Tim Tebow: Could Denver QB's Career Mirror Aaron Rodgers?
The temptation to make this comparison comes from the circumstance that both players have gone through, or are currently still going through in Tebow's case.
That circumstance is being a young back-up quarterback who fans are eager to see in action once the incumbent moves on.
Is this comparison fair, or even logical?
In order to answer that question here are some factors that may, or may not, have led to Rodgers' success. Determining whether Tebow shares these factors will help to flush out this comparison and decide if Tim Tebow's career could mirror Aaron Rodgers.
Hopefully, even those who are not "Tebow Fanatics" can agree that Tim Tebow had one of the most successful, decorated and celebrated college careers ever. His accomplishments on the collegiate level are too much to list.
Aaron Rodgers also had a very impressive two seasons for Cal, but did not participate in nearly the amount of big games as Tebow.
Still, the way that Rodgers was able to produce in college caused experts to forecast more success for Rodgers in the NFL compared to Tebow coming out of Florida.
This one could be tough because of the knowledge of what Rodgers has achieved. For the purposes of this analysis, it can just be assumed that both players enjoyed success and notoriety at the college level.
SHARED FACTOR: YES
First Round Draft Choice
This is one occasion where both players are eerily close. Aaron Rodgers was the 24th pick overall in the 2005 NFL draft. Tim Tebow was selected by the Denver Broncos at 25th overall in the 2010 NFL draft.
Two quarterbacks, separated by five years and one pick but both were large investments by their drafting teams.
Again, not taking into account what Rodgers has achieved (yet), it is clear that both players have the "First-Round Draft Choice" badge of honor on their resumes.
SHARED FACTOR: YES
Projected NFL Success
Here is what scouts from SI.com were saying about Rodgers in 2005:
ANALYSIS: A physically gifted passer with a great understanding of the position, Rodgers has made himself one of the nation's top quarterback prospects the past two seasons. May not fit every system, but should quickly flourish in the NFL for a timing offense that does not throw the ball down the field with regularity. Offers a good amount of upside and is a coachable player who should continually improve his game.
Here is what the same scouts at SI.com had to say five years later about Tebow:
ANALYSIS: Tebow has been a tremendous college quarterback and is a high character prospect with a great deal of passion for the game. He possesses the size necessary to be a signal caller on the NFL level, yet he needs a total overhaul of his throwing mechanics. Neither as good as his reputation nor as bad as many of his detractors want to believe. He needs time to develop his game and a lot of coaching from the ground up, yet he could bring high rewards for the NFL franchise that is patient with him.
While the scouts had some belief that Tebow could be successful in the NFL, it is clear that Rodgers was expected to be a starter.
SHARED FACTOR: NO
Sat in Waiting Behind a Legitimate NFL Star
Those who believe in destiny would say that if the roles were reversed and Aaron Rodgers sat behind Kyle Orton, he would have still become the quarterback he is today. That theory will never need to be tested and the past cannot be re-written.
In the grand scheme of things, if someone were given a choice of which QB to mentor under, Favre or Orton, the decision would always be Favre. Despite his gunslinger mentality, Favre was an excellent passer and opened up areas of the field with his arm that other quarterbacks only dreamed of reaching.
Perhaps it was watching Favre gut-wrenchingly push it too far that taught Rodgers when to push the gas and when to brake.
Either way the idea of mentoring is a silly one. Neither Favre, nor Orton, were very interested in trying to give their incumbents the tips to supplant them more quickly. The factor then becomes which QB has the credentials to make someone want to watch them intently and learn what they can from them.
The answer is Favre. Sorry Orton.
SHARED FACTOR: NO
Benefitted from a Coaching Change
Neither of the coaches who drafted these players are still employed with their respective teams. Rodgers lost Mike Sherman and gained Mike McCarthy as a coach, while Tim Tebow lost Josh McDaniels and gained John Fox.
This may be where the most stark difference exists in the chances of Tebow sharing a similar career path to Aaron Rodgers.
When Tebow lost McDaniels, he lost the man who was singularly responsible for bringing him here with the intent to play him someday. In McDaniels place Tebow received rugged veteran coach John Fox, who is more interested in righting the sinking ship in Denver than grooming a new quarterback.
Compare that to Aaron Rodgers who, while waiting for Favre to retire, was able to practice every day with his new head coach Mike McCarthy. The same Mike McCarthy who is now regarded as one of the best offensive minds in the NFL.
The effect of McCarthy becoming the coach of the Packers is immeasurable. Surely, it was the confidence that Packers GM Ted Thompson had in McCarthy's ability that allowed them to make the decision to not allow Favre to return in favor of what McCarthy knew he could do with Rodgers.
When, or IF, John Fox decides to turn to Tim Tebow remains to be seen.
SHARED FACTOR: NO
Will They Share the Same Success in the NFL?
The answer to that question remains to be seen. Aaron Rodgers has certainly set the bar high and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Furthermore, it is ridiculous to think that Tim Tebow will ever become the kind of quarterback that Aaron Rodgers is.
They play two different styles and are clearly two different animals completely. The feeling that Aaron Rodgers and Tim Tebow share so many things in common that it must be a sign of things to come for Tebow is false.
They were both great college players, they were both drafted in the first round and neither became a starter on their drafted teams right away. That is where the similarities end...for now.
The comment above that Tebow will never be the kind of quarterback that Rodgers is has nothing to do with whether he can be a winning NFL quarterback. Players and teams find new ways to win every season, and the same can be true for Tebow and the Broncos if that ever comes to pass.
Is Tim Tebow Aaron Rodgers? No.
Could they both finish their careers with full trophy cases? Why not...