow was sixth (out of 12) in total passing yards, seventh in passing touchdowns and seventh in quarterback rating (despite playing only two games). His 316-yard performance on Wild-Card Weekend was the sixth-most passing yards in a 2011 postseason game by any quarterback.

Granted, Tebow struggled at times and it was not pretty. On November 13 versus the Kansas City Chiefs, Tebow finished 2-8 for 69 yards and one touchdown…in a win. Nearly two months later and versus the same team, he finished 6-22 for 60 yards and one interception in a 7-3 loss.

In 2012, Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings) threw for 58 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in a 21-14 win versus the Arizona Cardinals. Two games later, he threw for 63 yards and one interception in a 30-20 loss versus the Seattle Seahawks. Four games later, he threw for 91 yards and one interception in a 21-14 win versus the Chicago Bears.

Sound familiar? Or sound worse?

In the movie Moneyball, Billy Beane (portrayed by Brad Pitt) defends one of his potential players to his dismissive scouts by saying: “He gets on base a lot. Do I care if it’s a walk or a hit? Pete?” Peter Brand, his new Assistant General Manager replies: “You do not.”

Tim Tebow wins games. Do I care if it’s by one point or three touchdowns? Do I care if he throws for 60 yards or 300 yards? Do I care if he turns the ball over one time or seven times? If he wins, I do not. And he wins.

How come quarterbacks (with the exception of Dan Marino) are judged on wins, but Tebow and Flacco are judged on how they win?

In addition, Tebow is a role model and a positive locker-room presence. He is the type of player and person that teams and fans should want; the type they need. A wide receiver with three arrests in a seven-day span is not the type of player or person teams and fans need.

In my opinion, Tim Tebow is as good or better than the projected starting quarterback on the following teams: Buffalo Bills (Tarvaris Jackson), New York Jets (Mark Sanchez), Cleveland Browns (Brandon Weeden), Jacksonville Jaguars (Blaine Gabbert), Tennessee Titans (Jake Locker), Oakland Raiders (Matt Flynn), Minnesota Vikings (Christian Ponder) and Arizona Cardinals (Carson Palmer).

I left out two that I wanted to include, but felt it necessary in order to retain my objectivity and credibility.

And I would be remiss if I did mention my initial plan (since the end of the season) for Tebow: starter for the Washington Redskins until RGIII is healthy. His skill set, playing style, actions and words would be an excellent fit with that team and coaching staff and, to be frank, would be a better fit than Kirk Cousins.

Is Tebow being blackballed because of the “media circus” by which his presence is accompanied? Is he being blackballed because he has John 3:16 and Philippians 4:13 written on his eyeblack? Is it because his completion percentage is slightly below 50 percent? Or is it because, instead of showing his championship belt or dancing the salsa after he scores a touchdown, he drops to one knee?

While it may surpass all understanding, one thing is for certain: Tebow is not being blackballed for his winning percentage.

Sign Tim Tebow.

Win games.

You’ve got to have faith.

You’ve got to believe.

Or, at the very least, you’ve got to be logical.

Because much like the ball…numbers never lie.

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12 Responses to “I Want My Quarterback: The case for Tim Tebow that teams can take to the bank…”

  1. ck says:

    What a great post and yes, I believe. Thanks Buzzy for finding this gem of an article and love the quote: “NUMBERS NEVER LIE!” Who is the author, may I ask? HE NAILED IT!!!
    GO TEBOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. The Mascot Army says:

    AND, that is the worst Tebow well ever be! Teams passing on him is mind boggling.

  3. Sage says:

    Sure, the Broncos traded for a 36-year-old guaranteed hall-of-famer, but in so doing, they banished a 24-year-old who was showing every sign of being a hall-of-famer himself.

    And isn’t it amazing how the detractors ignore the rushing yards? Would you rather have 660 rushing yards from a QB, or an extra 5 percent passing completion? Another 5 percentage of completions on Tim’s 271 passes would have amounted to 13 more catches. At Tim’s rate of 13 yards per completion, the extra 13 catches would have yielded about 169 yards. So, the extra 5 percent of completions would have raised Tebow to 51.5 percent, while yielding only 169 yards. The fact that Tim’s running yielded 660 yards while a 5-percent higher completion percentage would have yielded only only 169 yards shows how remiss it is to ignore the running yards. Tebow is an EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD quarterback. Right now.

    This mind boggling phenomenon of disregarding reality is hardly limited to Tebow. It is a lamentable phenomenon of life generally.

    • Sage says:

      And the biggest reason why Tim is an exceptionally good QB, right now, is that there are very few quarterbacks who have ever had more success in the same # of games played. Brady and Roethlesberger (sp) come to mind, but few others.

  4. bubbaelvis says:

    It gets frustrating that GM’s seem to discount his success. They really should look at last year as not counting due to the Jets criminal treatment of him (lack of plan,making him gain weight,etc.) Instead it is like they look at his successful Broncos year as not counting.

    I also do not understand teams automatically saying they don’t want him without seeing him workout. I would think some GM or Coach would want to see if what Vinny Testervede and Steve Young saw is true. If Tebow has improved like they say there is no limit to what he can do.

    Anyway, great article.

    • Thrawn says:

      It isn’t that what the Broncos did in 2011 doesn’t count. It does, and he played a role in that.

      The disagreement is how much of that was due to Tebow and how much of it was due to a defense that gave up 2 scores or less in more than half of those wins.

      Those evaluating and making the decisions are not going to ignore that Tebow, while the highest rated QB in late 4th quarters (which will be the case when playing from behind every week) he was also the worst rated in the first 3 quarters. First starting QB to finish under 50% completion percentage since 1992. Ran an offense that led the league in three and outs. Had one of the worst third down completion percentages. Ran an offense that despite going #1 in rushing, still finished near the bottom of the pack in total offense.

      Blame all that on what you want, but that ain’t gonna be ignored either. You can’t just give most of the credit for the good stuff and blame everyone else for the bad. When a GM looks at THE WHOLE story, ALL things will be considered. Not just the last 5 minutes of games.

      What I DO find odd is that he is proven to be clutch at the end of games if it is still close, and he can’t even get an invite for a workout. Not everybody could do that. Kyle Orton found new and creative ways to lose in that scenario.

      If numbers never lie, you can’t just pick the ones you like to make your case and expect people not to look at the rest. If you can explain away the bad numbers and make excuses, the same is true for the good ones.

      • The Mascot Army says:

        I dont think most coaches and GMs can spend the time to look into Tebow seriously and rigorously (just like pundits!, not that they’d ever admit it), and therefore simply use conventional wisdom as a crutch, not realizing that conventional wisdom might be based on just as little. There are not many people who have seen every Tebow snap except for maybe John Fox (who is not interested in any narrative that blames his predictability on Tebow’s poor first three quarters) and broncos fans (who not so coincidentally are the most pro Tebow fans in the NFL).
        Unfortunately, Teams right now think they are set and I think only QB injury will force GMs and coaches to actually put in the time to see what they themselves think of Tebow’s potential.

      • bubbaelvis says:

        Thrawn, you are right. I didn’t mean to imply that he was always great in every game with Denver. You do have to look at the bad as well as the good. However, that was his first time as a starter and the final results were a winning record. I am just saying that they should basically throw out last year and look at Denver and how much he has improved if any. I feel the only way to do that is look at his Denver days and then bring him in for a workout or look at film from his workouts. Hey, if Pat White can get picked up after being out of the NFL for a couple of years and Tebow can’t something is terrible wrong.

        • Thrawn says:

          Well, you know as well as I do that people have differing opinions on exactly what took place in Denver in 2011. Was it Tebow? Or was it a defense that hit its stride and a bunch of lucky breaks. Whichever any of us here think is the case, it is all beside the point.

          What matters is what the guys making the decisions are looking at. Cuz I guarantee if they thought it was Tebow that turned the franchise around, and can do that with an inferior team, they’d be offering their first born for the chance to bring Tebow in.

          I promise you, everyone making decisions looked at the Tebow situation in Denver in 2011 as a whole. The question they are asking, isn’t whether or not he had a winning record, but how it happened, and more importantly, is the way they won with Tebow sustainable. Cuz not many out there believe 2011 was sustainable. Tebow didn’t exactly finish strong either even when the Broncos stuck with what worked during the win streak. He finished withe the same 1-4 as the Broncos started with. Call it bad playcalling, receivers with the case of the dropsies, or whatever you want to blame it on, but if wins and losses should be taken at face value for a QB, then the way the Broncos backed into the playoffs losing the last 3 games will also be in account.

          You will recall that same exact scenario happened to the Broncos 3 years prior when they went 0-3 to miss the playoffs by one game, and it got Mike Shannahan fired. The 2008 and 2011 teams were both 8-5 needing one win to clinch. The only difference between the two was that in 2011 the AFC West was the AFC West and no longer had a clear cut front runner like the Chargers were in 2008. It took a 3 way tie to get into the playoffs, for which even an underdog team can beat anyone on a bad day. Any given Sunday… you know the saying.

          Tebow just wins… that is just a slogan backed up by a 9-7 record. 1 win over .500, Not persuasive enough. Tebow is gonna have to prove he can run the conventional stuff too, which is what is holding him back. Many don’t believe he can, and THAT is why few justify putting up with the circus to match his skillset. If they thought he was as good as a lot of people on this board think he is, they’d be making room for him somewhere. I guarantee it. It is up to Tebow to prove his really IS that good. Gonna have to happen in a different league for awhile though, cuz nobody right now wants to even give him a look.

  5. TIM TEBOW IS A WINNER.

  6. Bigfan says:

    Last time I looked football is a team sport. Tim is knows that and lives that. The Broncos became a team with Tim.

  7. teena says:

    Like I said before “have faith and watch where Tim ends up” may not be football (but should be) but God knows right where he will have the most impact for God. In Gods timing not ours.

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