Making a case against Tebow

The most dominant story of the NFL this season has been the meteoric rise of Tim Tebow. The media coverage of Tebow was incessant and the outpouring of support from the nation overwhelming. In my 20 years, I have never witnessed a sports story like Tebow’s.

In a year where the NL MVP of the MLB tested positive for steroids, where one of the most storied college football programs and coaches crashed and burned in an inferno of child sexual abuse charges, where the NCAA uncovered numerous instances of corruption where two of the four major professional sports had work stoppages, Tim Tebow reminded us why we adore athletics and athletes.

But we have gone too far. The Tim Tebow mania is not only unjustified, it is downright aggravating. Despite what Skip Bayless might say, Tim Tebow is a bad quarterback. He is a great competitor, a tough athlete and he seems to be a righteous and exemplary individual. But he is an awful quarterback and unworthy of the massive Sports Center coverage that is dedicated to him.

The following will examine every game Tebow played this year — both individually and as a composite — and will reveal why Tebow Mania is overblown.

Tebow went 7-4 in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs. His seven regular season wins came against teams with a combined record of 48-64.

Not one of these wins came against a team that made the playoffs or were over the .500 mark. He lost his last three games during the regular season — games that if won would have sealed the division — and the final two losses were at the hands of the 7-9 Chiefs and the 6-10 Bills.

Those who disagree will disregard the aggregate record of Denver’s opponents and point to the fact that Tebow often single-handedly completed miraculous comebacks late in the fourth quarter. They will argue that being a clutch performer transcends statistics. But I point to the last two losses of the regular season. In the two most important games of the season against mediocre NFL teams, Tebow was detrimental to his team.

Denver’s offense scored a combined 17 points in these two games and Tebow’s combined throwing numbers were dreadful; 19 completions in 51 attempts — 37 percent — 245 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions. Hardly clutch performances when his team needed them most.

In all of his starts, he only twice threw for a completion percentage greater than 50 percent. He ranked 27th in QBR amongst all NFL Quarterbacks and ranked last in completion percentage.

The Broncos backed into the playoffs due to the ineptitude of the AFC West, the leagues best rushing attack, a good defense and a cupcake schedule — not because of outstanding quarterback play by Tim Tebow.

Their playoff victory over the Steelers is the one game Tebow fans can use as evidence of Tebow’s competency. There is no doubt that their victory over the Steelers was a legitimate one over a traditional NFL power. But let’s be realistic here: the Steelers that lost to the Broncos were not your Steelers of the last eight years. Injuries ravaged their defense and Ben Roethlisberger was playing on one leg. To put things into perspective, in a game they needed to win to take the AFC North divisional title in week 17, the Steelers struggled to a 13-9 victory over the 4-12 Cleveland Browns. This was a week before their overtime loss to Denver.

As the Broncos prepared to take on New England in the divisional round, I thought to myself, “If Tebow can go into Foxboro and pull out a victory over Brady and the Pats, I will be a believer.” As a New Yorker — and a fan of the New York Jets, God help me — I was actually rooting for the Tebows. But a miniscule part of me was hoping for New England to crush all the hopes and dreams of Tebow Nation. A small part of me wished, for once, the victim of Tom Brady’s all-time arm would not be a team I supported, but a team I despised.

Not only did Brady do his part in this fantasy, but Tebow was inept against the last ranked defense in the NFL. He threw for only 126 yards, took five sacks and completed 34 percent of his 22 pass attempts. If any other quarterback in the NFL completed 34 percent of their passes in a playoff game, the legitimacy of the player would be strongly questioned. Accordingly, we must do the same with Tebow. He was not an NFL quarterback against the Patriots and he is not an NFL quarterback moving forward.

My point is that America needs to relax their praise of Tebow and the sports media needs to diversify their coverage. Tim Tebow is a great story, but he isn’t the story. He may be a great person off the field, but many other NFL players have proven to be the same.

Not only is the incessant coverage of Tebow unfair for those of us who refuse to buy into the ignorant worship of the guy, but it is unfair to Tebow himself. Tebow Nation expects far too much from a player who will never be able to deliver a championship.

It is a shame actually; I would root for the guy if the byproducts of his success weren’t so harmful to my enjoyment of sports. Now that the Broncos are out of the playoffs, I assume I can turn on the television expecting balanced coverage, sans the seven Tebow related stories.

But then CBS Sports tried to hire Tebow as a guest analyst for the remainder of the playoffs. Good to know that Tebow has work when his football days come to an end. And based on his performance this season, that day may be coming very, very soon.