The "Tebow Era" has, for the moment, begun in Denver, where experts and fans alike are eager to see what the fruits of Tim Tebow's labor will be.
One of the things that has made Tebow so annoying and frustrating for NFL analysts is the fact that everything that makes Tebow "Tebow" is so hard to quantify and evaluate. That is one of the reasons he is such a polarizing figure in the world of sports.
Those who appreciate the intangible benefits will forgive the fact that Tebow's play is sometimes ugly from a football purist standpoint. Those same football purists are worried Tebow may succeed and further distance the game of football from what it used to look like.
All of that makes the question of "How do we evaluate Tim Tebow?" so hard to answer.
The NFL analysts will be forced to try and break down every play and put some kind of comparison to another team or another quarterback in place. They cannot be blamed for that, and it is their job to create a frame of reference from which to base their opinions.
That could be interesting, but the end result will be something that is already known, which is that Tebow is simply unlike any other player in the league right now. Evaluating Tebow compared to his peers and how they achieve results is fine—in fact, it is no different than how things are done for any other team or player.
However, it is like comparing the sheer power and force of Jim Brown to the dazzling moves and acceleration of Barry Sanders. Both men were as productive as any running back ever, but the end result is a preference of one style over another and that opinion won't always be shared by all.
Fantasy football gurus and rabid fantasy freaks will be looking for nothing but statistics to measure performance, and what else is to be expected there?
There is a multibillion dollar industry that is frothing at the mouth over the interest Tebow's statistics are going to create.
Still, if Tebow scores 19 points as a fantasy quarterback with rushing touchdowns instead of passing touchdowns, and Tom Brady scores the same 19 points with passing touchdowns and none rushing, who was better?
When it comes to this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, the fans will be interested in one thing and that is a win.
All of the comparisons and the statistics have gotten the Broncos nowhere fast. Statistically and by comparison in training camp, Kyle Orton was the superior quarterback to Tebow. Yet, heading to Miami it is Tebow who now clearly has shown something on the field, in a game, that the Broncos want to see more of.
They want to see more because they think it might be the spark that leads them to victory.
A game against Miami is going to be a tough spot to evaluate the difference between Orton and Tebow since either quarterback would have a good chance of winning based on how Miami is playing. Actually, based on Miami's most recent performance, the Broncos might be able to trot out Adam Weber and win this game.
Regardless of the opponent, Tebow needs to be evaluated solely on winning because despite the poor performance of Orton, if the Broncos record were reversed to 4-1 there would be no change at QB in Denver.
Tebow has been inserted into this lineup as an audition with the main criterion being whether he can win at an NFL level. If Tebow proves he can win with the supporting cast around him this season, it will send a signal that he might be a player worth building around in the long run.
Everything other than winning or losing are just the topics sportswriters use to fill the time between the next win—or loss.
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