Does Tim Tebow Still Have a Future in the NFL?

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Does Tim Tebow Still Have a Future in the NFL?
David Welker/Getty Images
Courtesy of NY Daily News

"I've had criticism somewhat my whole life playing football."

Tim Tebow admitted that to the NY Daily News last year. For the former Heisman Trophy winner, life inside the grand game of football just hasn't been that satisfying since he became a surprise first-round pick of the Denver Broncos back in 2010. 

Sure he led a miraculous win over the heavily-favored Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2012 NFL Playoffs, but skeptics quickly added what has to be considered an asterisk to that win. The game-winning 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas "was a pass that Drew Brees would have completed '1,000 out of 1,000 times,'" chimed in one reporter. 

Even in success, it seems that others around the world of football go out of their way to criticize and question Tebow. I am not entirely sure if it is his style of play on the field or personality off of it that rubs others the wrong way, but Tebow really has never been given an opportunity to show what he can do as a quarterback. 

This past season, New York played Tebow sparingly (eight pass attempts and 32 rushes). In the process, Rex Ryan and Co. asked him to do something he has yet to learn in the NFL. That is, of course, be a pocket passer. This was evidenced in a game against the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football when it became apparent that Mark Sanchez was having one of "his" games.

Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Rex Ryan and company owed Tebow a chance.

It's kind of like throwing a dart at a board in a bar while both intoxicated and blindfolded. You are rarely going to hit the target and will look relatively embarrassing in the process.

Neither of Tebow's first two teams have really given him a chance to be a quarterback in the NFL. for both the Broncos and the Jets it was all about him acting as a sideshow, or maybe a scapegoat, for the failures that they had on the football field. This came first with Kyle Orton in Denver and, to a lesser extent, with Sanchez in New York.

For many, Tebow represents what is wrong about the modern quarterback. He possesses the worst technique and throwing motion of any quarterback in the NFL. He struggles to make reads on a consistent basis and lacks the necessary accuracy on intermediate routes to be a threat to opposing defenses. 

These are three things scouts evaluate when looking into drafting a quarterback early. These are the things that Tebow struggles with the most. 

The following picture shows how Tebow struggled with mechanics in college.

Courtesy of NFL.com

It doesn't seem that Tebow has made many strides as it relates to his mechanics and throwing motion since being selected in the first round back in 2010.

Courtesy of the Denver Broncos

While we have seen some quarterbacks have success in the NFL with less than stellar mechanics (see Jay Cutler), Tebow doesn't necessarily possess enough talent to overcome it. His pure athleticism, which was heavily featured in college at Florida, isn't anywhere near as effective when going up against the best the sport has to offer. 

It's the damned if you do, damned if you don't mentality. Both Denver and the New York Jets wanted Tebow as more of a distraction to their scheme than a true enforcer of it. In this, Tebow has yet to learn what it means to actually play the quarterback position in the NFL. 

You can't teach an old dog new tricks without training him beforehand. This is something that the Jets and Broncos both failed to do. 

For his career, Tebow has completed less than 48 percent of his passes and possesses a 75.3 quarterback rating. He is, however, 8-6 in 14 career starts and has 29 total touchdowns compared to just nine interceptions. On the surface, having 20 more total touchdowns than interceptions in 14 starts more than makes up for that lackluster completion percentage. 

It is easy to come to the conclusion that, with refined mechanics and improved accuracy, Tebow could be a decent starter in the NFL, especially with the move to a pistol formation by a growing number of teams. 

Let me ask you this one simple question:

Would the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets have been better off with Tebow under center than who they threw out there last season? If your answer to that question is a yes, he has a future in the NFL. 

Of course this is a bit too black and white. When coming to a conclusion about his future, we must look much further into it. 

Courtesy of Bolt Beat

It goes without saying that Tebow is somewhat of a divisive figure around the world of professional sports. His charity work and altruistic mentality off the field has become somewhat of a rallying cry for those who believe athletes should be larger than the figure we see on the football field on Sundays. Some believe players are supposed to act the part of role models for children who are trying to find someone to look up to.  

From building churches and schools in the third world to helping sick children here at home, Tebow has used his public platform to create a message of inspiration to countless millions. 

This hasn't stopped others in the football world from attacking his religion and outward love of God. Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley had the following to say about the popular quarterback back in 2011. 

I sit at home, start watching TV and all I’m seeing is Tebow. That’s kind of disturbing. We have a guy here that’s breaking records every week and you have a guy in Tebow that’s saying ‘God’ every word and he gets coverage. Of course I love my faith and God, but come on man.

I am not going to tell you how to practice your religion, and Tebow isn't doing this either. He is a highly devout Christian that stands up for what he believes in on and off the field. No other player in the NFL should go on record questioning that. Maybe Finley should concentrate more on becoming a better teammate than questioning the affection another has for his God. 

Heck, this could be said for anyone that has chastised Tebow for holding his religion on his sleeve. After all, there are bigger fish to fry when it comes to football. Not a week passes that we don't hear about the latest DUI arrest or domestic violence charge in the NFL, but far be it for us to hold Tebow up on a pedestal because he represents what is right about professional athletes at a time when there is so much wrong with them.  

Of course most of this has nothing to do with Tebow's play on the football field, but that really isn't the point. As long as he continues to utilize this platform for the betterment of society, there should always be a place in football for him.

After all, there are countless young players that could use an influence like this to help them grow as young men. Whether Tebow plays quarterback, fullback or tight end in the future, there should be a place for him. Even if he never steps a foot on the field again as a player, teams should take note of his personality and bring him aboard as a coach and/or mentor.

With that said, football may just be too archaic for Tebow in the grand scheme of things, as it doesn't seem the league as a whole has accepted him into its fraternity. If that is the case, I would venture a guess that the young man moves on from this small platform and introduces the rest of the world to what most of us already know. Football itself means little when it comes to someone as selfless as Tebow. 

If the young man decides that he does want to continue playing football, some team will give him an opportunity to do so. He is better than a third of the quarterbacks currently on rosters today and can act as a leader in the locker room. 

I just fear that the reasoning behind bringing Tebow into the fold may be flawed. Are teams going to look for a media sensation that we saw in Denver and New York? Are they going to see Tebow and come to the conclusion that he can help them sell their "brand?" 

If that is the case, Tebow is too smart to fall for it. All he wants to do is go out there and play football. All he has ever asked from anyone is to actually be given an opportunity. To date, the NFL has failed him at every turn.  

With that in mind, I am sick and tired of him being the butt of jokes around the media world. It is time that we all take a step back and realize what a truly good guy he is. It is time that we look in the mirror and ask ourselves, is that the person we want our kid to model him or herself after?

If the answer to this question is an emphatic yes, which it should be, stop with the cheap shots and worn-out dogmas. If the answer to that question is a no, I am pretty sure Antonio Cromartie is available to take your teenage daughter out for ice cream Saturday night.  

Courtesy of CNN: Cromartie or Tebow as a role model?

This can be said for the media, fans and even other players around the National Football League. Go ahead and question whether he will ever be a viable starting quarterback in the NFL. Just don't pretend that he doesn't belong in the league, especially when the likes of Mark Sanchez, Ryan Lindley, John Skelton and Brandon Weeden are throwing passes in regular season games.

Don't pretend that what Tebow does off the field presents some type of threat to you. I couldn't care less about his faith and what he believes in, Tebow does more for society than any one player in the league. 

It is high time we recognize this and allow him to do what he loves to do: play football. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @VincentFrankNFL

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