Making a Case for Tim Tebow To Be a Great NFL Quarterback

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IDecember 9, 2009

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 14:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators looks on during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

"For much of his career, _______ has been perceived as a great athlete playing quarterback…He has nice size and great arm strength and outstanding mobility for a QB, which often works in his favor, but sometimes works against him as he tries to do too much on his own, a la Kordell Stewart. He has really worked hard to improve his overall passing skills, and he is reading defenses much better and his decision making process has dramatically improved. He still tends to be somewhat a streaky player that can run a little "hot and cold" and tends to create too much on his own at times, but all the skills are there…his physical tools and intangibles are very exciting to NFL teams."

The Tim Tebow Bashing Festival has begun because Superman didn't pull a less-talented Florida team past Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

Now that he's headed to New York for a third time for the Heisman Trophy presentation, the talk is once again moving from his incredible college career to how he'll translate as a professional.

Many analysts and fans think Tebow will eventually become nothing more than a gimmick, selling tickets for the Jacksonville Jaguars while he parades around in the Wildcat.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Others think he'll become a tight end or an H-back, but most think he won't be very effective at the next level; I disagree.

Let's take a quick walk back through history. Just 25 years ago, there was a mobile quarterback that ran too much. His arm was better than Tebow's probably, but was seen by many as too much of a runner.

This quarterback played great in the biggest games and like Tebow, put up incredible numbers. He threw for 7,733 yards in his three years as a starting college quarterback with 56 touchdown passes. He also ran for 1,048 and another 18 touchdowns.

People told our first mystery quarterback he wasn't big enough (6-2, 215) to play quarterback and that he ran too much.

But our first quarterback was smaller than Tebow, ran for almost one-third of the yards Tebow accumulated on the ground and was almost 1,100 yards behind Tebow as a passer. He accounted for almost 70 total touchdowns fewer than Tebow in college as well.

Yet, when coaches and analysts doubted him, he simply did in the NFL what he did in college; win. He was a trailblazer for running quarterbacks and eventually ripped the monkey off his back and won the Super Bowl. He is now in both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fames.

Now, let's fast forward to only 10 years ago.

The quote that started this article was from the Sports Illustrated draft review of our second quarterback, who was even more mobile than the first example we broke down.

In our second quarterback's career, he threw for 8,389 yards and 77 touchdowns, both major conference records. He also ran for 1,561 yards and 19 touchdowns, setting all-time total yards and touchdowns records for one of the BCS conferences.

As you can read in the scouting report of this quarterback, while his athletic ability and willingness to run the ball was a good thing, there was still a stigma attached to him being a "running quarterback."

Again, this quarterback was told he wasn't big enough (6'2", 223 lbs.) to run the ball in the NFL the way he did in college. He was told that his throwing mechanics needed work, and that he needed to use his legs to create time in the pocket, not to create plays.

Then he took his team to the Super Bowl and multiple conference championship games. He's been a successful professional quarterback and not many analysts question the impact his athletic ability has had on his play as a quarterback.

Now let's look at Tebow's resume.

He has a Heisman Trophy, which neither of our example quarterbacks won.

He has two national championships under his belt, which neither of our example quarterbacks have won.

He threw for 8,803 yards, ran for 2,896 more, and has accounted for 141 total touchdowns in a little more than three years as Florida's starter.

He's listed at 6'3", 245 pounds.

And yet many of the same analysts are telling Tebow he won't be a good professional quarterback. Just like our first example, he runs too much. Just like our second example, his mechanics leave something to be desired. And, as was the case with both of the other quarterbacks, while nobody questions his leadership on and off the field, his resume will never be good enough for the haters.

But this is 2009, in the dawn of Jon Gruden's "Age of the Wildcat," mobile quarterbacks like Michael Vick and Vince Young have taken much more raw quarterback skills to the next level and enjoyed some levels of success. More quarterbacks are being asked to move in the pocket and all quarterbacks have their franchises begging them to be leaders.

Somehow though, Tebow can't be a good professional quarterback?

The first quarterback we looked at was BYU's Steve Young, who went on to become the highest rated passer in the history of the NFL. He won a Super Bowl, but wasn't big enough and ran too much coming out of college.

The second quarterback we looked at was Syracuse's Donovan McNabb, who was booed on draft day by Eagles fans. Those fans have regretted those boos ever since, as he has been a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback for a decade.

In my personal opinion, looking at the scouting reports, the evolution of the game, and the void of great leaders in the NFL, there's no reason to think Tebow can't become a great NFL quarterback.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.