Is New England Patriots’ Tim Tebow the Most Overrated Player in the NFL?(for the lack of anything)

By Sean Keane

Why can’t fans of the NFL and of the New England Patriots get enough Tim Tebow?

All a writer need do to get people to read his or her work is mention Tebow.  If an enterprising writer comments that Tebow will get the Patriots back to the Super Bowl, people will read it.  If such pundits rant and rave and say Tebow stinks, people will read that too.  Heck, I could write that he enjoys a good peanut-butter sandwich and it wouldn’t matter.

As long as Tebow is featured, readers will find it.

Need proof? You’re reading this right now, aren’t you?

When Tebow signed with the Patriots on June 11, I knew the web would be inundated with articles, columns and blogs, all trying to put their own unique spin on the breaking news.  After all, when you work in the blogosphere, that’s the nature of the beast.

To be fair, I can’t fault anyone for striking while the iron is hot.  His legion of devout followers can’t get enough of the guy, and a Tebow-Belichick union is journalistic gold—even for the so-called haters.  Condemning people for trying to maximize exposure would be like condemning LeBron James for busting out a windmill dunk on an uncontested fast break.

The mob must have its show, and we’re here to give the people what they want.


But the iron has long since gone cold and at a certain point the obsession gets out of hand.  We risk losing ourselves in the frenzy, becoming less like LeBron and more like JaVale McGee on “Shaqtin’ a Fool.”

By even writing this I’m now guilty as well.

Still, it’s hard to blame the media.  If people didn’t read the stories we wouldn’t write them.  So we keep flooding your Team Stream ™ and you keep drinking it in.

Which begs the question: Why?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m grateful for every reader, and if people want Tebow content then I’ll serve it to them piping hot with a garnish of bad jokes and mixed metaphors.  But I still don’t get it.

Sure, other athletes get tons of publicity.  Last season, Major League Baseball was consumed by the Year of Mike Trout.  The reaction to LeBron’s “decision” was so fierce I feared getting whiplash every time I opened my Internet browser.  Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have been the toast of the NFL since the early 2000s and the debate over which is better will likely rage on long after they both retire.

But Trout had one of the best rookie seasons in baseball history, and the other three are all champions of their respective leagues as well as established superstars.  Tebow is not.

Brady may dominate on the field, but Tebow inexplicably dominates the headlines.

Since Tebow signed with the Patriots last month, my Bleacher Report colleagues and I have cranked out over 40 reports, articles and updates devoted to the team’s new third-string quarterback.  That means we’ve generated enough Tebow content for you to read a brand-new piece every single day and still have more left in your queue.

That’s just here on Bleacher Report alone.  I can only imagine how many hundreds of similar pieces have surfaced on other major sites, message boards and privately run blogs.

While the sheer volume is a testament to our persistence, and it’s hard not to marvel at the imagination needed for our stellar crew of writers to cover one man from so many different angles, I must admit I’ve been overloaded to the point where I now just tune out most of it.

It’s not that I don’t like Tebow.  I think he’s a better player than his critics give him credit for.  Say what you want about his miserable completion percentage and inability to throw a football with any sort of consistency.  He can work on those things while he rides the pine.

The bottom line is he won more playoff games for the Denver Broncos in 2011 than the exalted Peyton Manning did last season.  He’s a proven winner, and I’m thrilled to have him on the Patriots.

But he’s still a backup.

In fact, he’s likely the backup’s backup.  Unless Brady is injured or Bill Belichick finally teeters over the edge of brilliance and goes full-on insane, Tebow won’t see the field in any meaningful situations.  Sure, he might come in for a few knuckleballs if the Patriots are up by 30 late in the game, but that’s about it.

When he was stringing together miraculous victories in Denver, he deserved any publicity he could get.  He earned it.  When he was featured as a sideshow act in Rex Ryan’s New York Circus last season he warranted at least some press.  He didn’t earn it like he did in Denver, but there was a valid argument to be made that he deserved to start at quarterback over the comically inept Mark Sanchez.

The Jets did Tebow dirty.  He deserved a chance to prove his worth and they never gave it to him.  When they released him, he deserved a chance to redeem himself with a new team and nobody gave it to him until the Patriots swooped in.  Now that he’s in New England he deserves the opportunity to work in earnest to improve without having to sift through a mountain of his own press clippings, and we can’t even give him that.

He shouldn’t warrant any more attention than Leon Washington, Ras-I Dowling or any other backup but fans and media alike continue to obsess over him like gossip rags hounding the Kardashians.

Even a certain television personality got in on the act, while he was on site covering the Spurs vs. Heat last month.  That’s right, while shooting on location in the middle of the NBA Finals, a major network devoted an entire segment to Tim Tebow’s impact on the Patriots.

How many other backup quarterbacks command that type of around-the-clock coverage?  Matt Flynn? Nice try.  Shaun Hill?  Not even close.  For that matter, how many starting quarterbacks receive as much attention as Tebow?  There are sure-fire Hall of Fame quarterbacks, currently in the prime of their careers, who don’t garner half the attention he does.

He won’t attempt a meaningful pass.  He might line up at tight end once in a blue moon, but he’s never played the position in his life and even after releasing Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots still have six tight ends on the roster.   I’d be willing to make a healthy wager that we’ve already published more Tebow articles here on this site alone than the number of times he will actually see the field this season.

If that’s not overrated I don’t know what is.


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8 Responses to “Is New England Patriots’ Tim Tebow the Most Overrated Player in the NFL?(for the lack of anything)”

  1. bigfan says:

    All these writers do is “Rinse & Repeat”. In about a week we’ll see the Christian Science Monitor’s version. Just wait till camp gets started…Tim is chum for the media sharks making a living with total disregard for anything of principle.

  2. jason says:

    They just do what sells, if no one reads the stuff then they’ll write about something else. I don’t blame the media for doing it. Sitting around and I can tell writters to give me an article that’s gonna get 100 clicks vs one that will get 20k clicks I’m going with what sells best. Very few businesses do anything less. Its a reason why mcdonalds has a chicken nugget happy meal not a sushi happy meal.

    • Bigfan says:

      Lets rehash the obvious however I think it is more obvious to me that they are justifying their jobs plain and simple. Like I said “Rinse Repeat”!!

  3. Brandi says:

    I question the reasoning of questioning Fans interests. We get that in bulk with Tim. He gets “too much coverage”. Really? The Ratings keep going up. He actually doesn’t get enough coverage.

    The Fans call out for Tebow and some look down on that. OK, I’ll just say it. Screw them. And I’m not saying that because I like Tim Tebow. I do. I’ve also said many times, I don’t know if he’ll lead some NFL Teams to 3 Super Bowls or is a One Hit Wonder. (Neither does anyone else, by the way.)

    My issue with those arrogant enough to believe they’re qualified to tell the Fans what (or who) they should like, how much they should like them and why. That’s nonsense.

    But this type of article is the Shad Khan (What can I do? I’m only the Owner.) “Journalism.”

  4. shaztah says:

    He must have gotten some of the wrath of the Tebow fans because his assessment of Tim was no where near as nice as this. I think I fumed more over the fact that Horseface was listed as the #1 underrated QB for the Bronco’s. Give me a break.

  5. David Oliver says:

    People are interested in Tim Tebow – because he is unique in many ways – ways that many people would have their children to emulate.

    Also many Christians – Recognize his Unashamed testimony for his Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ – the fact that he refuses to be the “Secret Service

    But what about his many positive Stats that the Haters – Chose to Ignore?

    Thanks to the Patriots for giving Tebow an opportunity !! THAT – “Coach?” Ryan of Jets refused to do !
    Here is an interesting answer to the Haters and Naysayers who ALWAYS want to selectively pick stats to malign Tebow..
    It all depends on what Stats Tebow “Haters” Chose to Remember or Forget.. DUH:
    (I Think Coach Belichick is Much Smarter and Mature – than Coach? Ryan and does understand the BIG PICTURE!)
    The facts show that Tim Tebow is off to a better start as an NFL quarterback than many of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Through his first 16 starts, Tebow won more games (9) than Peyton Manning (3), Troy Aikman (3), Steve Young (3), Aaron Rodgers (5), Matthew Stafford (6), Sam Bradford (7), Eli Manning (7), John Elway (8), and Drew Brees (8). Tebow accomplished that with a team that was 1-4 before he took over, and had won only 7 of its last 24 games.
    In his first 16 starts, Tebow led his team to a playoff victory. None of these other greats did that. In fact, it took Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, five full NFL seasons to lead his team to a playoff victory.
    In his first playoff game, Tebow threw for 316 yards in a winning effort — against the best defense in the league.
    It is so difficult for an NFL quarterback to throw for 316 yards or more in a playoff victory that Ben Roethlisberger has never done it. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have each done it once. Tom Brady, John Elway and Joe Montana each did it twice. Eli Manning did not throw for that many yards in a playoff game until this season. And those other quarterbacks had some of the best receivers in the NFL. Tebow is also near the top in another important measure of an NFL passer, which is the number of touchdown passes per pass attempt. In his first 16 games, Tebow averaged an impressive one touchdown pass for every 23 pass attempts (1-23). The same as Peyton Manning. Better than Steve Young (1-46), John Elway (1-36), Drew Brees (1-34) and Tom Brady (1-36). And just slightly behind Aaron Rodgers (1-21), Matthew Stafford (1-21), and Eli Manning (1-21).
    Even more important is the fact that Tebow threw very few interceptions per pass attempt. Just one pick for every 43 pass attempts (1-43). That’s twice as good as Peyton Manning (1-21). Much better than Elway (1-19), Stafford (1-26) and Eli Manning (1-29). Better than Brees (1-34), Brady (1-36), Rodgers (1-39) and Bradford (1-40). This fact is particularly important, because ESPN contends that the chance of a team winning an NFL game goes down 20 percent with each interception a quarterback throws.
    Through 16 starts, Tebow has a far better touchdown pass-to-interception ratio (17 touchdowns-9 interceptions) than Peyton Manning (26-28), Brees (15-15), Stafford (28-23), Bradford (18-15), Elway (10-19), Aikman (12-25) and Young (9-16). Tebow’s rate is also better than Eli Manning’s (21-14), and the same as Aaron Rodgers’ (23-12).
    According to these key factual measures of an NFL passer (wins, touchdown passes, interceptions, playoff performance) Tebow is off to a better start as an NFL passer than many of the great passing quarterbacks in NFL history.
    Tebow’s critics do not speak of these facts. Instead, they harp on the style of his passes and his completion percentage (46 percent). That is illogical. Results are more important than style. And completion percentage is far less important than wins, touchdowns, interceptions and playoff success. That is proved by the fact that Tebow has far more wins, and a much better touchdown and interception ratio, than many quarterbacks who have a higher completion percentage.
    Peyton Manning is a certain Hall of Fame quarterback and a man of great character and integrity.
    But the facts also show, at this point, Manning is not a more effective quarterback than Tebow. Last season, Tebow started 13 games. When you compare those 13 starts to Manning’s last 13 starts, the results are almost the same.
    Over their last 13 starts, Tebow and Manning have the same winning record — 8-5. Each threw one touchdown pass for every 23 pass attempts. Tebow threw only one interception for every 51 passes. Unfortunately, Manning threw one interception for every 33 pass attempts. Tebow won one playoff game and lost the next. Manning lost his only playoff game, 17-16, to the Jets. Since Manning played these last 13 games, he has reportedly undergone three neck procedures and has not played for 14 months.
    Tebow also brings the critical advantage of mobility to the field, which Manning does not. Over their last 13 starts, Tebow ran for 681 yards and 6 touchdowns. Manning ran for 23 yards and 0 touchdowns. Manning’s lack of mobility may explain some of the difficulty he has encountered in the playoffs during his storied career.
    While it is undisputed that Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he has only won one first-round playoff game since 2006. He has lost in the first round of the playoffs seven out of the 11 times his team has made it that far. He is 1-3 against New England in the playoffs, averaging 9 points a game in those losses.
    None of these facts are intended as a criticism of Manning. They are simply proof of the undeniable fact that injuries and age take their toll on even the greatest quarterbacks. And no quarterback who has won a Super Bowl with one team has ever won a Super Bowl with his next team.
    So the assumption that the Broncos would automatically be a better team right now under Manning is not supported by the facts. The facts show that Tebow is, by comparison, a great young quarterback with most of his career in front of him. Manning is a Hall of Fame quarterback with most of his career behind him. And over the course of their last 13 games, Tebow and Manning performed at approximately the same level.

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