Now, six months removed from Tebow’s last gig in the NFL, perhaps we should ask the question… Why can’t Tim Tebow get a contract? Is it perhaps his lackluster QB play? The fact that he’s not a typical pocket passer? Or is there something more sinister at play here? Are all the Tebowmaniacs on to something in regards to how he has been treated in the media and the league in general? Well, to answer that, let’s take a look at Tebow’s professional career as a whole.
On August 31, 2013, Tim Tebow was cut from his third NFL team in as many years. His time with the New England Patriots ended before the regular season began. In the 2013 preseason he had two touchdowns, one interception, a passer rating of 47.2, with a completion percentage of 36.7%. That’s dreadful numbers for any professional football quarterback, much less someone who aspires to be a starter.
Now, of course Tebow has better numbers throughout his career, especially at Denver. For a career Tebow is 8-6 as a starter with a completion percentage of 47.9%. He’s thrown for 2,422 yards 17 touchdowns and 9 interceptions for a passer rating of 75.3.
The key stat here is the low completion percentage. To put this in perspective, Geno Smith had the lowest completion percentage among all NFL QB’s in 2013 with 400+ passing attempts at 55.8%. Almost 8 points above Tebow’s career completion percentage, and Geno was a rookie on a talent-depleted Jets offense. So whether we like it or not, Tebow does struggle to complete passes. That is a fact that is undeniable.
Now the obvious objection from the Tebow loyalists will be that Denver proved that you can win with Tebow. Yes, Denver did experience a certain level of success with Tebow in 2011. Yes he did win a playoff game. However, before we put too much weight on these accomplishments let’s remember that it wasn’t that long ago that Mark Sanchez led the Jets to two consecutive AFC playoff births and that the Steelers team Tebow defeated in the playoffs has yet to re-appear there. The Broncos are a team loaded with talent, perhaps even more so then than they are now with Manning at the helm. Also, Tebow was running a variation of the read-option that highlighted his athletic ability, which in 2011 was groundbreaking. In 2014, it’s still an effective weapon but not as a base offense.
Let’s switch gears now and answer the question of whether or not Tebow got a raw deal from the media or the league itself. First off, Tebow had three teams by which to make an impression, he’ll be 27 by the time next season begins, and it’s not like he hasn’t been asked to change positions. Usually if a QB hasn’t made an impression on somebody by the time he’s 27 he’s out of the league or perhaps running somebody’s scout team. So it’s fair to say that Tebow did have opportunities in the NFL. Whether or not he could have had more is another story.
One of the obvious negatives surrounding Tebow was the “media circus” that surrounded him. However, as someone who loosely followed Tebow’s career I couldn’t help but think that the media itself was the one perpetuating the “media circus” narrative to begin with. Now I have no doubt that Tebow has his fans, and he has probably an equal amount of people who dislike him, both parties likely desiring to follow his career. So there is some truth to the idea that the media would want to cover this guy. However, the constant droning of Tebow stories, the sports commentators, the radio shows… It’s as if the media led to it’s own self-fulfilling prophecy!
Does the media hate Tebow because he’s an outspoken Christian? Maybe… Probably… But there’s been other outspoken Christians in the NFL before. Kurt Warner and Joe Gibbs are examples of NFL personalities that haven’t been afraid to be open about their Christian faith. Both are to this day media darlings. It’s also fair to point out that ESPN hired Tebow as a college football analyst on December 30th, 2013. I doubt ESPN would go out of their way to hire a guy they hate so much. Of course, that doesn’t speak to the rest of the media at large. My personal theory is that Tebow rubbed quite a few media elites the wrong way when he tried to take out a pro-life Superbowl commercial with Focus on the Family. The abortion industry is a golden calf to the media in our day, to lay your hand to it is heresy! That was the moment the Tebow brand began to suffer the wrath of the media at large.
Should Tebow have been offered an opportunity to be a starting quarterback for an NFL team? Probably not, his career numbers don’t warrant that. Should he have had, or better yet, WOULD he have had the opportunity to make another NFL roster and refine his game? Thanks to the media, we’ll likely never know. So to answer the question, “is it the lackluster play or media bias that has kept Tim Tebow from receiving another NFL contract?” The answer is an unequivocal… Yes!!!
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