Denver Broncos GM John Elway announced in the opening statement of a conference call that Tim Tebow had earned and would be the starting quarterback for the Broncos going into the 2012 season. And that he, John Elway, was going to work very hard with Tebow to improve his game ahead of next season. We will return to whether Tebow really did enough AS A QUARTERBACK to go into the 2012 season with the starting job in hand.
But first, why is it Elway who decides whether Tebow will be the starter for the Denver Broncos and why is it Elway who pompously gets to announce that HE will work with Tebow? Where is the head coach, John Fox in all this? Is it not the coach who should decide who has or has not made the cut to start in any position? To the extent that Tebow was successful, it was because the coach fashioned a game plan in which Tebow did NOT have to play quarterback. Right? Or it that why the decision was made by Elway – because the coach had watched all season as Tebow did NOT play quarterback? Elway was a great quarterback but pleaaase!! He needs to get over himself. Unless he is taking over as coach, he should get out of the way and let the head coach coach!
In any event, lets contemplate the merits of the decision. What exactly did Tebow do to earn the starting position? He “won” 7 games. Not bad. As did 10 other starters on the offense, the 11 on defense and on special teams and all the substitutes. Heck when your defense limits opponents to scores mostly in the teens, any decent team even without a quarterback should win the games. And Denver did. When other teams forced the Denver Broncos to play with a quarterback, they lost. Ask the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs or New England Patriots.
Here are some of Tim Tebow’s statistics compared to other quarterbacks. We will stay away from total yardage or QB rating as most of the other quarterbacks played the full season and he did not. But averages should get us closer to an apples to apples comparison. His statistics are dismal!
Tebow ranked # 26 overall in average yards per attempt at a mere 6. He averaged 123.5 passing yards per game, ranking at #33, dead last among all quarterbacks including backups who started a game this season. He attempted a mere 19.4 passes per game, a full 27 percent less than the next lowest number of pass attempts by a starting quarterback (Christian Ponder at 26.5). He was 27th in touchdowns thrown. His only bright spot was in rush yards per game where led all quarterbacks. But even then, he only had 47.1 yards per game. Compare this to Cam Newton, a 253 yards per game passer who rushed for 44 yards per game or Michael Vick a 254 yards per game passer who rushed for 45.3 yards per game.
Having said all this, as a business decision, it was an excellent decision. Tebow is popular. He is very popular and has rightly or wrongly acquired a certain mystique. He engenders a lot of emotion, from a lot of people regardless of whether they like him. He will bring more money to the Denver Broncos next season or two than any other quarterback playing will bring to their team, win or lose. He will generate a lot of controversy because, sadly, he will fail. He will fail because he cannot play quarterback in this league. And when he fails it will generate so much publicity in the drawn out debate that will take place before he is benched, it will be a boon for the press, for the Broncos and the player. The farce and gravy train will also sadly see John Fox lose his job as John Elway tries to re-stamp his authority and clean up the fiasco he engendered.
But it will have been good business. Very good business because in the end, the Denver Broncos are a business. And on this one, the Broncos made a poor football decision, but the best business decision at least for the next two years.