Denver Broncos: Tim Tebow and the Myth That He Is Not an Accurate Passer

Rob GregoryCorrespondent IIJune 18, 2011

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - JUNE 13:  In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, former University of Florida and current Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (left) and Adam Hubbs, 16, strike a 'Heisman Trophy' pose June 13, 2011 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida, and Hubbs, from Millstadt, Ill., were visiting Walt Disney World Resort as a part of the joint ESPN SportsCenter and Make-A-Wish Foundation TV series 'My Wish,' which grants sports-related wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. The two played games at Disney's BoardWalk, ate lunch at the ESPN Club and visited the football practice fields at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  (Photo by Matt Stroshane/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

It has become a truism that Tim Tebow isn't an accurate passer.

I read it in blogs. I see it in posts on Bleacher Report. And, John Clayton says it a lot on ESPN.

It’s just everywhere. It has even gotten to the point that Tebow’s biggest fans accept it as truth, and then try to find ways around it, as in, “Well, Tebow will just find a different way to win games.”

But accuracy is important in the NFL, and thankfully, Tim Tebow is an accurate passer.

First, a definition on the word in question courtesy of Merriam Webster Online:

Truism:  “An undoubted or self-evident truth” or a truth “too obvious to mention.”

Merriam Webster forgot to add that, ironically, truisms are not always true.

Breaking up is not always hard to do. Just wait until your boyfriend or girlfriend tells you that he or she doesn’t like football, believes that there are many more “productive” things than watching (or reading about) football, and then demands that you find a new hobby.

That’s easily settled, no?

Or, how about this one: The customer is always right.

My vote is that the customer is always right, 27 percent of the time, at best.

And now there is talk that Tim Tebow is not an accurate passer.

Well lets check for accuracy.

This truism about Tebow likely started around the time that NFL draft prognosticators were discussing Tebow’s future; since then, concerns about his mechanics, accuracy and ability to play in a pro-style offense have dogged him.

You would think that he had an awful college career.

Kerry Byrne of compared Tebow’s college numbers to a list of quarterbacks that were drafted with the No. 1 pick in their respective drafts: Peyton Manning, Tim Couch, Eli Manning, JaMarcus Russell, and Matt Stafford.

His conclusion? “Tebow was, by any measure, a better player, a better quarterback and, yes, a better passer than any of these No. 1 picks.”

After all, Tebow’s completion percentage (67.11), yards per average (9.43), interceptions (only 15), and passer rating (120.72) make him a far more dominant college QB than any of those other passers.

Comparatively, Peyton Manning’s passer rating was 100.93. He threw over twice as many interceptions in college than Tebow did.

As Byrne notes: “But Tebow didn't just put up big stats ... he put up supremely efficient stats. He was more accurate, and produced more big passing plays, and was more likely to put the ball in the end zone, and more likely to keep it out of the hands of opposing defenders, than any of the recent collection of No. 1 passing phenoms to come out of the SEC.”

Tebow’s passing numbers indicate that he was an incredibly effective, efficient and accurate passer, and they completely leave out the fact that Tebow was also an amazing rushing quarterback.

So then the argument must be that Tebow was not an accurate quarterback in his three games as a starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos? Right?

Yes, Tebow’s completion rate was just 50% in 2010, and this seems to make matters moot for those who wish to validate their prophesies and close the book on Tebow as a pro quarterback.

Mel Kiper wouldn't want to wait until Tebow succeeds as an NFL quarterback before he comes back to his original assertion that Tebow should be an H-back or tight end, would he?

I mean, John Elway is one of the top quarterbacks in NFL history, never had his accuracy seriously questioned, and finished his rookie year (1983) with a 47.5 completion rate. And that was after starting 11 games.

Tebow started just three games last season, so his completion percentage is less meaningful. We don't expect rookies to play like veterans, do we?

His first start was against Oakland, with head coach Josh McDaniels jettisoned from Denver, and the running backs coach taking over as interim head coach. Tebow completed 8 out of 16 passes for 138 yards. He threw a touchdown, no interceptions, and ran for 78 yards and another touchdown.

I know, I know, we are only looking at passing numbers here, but the thing is that Tebow was the only one running the ball that game. Lance Ball threw in 20 yards, but that hardly counts as run support for a rookie quarterback making his debut start against the Raiders.

His second start was against Houston. He threw for 308 yards, had a completion percentage of 55.2, and averaged 10.62 yards per pass.

The last game of the season was against San Diego, and we should remember that this was the game that had Tebow throwing Hail Mary passes in the end to try and complete a remarkable come-from-behind win against the Chargers.

His completion percentage fell to 44.4, and this was by far his worst statistical outing, but how many of us remember thinking that Tebow was awful in the final game of the season?

I don’t remember that at all.

Instead, I remember a very exciting performance, a very loud and jacked-up Invesco Field, which had started to erase a lot of curiosity--even doubt--that many Broncos fans (myself included) had with Tim Tebow at the time.

Remember that we were told to expect failure from Tim Tebow. Tebow was given zero chance, despite his gaudy numbers in college. We were told that he couldn't make the type of pass that NFL quarterbacks need to make.

Then Tebow started to inject life into this team. He showed us the ability to rally, the ability to improvise and throw on the run. He started to make passes that he wasn't supposed to make.

No doubt, he had some poor passes. He threw three interceptions in three games. Some passes were not thrown accurately enough. At other times it was poor timing.

But since when is that a novelty for rookie quarterbacks playing in the very first few games of their NFL career?

It’s not.

People can keep arguing that Tebow isn’t an accurate passer and will fail in the NFL because of it. After all, that’s what a lot of experts and ESPN personalities are telling them. They repeat this myth and suddenly it becomes a truism.

But here’s another truism, and this one happens to be true...

A lot of professionals are crackpots.

Maybe we shouldn’t always listen?

(Stats taken from


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