Forget his stats, Tim Tebow is a great leader

Tim Tebow´s leadership skills don´t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Tim Tebow’s leadership skills don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Ed Rendell, For the Daily News
Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2015, 3:01 AM
 THIS PAST WEEK, people have stopped me as usual, but not to talk about the mayor’s race or the Affordable Care Act, but to ask me, “Is Chip Kelly crazy?” These fans are referring to the news that the Eagles signed Tim Tebow to compete for the third-string quarterback slot.

For more than 2 years, the so-called experts have concluded that Tebow cannot be a winning NFL quarterback, saying he can’t make coverage reads and isn’t an accurate enough passer. I always found this conclusion to be somewhat curious, considering that in four seasons at college, playing in big-time games for Florida, he completed 66.4 percent of his passes, threw 88 touchdowns and had only 16 interceptions. He led the Gators to two national championships and won the Heisman Trophy. I watched him play against Oklahoma in one of those national championship games and his passing was just incredible. He threw the ball in small spaces for multiple receivers, including one Riley Cooper.

But the haters argue that college success doesn’t translate to the NFL, as defensive backs in college aren’t nearly as big and strong as those in the NFL, and they point out Tebow’s NFL completion figure is only 47.9 percent. They don’t, however, mention his 17 touchdowns vs. only nine interceptions. Nor do they mention that he is 8-6 as a starting quarterback and that in the 2011 season, he won a playoff game against the valiant Steelers defense. In that game, he shredded the Steelers’ secondary for 316 years in the air and had two touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, without throwing an interception.

Well, the haters would respond that it was a very good Denver team and that most of his passes in that game were relatively short. The haters also conveniently forget to mention that in the following year, with one of the greatest QBs of all time, Peyton Manning, at the helm, the Broncos lost their first playoff game.

Tebow is one I think makes for truly great quarterbacks – leadership. Tebow might not be the best passer in the NFL, or anywhere close to it, but his leadership can produce victories. He did it for Denver, but never got the chance for the Jets.

When I think of the knocks against his passing ability, I think about two quarterbacks who were enormously successful in the NFL, yet mediocre passers, at best. One was the Hall of Famer Bobby Layne, who led the Detroit Lions to NFL championships in 1952 and 1953, with completion numbers of 48.4 and 45.8 percent, respectively (he was only 49 percent for his career). During those championship years, he threw 35 TDs and 41 interceptions. In his nine seasons with the Lions, he threw 118 TDs and 142 interceptions. How could it be? How would the experts explain two NFL championships in the face of those statistics? The answer is simple. Layne was a leader. He inspired the players around him to do things they didn’t believe they had the ability to do. He was tough and never gave up.

Next, I thought of Billy Kilmer, the last of the great single-wing quarterbacks in college. At UCLA, he was a dazzling runner and an extremely accurate passer. But early in his NFL career, he suffered severe shoulder injuries that crippled his ability to throw hard, accurate passes. And yet in 1972, he led the Redskins to a 7-3 record, and two playoff wins before losing to Miami in the Super Bowl. That year, he completed 53.3 percent of his passes. He was only 53.1 percent for his career, and threw 152 TDs and 146 INTs. With the Redskins, he was 50-23-1 in eight seasons. How did this quarterback who threw wounded ducks do so well? Again, it was leadership. He had the innate quality that is tough to quantify but easy to see. His teammates believed in him and played way over their heads because of that leadership.

So it’s safe to say Tebow has not gotten a fair shot to start at quarterback in the NFL. Still, that’s largely irrelevant to the discussion of whether he should be on the Eagles’ roster come Opening Day, because no one, not even a Tebow lover like myself, contends he should start over Sam Bradford or Mark Sanchez. But there is no doubt in my mind he would be more useful as the third quarterback than Matt Barkley. Bradford, Sanchez and Barkley have basically the same skill sets, with various degree of ability. Tebow would bring an extra dimension to the position, one coach Chip Kelly could use in an extremely positive way.

In his brief playing time with the Jets, Tebow played blocking back on the punt team; three times, he took the direct snap and ran for first downs to keep drives alive. He could play some wildcat and even be in the shotgun with Bradford. In the red zone, he could run the read option and run out and pass if someone was open or run for a touchdown. Even the best running QBs go down when tackled head-on by defensive backs on the 1-yard line. If a defensive back meets Tebow head-on at the 1, both he and Tebow will wind up in the end zone. At 250 pounds, with his drive and determination, he is almost unstoppable on the move. Remember, in the year he started for Denver, he rushed the ball 122 times for 660 yards for an average of 5.4 yards.

After watching Kelly for 2 years, I think he is the most creative offensive mind in football. Tebow undoubtedly has some real offensive skills, and I would love to see Kelly create opportunities to put those to work for the Birds.

So, welcome to Philadelphia, Tim. It’s a great city, with great restaurants, historical venues, wonderful arts and culture, and football fans who appreciate effort. And one thing I know for sure, Tim, is that the effort you put into your career as a Bird will be second to none.

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17 Responses to “Forget his stats, Tim Tebow is a great leader”

  1. andrea says:

    Who would believe it ? A good article written by ” Fast Eddie” Rendell. Since “Fast Eddie ” Rendell was famous for getting all the dead people in the cemetery to come out and vote on election day, maybe “Fast Eddie”
    can organize the first Tebow fan club consisting of people buried in the cemetery.

    I have always enjoyed “Fast Eddie ” Rendell.

  2. Bubbaelvis says:

    Good article but still discounting Tebow’s acknowledged improvement. I kind of like it that people are saying he is competing for the 3rd string QB position. I like it that Mark Sanchez is already putting him down as just there to be another arm for camp. I like it because no one will see it coming until it is obvious that Tim Tebow is the best QB and best fit for Philadelphia’s offense. Under estimate and discount him at your own risk.

    • brandi says:

      Hey, I’ve not been at all shy about saying I think Tim’s Fans should be seen, heard, loud and very clear the NFL is gambling with its future. It’s only partly due to…you want us to shut up? well how’s this!?. Mostly it’s because it’s true and only now becoming clear. Though few still admit it.

      Half the country considered the NFL to be “sleazy” BEFORE all of this past year’s scandals and mishandling that put Goodell’s job in question. The NFL finally admitted that if it can’t find some way to break into the International Market it’s risking losing its position as #1. (This before new baseball numbers started rolling in showing it’s already almost neck & neck and looking like it’s roaring on past) The NFL aura of invincibility is half its appeal. That aura is fading fast.

      The Networks have now shown the NFL no longer gets a blank check. It has to show increased audiences if it wants more money.

      In short, whether anyone wanted to admit it or not the NFL needs Tim Tebow a whole lot more than he needs it.

      Why be quiet? Why let any detractors shape the discussions. Just say it. You can’t survive without Tim’s Fans.

      • ck says:

        Brandi: Sure looks that way…they need $$$ and Tebow has the IT factor!

        • brandi says:

          Major League Sports is just changing so much so quickly and with that the ability to make so much money…hence Roger Goodell’s $25Billion target. It’s not just wishful thinking on his part. It’s necessary thinking, which is why when they knew they’d miss the original target date they didn’t change the number. They simply pushed the date back 5 years. And when they did push it back, they put their media machine in the media to work making so sure it got “out there” that almost nobody even knew they’d already pushed the date back, It’s necessary because if you don’t keep up now you get run over FAST. Baseball will pass the NFL in revenues in a year or so and be at a $15Billion a year mark several years before the NFL even has a hope of achieving that number. Premier League (UK Soccer) is now getting “NFL-Like” TV deals and they already have over a billion Fans Worldwide. So expect them to now start capitalizing on that massive Fan Base and pass the NFL in a couple years. With Indian Cricket right behind. (Regular Season Indian Cricket Matches already have more viewers than the Super Bowl and Indians now have money to spend.)

          The NFL’s problem isn’t money. If they had done things right they’d have all the money they need for many years to come. Their problem is they blew their first foray into International and now have blown their relationship with their core Fans domestically. They can get money. But ONLY if they first fix the relationship with Fans here and then show Sports Fans abroad it’s a league worthy of their interest. What I don’t know is if they’re ready to crush their own internal culture problems or are so concerned with making waves with the Players Association, the GMs and Coaches, the indiot 20-something jerks who are the mainstay of most Front Office Staffs in short…tell their own a-holes to get with it or get out.

    • Larry says:

      “Under estimate and discount him at your own risk.”

      I agree.

    • ck says:

      Bubbaelvis: Agree w/u and right on all.

  3. lex says:

    bubbaelvis—amen to your last sentence above. well written.

  4. David Oliver says:

    Buzzy – Great Article find..

    I believe that this is showing a “Reality Fact Finding Trend” –
    that may even have the “Haters” starting to be careful with their
    offensive of misrepresentations of facts, stats and history, and
    pull back some into their “Hater Shells”!! (Too many diverse sourced
    folks – sharing the same Truths – may shame them into a retreat!

  5. ck says:

    Like this article a lot…Not many are LEADERS LIKE TEBOW AND, BESIDES, HE IS ONE OF A KIND!!!

    Looks like Sanchez is feeling really insecure at this point and you should read what M. Bennett (def. end for Seahawks )stated in Dec. 2014 after winning against the Eagles b/c Sanchez could only produce 96 yards; i.e., Reporter asked what he saw after making the comment: “Tell the Philadelphia Police to put an APB out b/c Sanchez is trying to impersonate a good quarterback…I saw the same thing everybody else saw–nothing much!” No wonder Chip Kelly does not have much confidence in Sanchez due to all his interceptions and losing games…THEY DEFINITELY NEED TEBOW!!!
    Also, it was noted that “Sanchez is a turnover machine” and Eagle Mark Sanchez = Jet Mark Sanchez! a.k.a. “Senor buttfumble”..rofl. A back-up with over 71 turnovers…not bad!

  6. David says:

    Don’t forget his stats.
    In their first 16 games of playing time,
    Sam Bradford threw 18 TDs in 590 attempts with 15 ints
    Tim Tebow threw 19 TDs in 374 attempts with 9 ints
    Tebow scored more often per attempt and more than twice as often per completion
    Tebow ran for 15 scores and 937 yards in 175 carries.
    DeMarco Murray led the league in 2014 with 13 rushing scores in 392 carries.
    Tebow has outscored both the Eagles’ best QB and their best running back in 15.5 games and 13 plays.
    He scored twice as often passing than Bradford and outscored the best running back in the NFL with less than half the carries. Tebow is twice as efficient at scoring than both of them. Tebow is clearly the best QB in Philly because he is their best passer and their best rusher.

    • brandi says:

      It doesn’t look like Chip Kelly is looking at Sam Bradford the way some might want to think. (Again, ‘some’ generally meaning outside of Philly; Media & Fans in Philly are way ahead of most of the junk coming from the national scavenger hunters) There’s no talk of a long-term contract. The consensus is Bradford will be traded unless Eagles can’t get any deal they want.

      NFL-types are looking at stats. But Sam Bradford is 18-30-1 for his Career. Nobody knows when he’ll be available even to practice or how long he’ll last once he does. Most of the Philly Sports Beat is being very realistic. Realistic being…Bradford is a trip, a wet field, a stick on the ground or getting tackled away from being back on the DL. Sanchez just displayed why there’s not much faith in his mental toughness. Tebow is a viable option if those two get ruled out. Chip is trying to get Mariota whatever it takes. BUT if he does get him, there’s no certainty he plans on just throwing him into the fire right away.

      If it is at all possible, it looks like Marcus Mariota is next year’s starting QB. (The others have a year) But he may not be this year’s…at least right away…even if kelly gets him.

      • David says:

        I’m thinking that Bradford or Sanchez could get traded for draft picks this week. We’ll see.
        Tebow Tidbit: Marcus Mariota scored 57 times in 15 games. Tim Tebow scored 55 times in 13 games.

  7. David says:

    Did you know this about Tebow?
    In 2010, Tebow led the league (1st) for TDs per completion and was 4th for TDs per pass attempt which factors in his completion percentage.
    2010 Quarterbacks
    These QBs threw the most TDS per attempt in 2010.
    Brady scored every 13.4 attempts
    Young scored every 15.6 attempts
    Garrard scored every 15.91 attempts
    Tebow scored every 16.4 attempts
    These quarterbacks threw the most TDs per completion in 2010.
    Tebow scored every 8.2 completions
    Brady scored every 9.0 completions
    Young scored every 9.3 completions
    Stafford scored every 9.6 completions
    In 2010, Tebow played 13 situational plays and started 3 games. He threw 41 of 82 for 654 yards for 5 TDs and rushed 43 times for 227 yards and 6 TDs. He averaged 15.95 yards per completion with a 50% completion percentage and scored more often per completion than every QB in 2010. Orton scored 20 TDs in the first 13 games and Tebow scored 11 TDs in a little more than 3 games. Tebow was the fastest scoring QB in the league throwing a TD every 8.2 completions and running for a TD every 7.1 carries.
    Longest TD run by a QB in Broncos history (40 yds) First play in the highlights
    First rookie to rush for a TD in each of his first 3 starts.
    His 82.1 quarterback rating was the highest of the eight rookie quarterbacks who started a game in 2010.
    He became just the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to record four games with both a passing and rushing score (Fran Tarkenton in 1961).
    100.5 QB rating is best ever for a Broncos QB in his first start.
    Third highest yards passing by a rookie in Broncos history, 308 yards in 2nd game
    Watch rookie Tim Tebow play under center in McDaniel’s pro offense in 2010.

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