Tim Tebow is arguably the most discussed professional athlete of this time, chiefly due to his unconventional quarterback skills, the Denver Broncos’ (his former team) success upon his installment at starter, and his frequent display of his faith beliefs. Tebow has attracted unparalleled admiration, certain criticism, and media attention unlike no other.
Although many critics believe Tebow is not a good quarterback and question his ability and skill set, he has to be considered one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL today. However, it is not his ability that makes him elite; it is his leadership and heart, which in many ways, is unsurpassed.
Leadership, though it does not show up on the stats sheet, is perhaps the most important component of competitive sports, especially football. Tebow has undeniably shown that he is a leader by every definition of the term. He led the Broncos to an 8-8 season finish after a dismal 1-4 start. He finished the regular season with 1,729 passing yards and 12 touchdowns in addition to 660 rushing yards (and 6 rushing TDs).
Tebow invigorates a team, both on offense and defense. It is not enough that a player has the ability to pass a ball, read a defense, or make a play. A true leader inspires his team to play harder, run faster, and gives them hope and the will to win. This is what Tim Tebow did as the starting quarterback. He led the Broncos to three consecutive last-minute victories against the Jets, Vikings, and Bears, led his team in three wins in overtime, and swept the AFC West on the road during last season. Keep in mind, his success was in spite of not having any quality receivers to pass to on his team. I can go on and on tossing around stats about Tebow’s accolades last season, but one point is clear: he inspired his team to win in the huddle through his divine charisma and his words of inspiration and motivation. This trait is greatly underappreciated.
Many credit the Broncos defense for victories of the last season following Tebow’s start, and I do agree that the defense was outstanding. However, it was Tebow who inspired his defense to make the plays that they made. Tebow’s motivation stimulated players to make plays and inspired his team in a way similar to his days at the University of Florida (where he won two national titles). The conversations in the huddle that inspired his team to play hard speaks largely to his success, which cannot be overstated.
The importance of heart is apparent (ask players like Lebron James, who in many ways, is the bizarre world version and exact opposite of Tebow.) Skill can take you very far, and, some would even argue, is more important than heart. However, it was heart that led the Broncos to a host of fourth quarter comebacks and overtime victories. Tebow’s heart makes up for his lackluster QB skills and inability to throw a perfect spiral.
Moreover, Tebow intimidated teams. Often times, teams were nervous of the Tebow fourth quarter comeback, which caused them to stumble during crunch time. This was certainly apparent when Chicago Bears running back Marion Barber ran out of bounds during a crucial play in the Bears-Broncos matchup. Following a game-tying 59-yard field-goal by Matt Prater, Barber fumbled the ball in overtime, which led to a Prater game-winning field goal. One could argue that occurrences like this one were an act of God or divine intervention. Whatever the case, Tebow’s presence changed the course of the games, which speaks to how he positively impacts the success of his team.
Recently, Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas spoke on radio about Tebow’s departure. The player stated that he wasn’t upset to see Tebow traded, and welcomes Peyton Manning as quarterback. Thomas said that he would rather play with a prototypical style passing quarterback like Manning.
“Everything on ESPN was all about Tim,” Thomas said. “That bothered some players, too, because they would say, ‘Tim Tebow Time.’ I felt like it was a team thing. If it wasn’t for the defense most of the time, there wouldn’t be no supposed ‘Tim Tebow Time.’
“I wasn’t getting no balls and you had to make some of these plays where some players were open and he is not making the throws, but I don’t want to talk bad about Tim.”
I agree that the Tebowmania media circus has caused problems in the locker room; however, Thomas’ statement is ignorant. He fails to realize the importance of Tebow’s leadership and the impact he had on Thomas’ career, which was unrealized up to that point. Thomas caught four passes for 204 yards versus the Steelers, 144 yards versus the Vikings, and had other great performances in other games as well. Tebow is a true leader, even if players like Thomas do not realize that. Players like Thomas and skeptics alike are haters, point blank.
Skeptics need to look at the bottom line of football: to win. Who cares that Tebow plays a nontraditional role at quarterback or that he is inefficient? The fact is, he is a winner and he inspires his team to do the same. Tebow has more heart and better leadership than any QB in the league; this is why he is amongst the best in the game today. Tebow wins with words. A team would be foolish to overlook these facts.