Tenacity. Confidence. Fortitude. All of these are terms used to describe some of the best professional athletes that have played at the highest levels of their craft. In a sense, they have to play with some sort of chip on their shoulders as so many people cheer and jeer them at the same time. These words can also be used to describe one Tim Tebow; the embattled quarterback that finds himself on the outside looking in of the National Football League. Recently released from the New England Patriots, some believe that Tebow's career is over if he's not willing to make specific changes. Changes he seems determined to ignore.
The story of Tebow should be well known at this point. The standout Florida star that led his team to victory on what seemed to be sheer will. Winner of the Heisman and two National Championships, the rumblings of him not having the skill set to be an effective NFL quarterback were met with disdain and outright disbelief. Then, he made it to the league; where statistics speak volumes when it comes to performance.
In his four years of professional service Tim Tebow has played for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. In that time he's played in 35 games while starting for 16. During that span his win – loss record as a starting quarterback is 9-7. Statistically, Tebow's numbers do not stand out among in a way that would make him a candidate over other potential quarterbacks. He's completed 173 of 361 passes for a 47.9 completion percentage. For an understanding of how low those numbers are, especially the completion percentage, one must take into account what other players are doing throughout the league.
Since Tebow's draft year of 2010, his completion percentage is nearly five points lower than any other quarterback who was taken within the first 5 rounds and started at least 10 games. Jimmy Clausen, who is now the backup to the Carolina Panthers, has the next lowest number at 52.5 percent. In a league where accuracy is a must have for the man under center, this has shown to be the biggest concern when reviewing Tebow's numbers.
In recent days Tebow made the news when he was cut from the New England Patriots. He then took to his official Twitter account to restate his “relentless pursuit” of becoming an NFL quarterback. Many football experts, pundits and fans have debated whether or not Tebow should move into the tight end or full back position but the player himself refuses to do so. What's interesting is that very few have brought up the idea that his determination may have driven him directly out of the league he desires to play within. Especially since there have been many other highly touted quarterbacks that have transitioned into other positions in an effort to contribute to their team.
Athletes such as Sidney Rice and Josh Cribbs are recent examples of college quarterbacks that have been turned into professional level wide receivers. Julian Edelman has become the main weapon for Tom Brady in New England after spending four years under center at Kent State. Ronald Curry, Denard Robinson and Antwan Randle El are just a few others who have been successful in the league after watching their chances vanish to become a full time quarterback. Scott Frost even made the transition from college quarterback to effective NFL safety.
We've seen how effective Tebow can be as a runner in short yardage situations. There are many teams that struggle with this occurrence and Tebow could find a second life to his career in such a role.
What's even more interesting is that Tebow has initially refused to play in other leagues where he may have a chance to start under center. This strategy may not be effective at all because if he has issues with his mechanics and accuracy the best way to help the problem is through repetitions in competition. Leagues such as the Arena league or CFL are viable alternates for some players looking to make their way back into the highest level of football. Where would potential Hall of Famer Kurt Warner be without the Arena League? There's a chance he would have never received the opportunity to make the Super Bowl memories that he is known for today.
So where does that leave Tebow? Should he continue the press to be a quarterback that plays in the National Football League? Should he open himself up to the idea of playing other positions or playing in other leagues? The popular opinion should be yes. Currently, he's sitting at home hoping the phone rings while other players are getting valuable time on the field. Other players would have long been called headstrong or some other negative connotation for refusing to change. Perhaps the sports world should look at Tebow in the same fashion.