Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jesus Christ's superstar

Finally, the Broncos are winning and I've come to begrudgingly admire Tim Tebow, but still, something doesn't feel right. Sure, they've won six in a row to climb to 8-5 from a 2-5 hole, but I'm not that impressed, at least not with Tim Tebow. It was about fifteen years ago that I remember seeing, to pick one example, an athletic quarterback win game after game. Even as a child, I intuited that he really wasn't that good, and I know it now with Tebow.

In this week's miraculous Tebow comeback, he not only kicked field goals of 59 and 51 yards at the end of regulation and in overtime respectively, but he also managed to strip the ball from the Bears and recover the fumble. On top of all that, he threw the ball forty times and managed to complete more than half of those passes.

There are three things people can say about Tebow: one is not true, one is true, and one is intellectually lazy. The first says that because he can run, regular measures of a quarterback's value don't apply to him, and that detractors are merely jealous old dinosaurs who don't understand how the game has changed. This is simply not true.

Others say that it doesn't matter what he does or doesn't do, as long as the Broncos keep winning, which is intellectually lazy. Others will recognize that Tebow has played very well in certain situations due to a combination of skill, luck and athleticism.

Overall, Tebow completes less than half his passes and has thrown more than twenty passes in a game just once during this streak. He does have 11 touchdowns against two interceptions this year, but that's a function of how conservatively he's throwing. The best quarterbacks in the league average more than eight yards per attempt, meaning that their teams will gain nine yards for every time they drop back. Good quarterbacks will still average more than seven. Tebow is at 6.9 yards per dropback, and he's not making that up by running, because he averages about 5 yards per run.

Essentially, this is also a team that's playing well above its head, riding a defense and an offense both ranked around 20th in the league to an 8-5 record. You can't simply say that the stats don't tell the true story, because they do. Tebow has gotten help from his teammates, as we saw this weekend, and the hype that preceded him into the league has covered up his deficiencies. I would be surprised if this team doesn't make it into the playoffs, but this is obviously not one of the stronger teams in the league.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Good post. It is funny how Tebow gets so much credit for the win. Let's give Prater some credit...

I'd much rather talk about the best quarterback this year-- and I'm not talking about Brady. ;)