As the Denver Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings prepare to do battle, it is their two young quarterbacks who are center stage for both franchises. Questions are swirling about the futures of both players and while each QB has a myriad of talents, the question of whose future is brighter is not an easy one to answer.
To look at their teams records, respectively, the answer should clearly be Tim Tebow. Since taking over at QB this season, the Denver Broncos seem like a different team that is cultivating a winning culture in the locker room.
Things have been more difficult for Ponder since taking over for Donovan McNabb, with the Vikings going 1-5 as a starter.
That does not truly tell the whole story for both players, though. Tebow's rise has been aided immensely by a resurgent defense, while Ponder has seen his team be ravaged by injury. Only taking into account overall team performance may not be the strongest indicator.
Unfortunately, trying to compare the two QB's by pure statistics is not a direct comparison either. Ponder clearly has the edge in pure throwing ability and has outpaced Tebow in yardage through the air, but the additional yardage via the ground that Tebow can generate is a big part of Denver's offense.
There might be a strong argument to be made that Tebow has the higher ceiling in terms of potential between the two players, because as Tebow becomes a more proficient passer his overall offensive game will be stronger than what Ponder can offer.
The problem with that argument is that it is a big "if" for Tebow and it also manages to turn the advantage that Ponder currently has in passing over Tebow into a negative, which is illogical and unfair.
Using the players that surround each QB is equally inconclusive, as the Vikings have a clear advantage with Adrian Peterson, while the Broncos look to have a more balanced receiver corps with the emergence of Eric Decker as a No. 1 receiving threat.
In what might be the most interesting point of the entire discussion, the answer might be found in the fact that the Minnesota Vikings have already committed to Ponder long term. The same cannot be said for the Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow.
There is still room for speculation that even if the Broncos continue their run and capture the AFC West, the word on whether Tebow is future of the Broncos franchise may not ever come.
For the time being, this debate has a rather unsatisfying ending. The Vikings vocal support of Ponder gives him the edge because there is no question that he will be the starting quarterback of the Vikings for years to come.
Since the same cannot be said about Tim Tebow (for now at least) with the Broncos, it is impossible to know what the future holds for the polarizing QB.