Florida Gators Football: Was Florida One Quarterback Away from Mediocrity?

Bob ZenContributor IIINovember 30, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos prays before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 27, 2011 in San Diego, California.  The Broncos went on to win 16-13 in overtime.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Florida has had a great run these last twenty years.  Steve Spurrier took them to the Promised Land and set the world on fire with his run and gun offense. Then he thought he’d try his hand in the NFL and in comes Ron Zook, who plodded along for a few years before getting fired and replaced by up and coming star Urban Meyer. Coach Meyer took Florida to the Promised Land not once but twice! Not a bad run, before ‘health issues’ forced Coach Meyer to leave Florida.

Some said that those health issues were because he was too focused on football and couldn’t stand not winning. Others believe that he and athletic director Jeremy Foley didn’t get along and that is really why he quit. I believe that those health issues were his broken heart over losing Tim Tebow. 

No one will question that Tim Tebow was one of the greatest college quarterbacks of all time. He is a natural born leader and doesn’t know how to lose. His personality is so infectious that there is a plaque on campus containing his famous post-loss speech. Now that he is in the pros he’s finding a way to win despite not being what anyone would call a prototypical NFL quarterback.  How many of you have been “Tebowing” at some point?  He is the stuff of legends.

It is my opinion that it was Tim Tebow, not Urban Meyer, who led Florida to their two National Championships.  If you doubt me, just look at his record without Tebow.  9-4 and 8-5 isn’t the stuff that greatness is made of.  Ron Zook was fired for such numbers.

That is also why I don’t think that Meyer will be able to do well at OSU. His staff, which many believe was responsible for his genius, is now coaching at other schools. Unless he finds the next Alex Smith or Tim Tebow, then I see mediocrity in his future too.

So, let’s play a game of what if.  What if Tim Tebow didn’t go to Florida?  Urban Meyer doesn’t get his first National Championship.  If you doubt me, look at those games.  How many critical third or fourth downs were run by Tebow?  The difference between a championship season and not can be a few critical plays. He doesn’t get his second championship either. Tebow was the glue that held that team together. He was the motor that made it run. He is the reason that Florida went on a tear. It doesn’t take great coaching to call Tebow dive play 20 times a game. 

Would Florida be horrid under Urban Meyer? It is doubtful. They likely would have managed 9 or 10 win seasons. Meyer is a good coach and his staff was even better. Still, they wouldn’t have had the greatness that they did and fans wouldn’t look back at his time as they do Spurrier’s.

Why do I bring this up? I bring this up because they have had their second season of lesser football and unless Coach Will Muschamp is a recruiting guru, then they will see at least one more. I bring this up because the Florida Gator Nation needs to thank their lucky stars that Tebow came to Florida. Without him, they’d be looking at a 10 year run of mediocrity and a reverting back to their pre-Spurrier, middle of the pack status.