Solving The Tim Tebow Argument


Despite not playing in the NFL since the 2013 preseason and not being relevant since 2011, many are calling for Tim Tebow’s return to the league

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tebow, 27, has been working this past year for ESPN and the SEC Network as an analyst and broadcaster after being cut by the Patriots after the 2013 preseason (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Written by Jake Elman


The NFL playoffs have officially started, and the first two games were a lot of fun to watch. Both games, in the grand scheme of things, were upsets and you can’t ever go wrong with upsets in the postseason (unless it’s the Super Bowl from last year); however, one of the more prominent stories last night wasn’t how Pittsburgh’s loss might hurt Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s chance at a contract extension, or the ascension to great quarterback Cam Newton has showed these past few weeks.

Instead, the story that became trending worldwide was the play of Arizona Cardinals third-year quarterback Ryan Lindley; then again, the term ‘play’ might be a bit of an overstatement, seeing as he had one of the worst performances I’ve seen in recent years. 16 completions in 28 attempts may not sound awful, but Lindley only had 82 yards, one TD (a one yarder, no less), and two interceptions. That’s an average of 2.9 yards per carry, and if you’re looking for the main reason why the Arizona Cardinals only had 78 total yards, there you go. 

Lindley’s play, if you can even call it that, pretty much put the Cardinals in a hole they could never rebound from. After Seattle’s Super Bowl win last year, people were so quick to say that defense is what gets a team championships, and while defense certainly helps, you still need a good quarterback behind center for you. Carson Palmer may not be a top ten quarterback anymore, but he, or even his backup Drew Stanton, would’ve given the Cardinals a much better chance to beat the 7-8-1 Carolina Panthers. 

Now, during the Cardinals’ eventual 27-16 loss to Carolina, there were a lot of people asking not only why backup Logan Thomas wasn’t going in, but why the Arizona Cardinals hadn’t signed Tim Tebow to be their quarterback. This is the same Tim Tebow who has not played in the NFL since the 2013 preseason and hasn’t been a starter since 2011, and right now is working for ESPN. This is the same Tim Tebow who could not beat out Ryan Mallet for a spot as the Patriots’ backup quarterback last season, and couldn’t replace Mark Sanchez as the Jets’ starter in the dismal 2012 season that saw New York go 6-10. 

Let’s be real for a second. If you truly think that Tim Tebow would have made a serious difference in yesterday’s game, you are lying to yourself.

Don’t get me wrong — I like Tim Tebow, and I have since he was in college. However, thinking that Tebow would have made a difference on a playoff team like Arizona or a rebuilding team like Jacksonville is foolish and it is nonsensical. Why would a team who is in a rebuild and in the process of either developing a quarterback or searching for the future quarterback, like Jacksonville or New York, sign a veteran quarterback more than halfway through the season? It does not make sense to me, and the same goes for a team like Arizona that needed a quarterback after injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. 

People forget that this isn’t Madden, where you can sign a player and there are no issues. Signing a quarterback in December if they are not on your practice squad or have no prior experience with the head coach or a specialty coach (offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, etc) will not work most of the time. With an offensive lineman, they have a simple objective every time — block and protect the ball carrier. Sure, there are plays where the right guard may swing over, but your job is always to block. A defensive end’s job in a certain scheme is usually the same, and that goes for kickers and punters as well. With a quarterback, you have to know schemes, options, who you are going to target on a 2nd and 7 on the opposing team’s 47 yard line, etc.

Seeing as the Tebow-to-Arizona was a prominent discussion during the team’s Wild Card loss to Carolina, we’ll discuss why Tebow in Arizona would not have worked. First off, in case you haven’t noticed, Tebow is currently employed by ESPN as a college football analyst and broadcaster in the first year of a three year contract; knowing Tebow, as much as he wants to get back into the NFL, he likely isn’t going to leave ESPN on such short notice like that, and that’s even with the clause in his contract that lets him leave to pursue NFL opportunities. 

Sticking with ESPN, Tebow has a guaranteed role with the network in college football. For as much (somewhat justified) hate that ESPN gets for their obsession with the former first round pick, they’re smart enough to realize that putting Tebow on the air means people are going to watch, so why wouldn’t they keep giving him the spotlight? They even allowed him to broadcast a Bowl game, and while it wasn’t a spectacular game (TCU blew Mississippi out 42-3 in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on December 31st), the fact they even allowed him to broadcast a New Year’s Eve game shows how much faith they have in Tebow. If Tebow goes to the Arizona Cardinals, what does he have guaranteed? A locker that belonged to the last guy they cut?

The Tebow fanatics do not realize that Tim Tebow would not have immediately started for the Cardinals, or any other team, unless the quarterbacks in front of him were so awful the coaches needed to put Tebow in. Let’s say Tebow played for Arizona, and Ryan Lindley was as bad as he was, the Cardinals are not putting Tebow in before Logan Thomas. I seriously cannot figure out any sort of reasoning why the Cardinals would put a freshly-signed Tebow in before a healthy Logan Thomas. 

The same goes for Tebow playing on the Houston Texans when Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallet, and Tom Savage all were injured. The reason why Houston brought in Case Keenum was because Keenum had been in the organization from April 2012 to August 2014 and knew the schemes, players, and more. Keenum also was brought in over Tebow because he had been on the Rams’ practice squad, so he was still facing defenders in practice. 

Now, before this discussion turns into you wondering why a team hadn’t given him a chance all year, just remember this. If Tim Tebow was as good as people say he is, why is he out of the league? Why has no one taken a chance on him? The Jets are partly to blame (I’ve always said they should have tried making him a fullback or tight end), but Tebow just isn’t an NFL quarterback anymore. If he was, believe me, he’d be on a team like Tennessee — or maybe he’d still be with the Jets, but we’ll never know. 

If Tim Tebow was truly worthy of being the quarterback for Arizona, Houston, or another team, they would have picked him up. However, saying that the Cardinals would have won with him as the starter is not only just a what-if, but it’s also not being smart. Tebow would most likely not have seen a single snap in the game as the quarterback. Maybe at another position had he changed it, sure, but quarterback? No shot. 

Do you think Tim Tebow really would have made an impact this season had he been signed by a team? Make sure to vote on the poll below, and you can tweet me at @JakeElman with any other thoughts.


I know I talked about ESPN a lot in this article, but it wouldn’t be right not to mention this. R.I.P to Tim Tebow’s colleague Stuart Scott, who passed away after a long fight with cancer. Keep his friends and family in your thoughts, ya’ll. 

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3 Responses to “Solving The Tim Tebow Argument”

  1. brandi says:

    The current vote in the poll on this article has 94% saying Tim Tebow would have had an impact if a Team had signed him. 5% saying he wouldn’t. This in an article written with a large bias that he wouldn’t.

    This is what has been happening all over the country in poll after poll and regardless of the forum. That includes ones that wouldn’t be considered havens for “the Tebow fanatics”. 5% of Football Fans and most NFL Media and Teams are completely ignoring the other 95%. The league and those who either speak for it or think they do has become completely flipped upside down.

    I don’t care who it is. You tell 95% of your customers they’re wrong and sooner or later you don’t have any.

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