Tim Tebow: Why Nobody Wants This Locker Room Cancer

By David Guidera
January 26, 2013 9:42 am
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1,944 Views 7 Comments

Tim Tebow It’s no surprise Tim Tebow gained a reputation as a great teammate because he’s a great person.

He’s friendly, respectful and always ready to accommodate media and fans.

He’s a man of faith who actually appears to practice what he preaches.

Tebow is the NFL’s gold standard for generosity.

He brings hope to children suffering from illness and injury through his foundation. He even flies some of these kids and their families to games to enjoy the NFL experience as his personal guest. The Walter Payton Humanitarian Award should be renamed in his honor.

But his is the last jersey you’d want to see hanging in the locker next to yours if you’re an average NFL quarterback. Just ask Kyle Orton, who finished 2011 with a Total QBR of 49.8, compared to Tebow’s 29.9. Yet, conventional wisdom claims Tebow had the better year because he was the signal caller when Denver strung together one of the luckiest streaks in history.

He’s the last guy you’d want to pass block for because of his unpredictable pocket antics. Just ask Ryan Clady, who had his worst year as a pro trying to protect the skittish quarterback only to return to All-Pro status guarding Peyton Manning’s blind side.

He’s the last guy you’d want to run routes for, hustling to beat defenders play after play only to watch the ball sail over your head or get drilled into the turf. Just ask Brandon Lloyd, who demanded—and received— a trade immediately after Tebow got the starting nod in Denver.

He’s the last guy you’d want to kick for because you know that late drive is going to stall and the fate of the game will rest on your shoulders. Just ask Matt Prater, who kicked seven game-tying or game-winning field goals in the fourth quarter or overtime—three from over 50 yards.  

He’s the last guy you’d want to punt for: Denver’s 31.4 percent third-down conversion rate was the third worst in the league. Just ask Britton Colquitt, who led the league with 112 punts in 2011 versus 72 in 2012. Considering the paycheck cashes the same either way, would you rather earn your money 7 times a game for Tebow or 4.5 times a game for Manning?

He’s the last guy you’d want to play defense for. How much rest can you really get on the sideline when your offense fails to convert on 3rd down over nine times a game? Tebow offered his defense only one two-score or larger lead in “his” eight victories—half of which required overtime to secure. An offense that ineffective transfers an unsustainable amount of pressure to the defense.

He’s the last guy you’d want to coach, reportedly scoring dead last on the Wonderlic test among his QB peers in the 2010 Draft. Just ask Josh McDaniels, who traded up into the first round to snag Tebow only to leave him on the bench even when his head coaching days in Denver were numbered. What did McDaniels see in practice to prevent him from deploying his secret weapon in a time of need?

He’s the last guy a general manager would want to sign for reasons other than his performance on the field. Just ask Jacksonville Jaguars’ GM, David Caldwell. He squashed the Tebow rumors as soon as he got the job. Maybe he noticed New York Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum lost his job just days earlier due—in part—to the Tebow trade.

So the only part left of any organization that would welcome Tebow is the ownership and fan base, neither of which spends much time in the locker room. Owners want him because Tebow has a rabid following that will increase attendance and buy all sorts of Tebow-related merchandise. His No. 15 jersey led all player sales for the Broncos and the Jets during his tenure with each franchise.

Fans love him because he’s an excellent role model for themselves and their kids. He’s a benevolent super hero with no signs falling from society’s lofty pedestal.    

But Tebow will not be embraced among his NFL peers until he applies the humility of his personal life to his professional one. He can’t keep strolling into new cities reciting his desire to compete for the starting quarterback’s job when his skill set merits the personal protector on punt team.

Until then Tebow will remain an exceptional human being and a terrible teammate, polarizing locker rooms as one of the most paradoxical characters of our generation.     

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By David Guidera
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Previous Comments (7)

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21 months ago
Just give him a chance he'll prove the sports media to be the cancer. heisman National champion playoff winner and future Super Bowl contender that's what he is.
21 months ago

He had his chance. Time to switch positions if he wants to stay in the NFL.
21 months ago

i will say that Tebow won more playoff games with the broncos than Manning. :) even if i think that Manning is a better quarterback.
21 months ago

I get it Karl, but under that standard I guess we have to mention Craig Morton and Jake Plummer ahead of Manning too.
21 months ago

like i said, i think manning is a much better quarterback. some people just really liked to point out that fact after the broncos playoff loss. so i thought i may as well see if i can get a rise out of somebody. :)
21 months ago
This article is pretty badly written. Is this like the Bleacher Report where just about anyone can submit an article? You based his coachability on his Wonderlic score? Wow. That was a real stretch to plug the test in there. A 22, which he reportedly scored, is an above average score. It is also the same score that Brett Favre had, and higher than Jim Kelly's and Dan Marino's. The guy is dyslexic, so I would say that is a respectable score given the circumstances. Coachability ≠ Test scores. If you want to know about his coachability, you should probably take it from his current/former team's coaching staffs, it's pretty well documented.
21 months ago

Actually JC, I used the Wonderlic to refer to his intelligence, not his coachability. Not only is 22 not above average for QBs—24 is an average QB score according to Wikipedia—but Favre, Kelly and Marino weren’t Tebow’s peers in the 2010 draft, therefore their results on a different standardized test do not apply. Here’s how the top QBs of the 2010 draft scored: Sam Bradford-36; Colt McCoy-25; Jimmy Clausen-23; Tebow-22. He scored dead last. It’s a fact, JC.
Coachability doesn’t mean anything if you can’t apply what you were taught in practice on gameday. When Detroit annihilated Denver 45-10 in Tebow’s second start of 2011, the Broncos’ coaching staff realized they had to simplify the offense because he couldn’t handle the standard NFL offense designed for Kyle Orton. It’s not a testament to Tebow that the complete mid-season reconstruction of the offense succeeded—he simply had to manage the exact same read option scheme he ran at Florida. OC Mike McCoy deserved and received his due for completely revamping the offense for Tebow by earning the head coaching job with San Diego.
Tebow is an inspiration for overcoming dyslexia to achieve the highest levels of his craft, but inspiration doesn’t win games. The NFL is a stone-cold results-oriented business, and opposing defenses aren’t going to dial down the pressure because the opposing QB has overcome a disability.

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