Re-Inventing The Quarterback
There are rare times in our lives that we get to see revolution. The word itself seems to imply a violent coup of existing ideologies, but Aristotle defined it simply as a change from one constitution to another in a very short time. Revolution in sports has mostly been confined to radical deviation from team concepts.
Think the forward pass and the jump shot. These revolutionary changes in sport are relatively rare. More common (but still with high impact on the respective game) is the revolution of play and position.
Changing the fundamental aspects of individual performance requires several elements: individual talent, opportunity, coaching, and hard work. Apply these elements to those who have revolutionized their positions and you'll see what this means. Whether you're talking about Dick Butkus or Tiger Woods, the mechanism is the same. Individuals excel in bringing something new to a game and that, in turn, attracts imitation.
One of the best examples in the past 50 years is Lawrence Taylor. Arriving at a time when linebackers were a second line of defense, LT pushed the edge and brought linebacker speed and method to the pass rush, fully re-defining his position. We are perhaps witnessing a revolution of the college quarterback. This revolution's name is Tim Tebow.
Many of you will shrug this off as simple conjecture, but stick with me. Define a quarterback. It's pretty simple...brain, eyes, and arm. That's the definition we've been playing with for decades. Sure, there have been a few quarterbacks with the ability to gain yards with their legs, but that's rarely by design and usually a product of broken play and an opportunistic adjustment.
Face it. The game we've grown up with gives us running backs that run, receivers that catch, and quarterbacks that throw. Tebow is breaking that paradigm as we watch, and the floodgates are opening.
Sure, Tebow's arm isn't great...but it's adequate. His speed isn't explosive, but he brings power and vision to the running game. Most of all he challenges defenses to cover more of the field in ways they are not designed to be covered. Stack the box and he kills you with a goal line jump pass. Drop into coverage and he runs for 12 yards.
Find a way to cover both and he hands off or pitches to a receiver on a toss sweep. A product of the system? In part. But an even larger part is the type of player. Big, strong, tenacious, and focused. Words we usually associate with a defensive end or linebacker. Now we're associating them with the quarterback.
Nothing happens overnight, but by Aristotle's definition this is revolution. Mark these words...imitation is the most sincere recognition of success and revolution. Go watch some high school football games next fall.
Sure, you'll see some pro-set quarterbacks on the field. But more and more you'll be seeing teams take their best and most determined players and line them up behind center. Revolution begins with youth and challenges our abilities to adapt to change. This revolution has begun.
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