NFL Postseason: Why the Experts and Fans Owe Tim Tebow an Apology

Travis GoodmanContributor IIIJanuary 13, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos receives high fives from fans after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime of the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Steelers in overtime 23-29.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

I write this article from quite a peculiar position, for I am a diehard New England Patriots fan. However, I'm also a football fan. 

Before Tim Tebow, perhaps no other team received more unprovoked hate and ire towards their quarterback than the New England Patriots did with Tom Brady.

I don't know what goes through the minds of a lot of these fans that hate players like Tebow and Brady—guys that succeeded against the odds, who live upstanding lives and stay out of trouble. 

Brady wasn't supposed to make it—he was a "camp arm" and nothing more.  He was too slow, couldn't throw tight spirals, and he was weak—or so that's what his scouting report said.  However, there is something about New England and their ability to find quarterbacks.

Enter Josh McDaniels, former Denver Broncos head coach from 2009-2010 and former New England Patriots offensive coordinator (he has since re-signed with New England and will take over his former job as offensive coordinator in 2012).  He took a gamble and drafted Tebow with the 25th pick in the 2010 NFL draft.  He was laughed at, chastised, and everything in between. 

It was a move that also led to his ultimate departure from Denver, despite him never being given a fair chance to shake things out after trading away Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.  When you get down to it, McDaniels was right about Tebow.

Fast forward to 2011: Following a 1-4 start, Orton was benched in favor of the unproven but wildly popular Tim Tebow. What happened next is something out of a Disney movie. 


The kid who had too long of a release and couldn't beat a pro defense went on a 7-1 tear through his first eight weeks as the starter.  Even more remarkable, six of those seven wins came on the road. 

I watched the game in Miami during his first start, and never in my life have I heard a visiting stadium and its fans loudly chant the name of the opposing quarterback out of admiration.  It made me a believer from day one.

But it wasn't enough, there were still "experts" and fans that said, "Well, he's not a real quarterback."  People on message boards—where brave nerds hide behind the safety of a keyboard—would disregard any level of civil decency and throw absolutely disgusting and unfounded insults towards Tebow. 

They would call him g**(rhymes with hay), f** (rhymes with bag), f***** (rhymes with maggot), b**** (rhymes with witch), name it, he was called it.  As if any of that had anything to do with him as a person. 

Let's pause for a minute and ask ourselves a question. Let's say Tebow were homosexual, would it matter?  The insensitivity of these bigots is astonishing, especially when done from behind a keyboard.  Be a man, post your information for the world to see—your name, where you work, etc.—and THEN throw out your insult.

One thing the fans and experts are also failing to realize: In what I consider to be Tebow's first year on the job, he has performed better than the man who looks down on him from above, John Elway.

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Im
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

In 1983 Elway's stat line looked like this:

  • 47.4 completion percentage
  • 1,663 yards passing
  • Seven touchdowns to 14 interceptions
  • 146 yards rushing with one touchdown

Meanwhile, Tebow's 2011 stat line was:

  • 46.5 completion percentage
  • 1,729 yards passing
  • 12 touchdowns to six interceptions
  • 660 yards rushing and six touchdowns

The biggest difference between these two sets of numbers is that Elway started the entire 1983 season, while Tebow didn't.

The next argument that came across is by far the most ludicrous: Tebow isn't winning the games, the Broncos defense is.  Now, this argument really blows me away, because I'm wondering who is stupid enough to believe it. 

First of all, if Denver's defense was so good, there would be no talk of Tebow. Orton would still be the starter, because the defense is the one winning the games, right?  They also wouldn't have had a 1-4 start, especially against two teams that they would go on to defeat later in the season with Tebow under center.

Denver has nothing more than an average defense, at best.  They gave up 357 yards a game this season, which is good enough for 20th in the league. They also gave up 24.4 points a game, which was good enough for 24th in the league.

There should be no doubt that the kid's ability to stretch completely dead plays and turn them into gains is—no doubt—what has contributed to transforming Denver into the playoff team that they are.  Simply put, Tim Tebow is a playmaker.

Yet the naysayers still persist, "But he's STILL not a real quarterback."  After limping into the playoffs thanks to a key loss by Oakland, Tebow was going to be destroyed and exposed by the league's absolute best passing defense. 

What happened in that game?  Oh, nothing, Tebow just lit it up for 316 passing yards (eerie coincidence) and two passing touchdowns, and ran for 50 yards with a rushing touchdown.  Again, that was against the league's best passing defense.

Now believe me, this is a hard article to write when my beloved Pats are set to face Tebow tomorrow.  Seriously though, how can you root against this kid? 

I don't go to church, I don't have an opinion on God one way or the other—I just enjoy football. The kid is finding ways to win and is highly entertaining. 

I do not think he makes it out of New England this season, not by a long shot. But should he find a way like he has all season, please believe I will tip my cap and become his biggest supporter on his way to proving everyone wrong, again.

Just like Tom Brady.