If sporting events were played on paper, rather than on the field, then we would be getting ready for a Final Four that, besides Duke, also featured Kentucky, Syracuse, and Kansas. Instead we are all getting ready to watch one featuring Butler, Michigan State, and West Virginia. Projection is an inexact science, and as Babe Ruthless points out in his argument, analysts get it wrong just as often as (if not more than) they get it right. Likewise, the challenge of projecting an unproven athlete’s success is just as much guesswork as it is science.
That is why debates such as these are so much fun. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to prediction and projection, there is only speculation. Only Tim Tebow can ultimately decide if he will be a successful NFL quarterback. All the breakdowns and analysis in the world will not change that inevitable outcome. Still, it does not stop us from trying our hardest at predicting the future!
With that in mind, Loyal Homer is absolutely correct. College success is not a predictor for NFL success. However, it should also be noted that having an unconventional throwing motion is also not a predictor for failure. Just because a quarterback entering the NFL is not considered a pure “passer” does not mean that he will fail.
Bernie Kosar, one of the most successful quarterbacks of the 1980s had a side-arm delivery when he threw the ball. If I were coaching Pop Warner and I saw a kid trying to mimic Kosar’s motion, I would a) cringe, and b) work with him in trying to correct it. However, Kosar made it work.
Another more recent example of a quarterback who has found success in the NFL without relying on a strong passing game is Ben Roethlisberger.
When the Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2005 it was not on the arm of Roethlisberger. During the season, he threw the ball only 268 times that season. By comparison, there were 25 other quarterbacks in the NFL that season with more than 300 passing attempts, led by Brett Favre who had more than 600. Of those completions, Roethlisberger accounted for only 2,385 passing yards (behind 20 other quarterbacks) and 17 touchdowns (behind 13 other quarterbacks).
Even though Roethlisberger was not called upon to be a “passer” in 2005, he helped lead his team to the Super Bowl and is now considered one of the most successful quarterbacks in the game today.
I am not trying to draw comparisons between Roethlisberger and Tebow (I actually think that is the LAST person Tebow would want to be compared with right now). I am simply bringing up the point that a quarterback can be successful without having to rely on a fundamentally “sound” passing game.
It is for that reason that I am awarding the debate to Babe Ruthless.
As Babe Ruthless points out, Tebow possesses other intangible qualities that CAN translate from college into professional success. Namely, he is a WINNER and a proven LEADER (qualities that many people in the NFL severely lack).
You can coach a player on how to change his throwing mechanics. You can help him to study film and learn how to read defenses better. You can teach him how to change his grip on the ball to allow for a cleaner release. But you CANNOT teach him how to be a winner or a leader.
Is Tebow a good fit for EVERY team in the NFL? No, but what quarterback is? That does not automatically mean he is a BAD fit for every team. It may take a few years before he is ready to actually run an NFL offense while he perfects his new and improved throwing style, and that is okay. Aaron Rodgers did not start right out of the gate and he has been one of the best quarterbacks of the past two seasons. However, when the time finally does come and Tebow walks out onto the field one Sunday afternoon, the coach can be confident in the fact that his quarterback knows how to win.