I’m a hater.
Or at least that’s the person I play on twitter. Under no circumstances do I want Tim Tebow to come near the Green Bay Packers locker room. For some reason, Tim Tebow is the person that you can’t like or dislike for justifiable reasons. You either love him because he’s a great person or you hate him because of his persona; he’s more polarizing than a presidential race. “You’re either with us or against us.”
I admit though, I am the type of person who sometimes gets a kick out of disliking something simply because it feels like the rest of the world got together and decided to love it. So in the spirit of full disclosure, my number one reason for not wanting the Packers to even think about bringing Tim Tebow in, even if it’s to sell popcorn in the stands, did start for my blind decision to dislike.
But, and maybe this is where I lose some people, I am able to think outside my bitter box. I have read the well-reasoned blogs from Thad (over at Pocket Doppler) and my co-pilot here John, and I admit they have some points. Tebow appears to be “Packer People”, McCarthy’s quarterback school might finally be the place where Tebow can learn and Green Bay is the least circus welcoming town in the NFL. It all could fit together nicely.
But the problem is the Packers and Tebow are two pieces to different puzzles. For as much as I hound on Tebow for having poor mechanics and his unwillingness/inability to change those, the man does win games. Why? Not because he’s mastered a pro-style offence, not even because he’s getting better at it. But because he falls back on the things that made him the Heisman winning college quarterback. “His intangibles”.
I don’t like that word. And I think it’s silly how frequently it is used in the NFL for Tebow. (I’d much prefer measurables like arm length), but like it or not, the kid has them and that is when he thrives.
Think back to Florida. After they lost to Ole Miss in 2008, Tim Tebow “put the team on his back” and delivered a promise to his teammates and Florida fans. That promise has been made into a plaque (I’m not kidding).
Florida went on to win the rest of their games that season, including the BCS National Championship game. Why? Not because Tebow is the best quarterback any of us have ever seen play, but because he is a leader. He is a fighter. When down and out, he’s the guy people want in their corner. He galvanizes players, fans, and people on the street. He makes people win for him. He leads.
You can see the trend continue into the NFL. In his two training camps with the Broncos he entered the season listed as the third string quarterback, behind Orton and Quinn. He couldn’t beat out Brady Quinn. I argue because who needs a leader at practices. When his back’s not against the wall, he doesn’t play as well. When he’s a cog in the machine, he doesn’t perform as well.
Last year, after taking over the starting job for the Broncos people joked that Tebow only plays in the fourth quarter. That joke is partially true. When you break down his completion percentage and quarter back rating by quarters, Tebow shines in the fourth quarter and darn near radiates in overtime. In the 4th quarter he completed nearly 52% of his passes for a rating of 81.3. In overtime he competed 62.5 percent with a rating of 145.8. When you need someone to get your team together and lead them into battle, he’s seems to be your guy.
That is not what the Packers are looking for. The Packers are in the market for a backup quarterback. One to compete with Graham Harrell, one to learn from Rodgers and McCarthy and one who most likely (God willing) won’t step foot on field at all next season. This is not a situation where Tebow thrives. That is the type of situation where he flounders.
Maybe he does need a great teacher like McCarthy, but I’ve never known Ted Thompson to go after a player for what they need. It’s what the Packers need. And they don’t need another leader and game changer. They need someone who will learn their system, someone who is content – for now – with a clipboard role. And that is not Tim Tebow.