Tim Tebow seems like a pretty good guy. Humble, talented, Heisman Trophy winner, national champion at the University of Florida. He's not been bad as the Denver Broncos quarterback this season either, leading his team to the AFC Divisional Round.
While Tom Brady tied the record with six touchdown passes, Tebow never got on track and finished a subpar 9-for-26 for 136 yards. The Tebowing, Tebow Time and the Skip Bayless man crush for Tebow this season may have made fir entertainment, but watching him play Saturday showed he's not close to winning a Super Bowl title.
As the NFL often reminds us, NFL quarterbacks don't always have a long time to prove themselves as a championship caliber signal caller. For these reasons, it's unlikely the quarterback will ever hoist the Lombardi Trophy above his head.
1. He's not that good: What would you say to a quarterback with a 78.2 rating with 3,474 yards passing? How about 26 touchdowns with a 56.7 completion percentage? Not too bad. A little better than average maybe? Tell that to Mark Sanchez, the New York Jets quarterback that put up those numbers. That's the quarterback for the 8-8 Jets, who missed the playoffs this season and Sanchez has been feeling the brunt of the frustration and the aftermath of the disappointing season as fans are now calling for a replacement.
Compare those numbers to Tebow, who led the 8-8 Broncos into the playoffs by winning a division with no team that finished better than .500. Tebow finshed with a completion percentage of 46.5, threw for 1,729 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games. He finished with a quarterback rating of 72.9 -- a number that puts him 28th in the NFL, just below Cleveland's Colt McCoy and Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman.
Among starting quarterbacks this season, he finished dead last in completion percentage and yards per game, On the positive note, he threw just six interceptions, so he didn't complete many passes to the other teams either.
Remember Sanchez was the toast of the league a couple years ago, leading the upstart Jets to the AFC championship game. Flash forward two years and will Tebow be in the situations Sanchez finds himself in now?
2. His mechanics need improvement: While it's possible Tebow can become a good pocket passer with time, he's been in the league two years and his motion still needs improvement. It needed work when he was at Florida, and it still needs improvement now. Maybe he'll improve as a pocket passer, become better at reading defenses and his accuracy will also improve -- only time will tell. Unfortunately, for him, the window to show that improvement may close too soon.
3. The NFL defenses are too fast: The Denver offense this season included many option plays and roll out passes. Quick, name the last NFL team to run the option as often as Denver to win the Super Bowl. It's what ESPN's Gregg Easterbrook called a "high school" offense in an article earlier this season.
What the Patriots did Saturday night, was the reason why teams don't run that kind of simplistic, spread option offense. NFL defenses are too fast for that to work week in and week out. While Tebow has proved you can win games that way, it's hard to be successful on a consistent basis.
3. He'll get injured: Tebow is big and strong, but there is a reason why NFL quarterbacks slide feet first when running in the open field. Tebow often acts like a running back in the open field, which is exciting for fans but leads to many hard hits. While he's young and bounces back from them now, that won't always be the case. It's a matter of time before he takes a hit and misses time.
4. Denver will give up on him: Tebow's performance this season has earned him the opportunity to come back as the starting quarterback next year. If he continues to improve he'll continue to be the team's starter. But the time frame from quarterback of the future to the waiver-wire isn't a long one and if Denver decides he's not going to lead them to the Super Bowl anytime soon, he'll end up like other first round picks -- David Carr, Tim Couch and even Brady Quinn -- that were traded or released. Often these quarterbacks move to another team, but as a backup.
Clark Judge, "Tebow's Mechanics Will Keep Him From Becoming High Draft Pick" CBS Sports.
Greg A. Bedard, "This Time Patriots Defense Was A Hit Too." Boston Herald.
Greg Easterbrook. "Tim Tebow, Broncos Go Back To School." ESPN
Michael David Smith. "Tebow Shows How Far He Has To Go." NBC Sports
2011 Statistics, National Football League