Urban Meyer talks up Tim Tebow

2:00 PM ET

  • Phil SheridanESPN Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA — Urban Meyer was close. The Ohio State football coach said on NFL Network that Tim Tebow had the second-highest passer rating in NCAA history.

Meyer coached Tebow at the University of Florida. But the point he was making would resonate with fans of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Meyer said that Tebow belongs in the NFL. Tebow’s passer rating at Florida was second only to Sam Bradford‘s career rating at Oklahoma. Meyer added that he hadn’t checked those numbers recently, so it was possible that ranking had changed.

Indeed, it has changed. Bradford is still No. 1 all-time with a passer rating of 175.62 (the NCAA rating is calculated differently from the NFL rating). Tebow is No. 3 with a rating of 170.79.

Since Meyer studied the stats, another quarterback had passed Tebow for second all-time. It was Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, who finished his college career with a rating of 171.75.

So, the three quarterbacks who dominated conversation in Philadelphia in 2015 are first, second and third in career NCAA passer rating. All three won the Heisman Trophy.

Bradford, of course, is the quarterback that Chip Kelly acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Rams last March. Bradford started 14 regular-season games for the Eagles last year.

Between the time Bradford was acquired and the NFL draft, Mariota was the quarterback that Eagles fans clamored for. He was taken by Tennessee with the second pick of the draft. Kelly admitted making a phone call to the Titans, but said the price for moving up was too steep.

After the draft, Kelly signed Tebow, who had been out of the NFL for a year. Throughout OTAs, training camp and the preseason, interest in Tebow eclipsed interest in Bradford. That’s because Tebow has an army of fans who are interested in him regardless of what team he is with — and also because Bradford doesn’t inspire nearly the same level of enthusiasm.

Tebow did not make the roster coming out of training camp. Meyer’s point was that a league desperate for quality quarterbacks is missing out on a very talented and accomplished player in Tebow.

The Eagles, of course, are one of the teams most in need at the quarterback position. Bradford is about to become a free agent. Mark Sanchez is still under contract. New head coach Doug Pederson might be interested in working with Tebow and seeing firsthand what he can do.

At the same time, the passer rating stat isn’t as relevant as Meyer made it sound. Bradford may be No. 1 all time, but he hasn’t appeared in an NFL playoff game yet. Mariota just finished his rookie season. Tebow is not in the league.

Kellen Moore is fourth all-time. Ryan Dinwiddie is fifth. The next five are Colt Brennan, Bryce PettyJohnny Manziel, Danny Wuerffel andJameis WinstonAndrew Luck, who is 11th all-time, is the one name that jumps out in terms of making a quick transition to the pro game.

Winston, like Mariota, showed promise as a rookie, but the jury is still out on him.

Wuerffel and Dinwiddie are proof that great college quarterbacks don’t always succeed in the NFL. Bradford and Tebow are in danger of joining that list, but they still have time to avoid it.

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33 Responses to “Urban Meyer talks up Tim Tebow”

  1. Danny says:

    To me, Kelly has a lot of issues with strong personalities. It’s really become evident as time has past since the pre-season that Tebow wasn’t released because of his play. Former players have really reamed Kelly over the coals over their own issues, but there is certainly a common thread.

    I’m thrilled that Meyer is still using his visibility and influence to put in a good word for Tebow. No player is more deserving of an honest shot than Tim Tebow.

    • ck says:

      Very true and Urban is going to be at the golf classic (Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra) on March 12th…only $15.00 to attend and hope Shaztah gets more pics!:D

      • Shaztah says:

        I am not able to attend this year, I have 2 young grandsons that I watch on the weekends and my Mom will be getting out of the hospital after a month and I can’t leave her alone all day.

    • Sage says:

      I was hoping Urban would head to the NFL, but doesn’t look like it. Maybe in 5 years he’ll give Tebow a shot as an old timer. The ultimate 4th quarter comeback.

      Manning retired today. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tebow is more remembered in 30 years than Manning. Someone is gonna look at old footage and tell posterity what went wrong in our day.

    • David says:

      I was a little disappointed that Meyer mentioned Canada because that is probably a private decision for Tim. It also started an uproar on the blogs. And the NFL knows that if Tim goes to Canada then he is ineligible to play in the NFL for the 2016 season. As long as he is in that league, it would give them cover for not ever signing him again.
      I think that the NFL should have to prove that they can beat Tebow before he goes to Canada. He’s 9-7 against the NFL.

  2. Danny says:

    David: Tim Tebow undoubtedly belongs in the NFL. No question. It’s a shame the NFL can’t embrace what Tebow brings to the game.

    I’ve thought about this for some time now. As hostile as it seems the NFL is to Tebow, perhaps the CFL would be far more welcoming to Tebow’s talents than the one-dimensional NFL. There are so many things that Tebow could bring to the CFL:

    1. International exposure to the league. The CFL made a concerted effort this past season to expose the Grey Cup internationally. I can’t think of a better way to promote your league as to have the most well known popular quarterback in a generation as a focal point of your league. E$PN would be absolutely giddy as they have the CFL rights to broadcast games.

    2. Attracting better and overall talent. Players will feel they have more viable options and being able to further their careers instead of just “settling” for the CFL because they’re not “good enough” to play in the “NFL”.

    3. Increased salaries for players…more can be done to make the CFL more profitable, therefore providing more focus and full time dedication for players to improve which in the end results in a better product on the field.

    4. As a benefit to Tim, another avenue to promote his incredible charitable work.

    In the past, I’ve sort of dismissed the idea of Tebow playing in the CFL. After I watched the Grey Cup last November, I changed my mind. It was probably the most entertaining professional football I’ve seen in a long time.

    I would certainly be open to Tebow playing in the CFL if that’s what he wanted to do. He would certainly excel there and would be a top tier QB in the CFL. It would be an obvious black eye to the NFL to have someone like Tebow slip away.

    Perhaps its all about working out an equitable deal as the CFL would gain considerable exposure to Tebow’s presence. And who knows, he might like it so well there if the NFL wanted him back he would simply be in too good a place to make that move.

    I certainly hope as he considers his future that he is truly open to all options.

    This link has the entire Grey Cup 2015 final: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saPoc6Rnuvw

    Mike Reilly, QB of the Edmonton Eskimos who was the MVP of this game, reminds me in many ways of Tebow’s skills.

    • The Mascot Army says:

      I’m rooting for Canada. The NFL keeps doing their Lucy with the football act on Tebow, and it’s ridiculous.
      Let’s watch him play in his prime.
      CFL would beat the NFL ratings, and they’d laugh all the way to the bank.

    • ck says:

      Danny: Never watched and hope he keeps his options open only I would rather it be here if at all possible through some miracle and someone who is not intimidated going against the present inept collective mindset jmo!!!

    • ck says:

      Danny: Thanks for the link and, yes, u r right about that Reilly guy too!

  3. Bubbaelvis says:

    I want to see him play. I believe he would start and thrive in the CFL. My preference would be for him to be a starter in the NFL. It is got totally beneath him to try out for some 3rd string NFL job but I understand why he did that last season. If it comes down to the choice of starting in the CFL or a remote chance to make it onto an NFL roster as a 2nd or 3rd string QB, I hope he goes CFL. If some NFL team says they are bringing him in to compete for starting QB, go for it. His window is closing due to his age so he can’t afford to waste another preseason. Let’s go Tebow.

  4. Danny says:

    Last year in the middle of March, we all heard about Tim’s Eagles tryout. I suspect that within the next couple of months we’ll have a pretty good idea what Tim will be doing as far as football is concerned.

    I’d certainly prefer to see Tebow playing in the NFL but I’m afraid the hiveminds that run the teams won’t take a chance on him. Plenty of teams could use him and he would start. Kelly would have been that guy and if he just listened to his gut rather than his ego, we could be talking about a perennial partnership with Kelly/Tebow for many successful years in Philadelphia.

    As CFL goes, here’s a link to key dates for players in 2016: https://cflpa.com/key-dates/

  5. Tisa says:

    I don’t know what the CFL or the NFL are thinking regarding Tebow, but if Tebow’s social media posts are any indication, he doesn’t seem to be getting ready for either. As any person is, Tebow is multifaceted. It seems he is more intent on his spiritual calling and his ministry. He has speaking engagements and his golf tournament over the next few weeks. At some point we will have to let him chose the direction he wishes to go. As Ben Carson said regarding the GOP nomination, perhaps Timmy sees no path to the NFL for him. He could have gone to the CFL in the past. He chose not to. Why would it be any different now? By the way, I don’t necessarily think Meyer has Tebow’s best interest at heart. As a Gator, he is definitely not my favorite person and I don’t think you can count on him signing Tebow if he does go to the NFL.

    • Larry says:

      If this CFL guy is telling the truth, Tim *is* interested in playing in the CFL:

      https://twitter.com/colinhebert614/status/704349761017610241

      • Tisa says:

        Who is he? I can’t see where he is amy thing other than some guy on Twitter.

        • ck says:

          Could be another rumor and glad u r alright concerning tornadoes…said a prayer.

          • Tisa says:

            Pensacola did suffer a lot of damage, but not at my house. Two F3 tornadoes in two weeks is scary. Thanks for the prayers. There are lots of people here who need them.

          • ck says:

            Your welcome and can only imagine…think tornadoes are worse b/c u don’t have much time to prepare, if at all, due to when it usually strikes; i.e., early a.m. while asleep!

        • Larry says:

          Tisa, it says right on his twitter profile that he’s a minority owner of the Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL team. So he’s definitely not just “some guy on twitter”.

          Buzzy Says : There has been A couple of NFL offers for a Backup Role , the Eagles Made a Call Back In DEC But they say Tim is only going to accept a starting Or to Compleate for start Postion. I dont know the other offer.

          • Shaztah says:

            Buzzy, I hope you are right about that. I would love to see the Eagles ship off Loser Bradford and bring Tim back to compete against Sanchez. Mark will crumble and soil his pants. Some of the players were vocal about Tim beating out Sanchez in practice and they were not sure why he was cut.Tim could easily win the starter job and I bet you the team wouldn’t give up like they did on Bradford. Neither Mark or Sam have the ability to rally an offense and a defense like Tim. They would win with Tim leading the team and then Kelly will be exposed for the egotistical idiot that he is. Bradford is 25 and 37 in his starts, yep thats a winner lol. Blake Bortles of the Jaguars is 8 and 21 in the wins and losses but he is starter material. I just don’t understand.
            Buzzy says : Tim turn the offer down.

          • Larry says:

            “I would love to see the Eagles ship off Loser Bradford”

            FYI the Eagles just signed Bradford to a 2-year deal for $36 million, w/$26 million of it guaranteed including an $11 million signing bonus. So they won’t be shipping off Bradford anytime soon.

          • Danny says:

            I heard about that deal, it’s absolutely INSANE!

            Who in their right mind would give him that kind of money? It defies logic for sure.

          • Larry says:

            “Who in their right mind would give him that kind of money? It defies logic for sure.”

            I completely agree and think you’ve summed up the NFL in just 2 sentences. NFL=No Fun or Logic

          • The Mascot Army says:

            Man, that Bradford contract is crazy. People never take the money into account when comparing Tebow and other QBs. If course we all know compares favorably against plenty of starting QBs, BUT he also plays for league minimum, which means you also get ten to twenty million dollars worth of upgrades outeper year other positions. Imagine Tebow behind an easily affordable best line in football! It defies logic.

          • Larry says:

            TMA: It really does.

          • ck says:

            I agree w/u, Shaztah and what a “COLOSSAL” waste of money…they are desperate imo! BRADFORD COULDN’T BEAT TEBOW in the 2009 BCS and Tebow was voted “MOST OUSTANDING PLAYER” of the game (proving he should have won the Heisman twice instead jmo!)
            Well, Buzzy, don’t think anyone would blame him for holding out due to all the false promises etc. smile!

  6. Bubbaelvis says:

    I think it is smart of Tim to only accept offers to compete for starter in the NFL. He has a small window of time to be a starter for 6-7 years and can’t waste time sitting. That is why I feel like the CFL is probably a legit thing for him. If he could go there and have a good year starting for a team for a year it would make it easier for an NFL team to bring him in to start. He could then have a decent career in the NFL. What a shame he has to go through this. He could start on all but a handful of teams right now. Chip could redeem himself for the mistake he made in Philly. Bring Tim in, hand him the keys, and collect the wins.

    • ck says:

      Bubbaelvis: If only “Chip” had the “courage of his convictions”, but his actions didn’t match his “rhetoric” (another coach used by The NFL to further negate Tebow). Hope he has the last laugh along w/fans!

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