With the impending Sunday matchup of the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos in Mile High Stadium, much has been made of the differences of the two quarterbacks Tom Brady and Tim Tebow. Yes we know, Tom Brady is a pocket passer who meticulously reads defenses and uses his mind to overcome the opposition and Tebow uses his legs and his physical endurance to outlast teams late in the game and rally a win. They are different and no one can argue that, but what about their similarities. How are they alike when you compare both of their sophomore seasons in the NFL?
They both took over the reigns of their teams in their second year. Brady took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe in Week three as a starter. Tebow took over for Kyle Orton who was rendered utterly ineffective in the first four and a half games, he became the starter in week six. Both teams were coming off of very disappointing seasons, the Patriots in 2000 went 5-11 and the Broncos went 4-12 in 2010, both were looking for identity and wins.
Immediately, both players showed tremendous leadership skills and had a knack for winning games. In Brady's second season he went 11-3 in the regular season with a winning percentage of .785. So far, in Tebow's second season he is 7-1 with a winning percentage of .875, but if Brady wins on Sunday it will knock Tebow down to a .777 winning percentage.
Both of them know how to win especially late in the game. Brady and Tebow both have five game winning drives to their credit in their respective second seasons. Brady's final game winning drive came in Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams. Tebow's drives have all come in the regular season so far. It will be quite interesting to see the final five minutes of Sunday's game.
Statistically, they are also very similar. Tebow averages 164.3 total yards per game while in 2001 Brady averaged 189.5 total yards per game and Brady scored 18 TDs. Tebow currently has scored 14 TDs with three games to go, that puts him on pace to score 19 TDs, spooky. Brady's quarterback rating in 2001 was 86.5 and Tebow's rating is presently at 83.9. I will spare you the quarter by quarter break down, but you can probably figure out what it looks like.
What about defense and special teams? In 2001, the Patriots had the 24th ranked defense and today the Broncos have the 19th ranked defense, but they are improving every week, but both defenses consistanly kept their teams in the game and made it possible for a late rally. As far as special teams are concerned, how similar is Matt Prater to Adam Vinatieri? Both had five game winning field goals in the years referenced here. Vinatieri kicked 24 field goals that year and Prater currently has kicked 17, on pace to kick 21 fields goals this season. Vinatieri's final game winning field goal came in Super Bowl XXXVI to finish off Brady's late drive.
We can get crazy now and say that both of their names are eight letters long and the first and third letters are T and M, but that would be pushing it. Maybe the crossword puzzle people can have some fun with that. I can see it now 24 across, famous NFL Quarterback T_M _ _ _ _ _, better get some more letters before inking that one in.
I'm not saying that in 12 years Tim Tebow will have four Super Bowl appearances and three of them victories or that Tebow will win two Super Bowl MVPs as well as two League MVPs. I'm just saying that the second season of both Tom Brady and Tim Tebow are pretty similar, not just the players themselves but their entire teams are similar. Sunday is when all this will come to a head and we can stop talking about the similarities or the differences in the two players unless they meet each other again in the playoffs, which isn't that far-fetched.