Published: December 15, 2011
Well, everyone else in the free world has decided to weigh in on Tim Tebow, the NFL starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. I might as well join the chattering herd.
My take is a little different.
I’ll spare you the cheesy jokes about “divine intervention” in the career of the young man whose first words in a post-game interview are always words of thanks to “my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
The majority of the Tebow talk is about the alleged deficiencies in his skill set as a quarterback.
To date, his string of victories as a Bronco has been attributed to a decent running game and a strong defense because he throws so seldom. When he does throw, he doesn’t exactly inspire comparisons with anyone enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
However, despite the less-than reassuring words from team president and two-time Super Bowl winner John Elway and a snootful of snarkiness from the consistently wise-ass sports media, Tebow seems to be improving.
If cynicism is called for, perhaps it’s justified by observing that Tebow can succeed in the NFL with the right personnel around him and the right system to suit his skill set, even if that skill set doesn’t include a golden passing arm and a Manningesque instinct for reading defenses.
Of course, that’s a delicate balance.
You could call that propping up a substandard quarterback or you could call it supporting the team leader in what is supposed to be a team sport.
Are the Broncos half-empty or half-full?
Either way, it doesn’t mean Tebow is necessarily a pro washout.
I’m old enough to remember when Joe Kapp led the Minnesota Vikings to Super Bowl IV, which they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, with poorer throwing skills than Tebow.
Kapp couldn’t throw a tight spiral if his life depended on it.
He was responsible for more wounded ducks than Bing Crosby on “The American Sportsman.” (You have to be a television viewer of a certain age to get that last line.)
Conversely, there have been several quarterbacks with fully-loaded biceps who have been complete washouts at the professional level, including Heisman Trophy winners Gary Beban and Steve Spurrier.
A former radio sports commentator I could name placed all her chips on Jake “the Snake” Plummer.
Neither one has been heard from lately.
Remember Ryan Leaf? He must have turned over a new career by now.
Furthermore, I think a great deal of the national critique of the Tebow mystique has an undercurrent of smug superiority regarding the former Florida Gator’s devout faith. I see the faith and the football as two totally separate issues.
The man is a Christian.
Get over it.
I would say the same thing if he were Jewish, Muslim, atheist or agnostic.
I don’t have any great insight into how Tebow’s overall career will fare.
There are so many intangibles – trades, injuries and coaches.
However, the sports intelligentsia apparently expected him to be the second coming of Johnny Unitas and was collectively crestfallen when the young man turned out to be human.
As Tebow himself could tell them, we all fall short of the glory.
Gina Logue can be contacted at email@example.com.