Before today I was genuinely undecided as to if Tim Tebow would be a good draft pick for the Buffalo Bills. But after reading Brian’s latest article about intangibles at the QB position, I believe I’ve had somewhat of an epiphany. As the headline of my post already suggests, I will now be very happy if Tim Tebow is holding up a Buffalo Bills uniform come draft day. Let me explain.
Forget all of the stats, even though they are impressive: two-time Florida High School player of the year. Led High School team to state title senior year. Once finished a game on a broken leg in senior year. Although not starter, Tebow had a rushing and passing TD in 2006 National Championship win. First player to win Heisman as a sophomore. Fractured his right hand in third quarter of game against FSU in 2007 but finished game. Won his second National Championship in 2008. Finished college career with 88 passing TD, 15 INT, and 57 rushing TD. Considered by some to be the best college QB ever, if not best college player ever.
Now, nobody can deny that Tim Tebow was a fantastic college QB. What people are concerned about, however, are how his playing style and mechanics translate to the NFL. This seems to be a valid concern, as it is an opinion shared by many a draft guru. May I present what has me sold on Tebow becoming a success in the NFL:
To the fans and everybody in Gator Nation, I’m sorry. I’m extremely sorry. We were hoping for an undefeated season. That was my goal, something Florida has never done here. I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of this season. God Bless.
For those unfamiliar with the speech given by Tebow (which is now memorialized on a plaque outside Florida’s football complex) following a 31-30 loss to Ole Miss during the 2008 season, you are now familiar. That day Tebow played well, had over 300 yards passing, threw 1 TD, rushed for 2 TD and threw zero INT. 99% of people wouldn’t feel compelled to take such public responsibility for a goal they had set for themselves and their team (a lofty goal at that, a perfect season, never accomplished at Florida), especially after not being the reason for losing. Not Tim Tebow. Tebow gave his speech, but also delivered on his promise. The Gators won 10 straight games thereafter, with margins of victory ranging from 9 to 58, on their way to a National Championship. If the YouTube video of that speech doesn’t give you chills, you may be emotionally dead inside!
So back to the thesis of the Buffalo Bills and Tim Tebow needing each other. Tim Tebow is faced with another challenge, namely to prove all of his doubters wrong and become a Franchise NFL QB. Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey are faced with a challenge of trying to make a winner of a once-proud, small market NFL team that has fallen on some hard times. If you were the CEO of a company, and had a choice between hiring a guy who has proven to be a winner, someone who deeply cares about how he performs, someone who sets lofty goals for himself and his team, and then takes full accountability for his and his team’s results and shortcomings, someone who delivers on his promises… wouldn’t you hire that guy over someone who may be more talented but may not be as driven?
In the end, if the Bills draft Tim Tebow, when Buddy Nix goes to sleep at night (or at 8pm after Matlock because he’s 100 years old… sorry, had to go there!) don’t you think he’ll sleep easy knowing that Tim Tebow’s new No. 1 goal is to make himself and your football team the absolute best it can be? I mean, isn’t this the perfect storm of motivation for Tim Tebow? After achieving his goals in high school and college and graduating as arguably the best college football QB ever, he is being talked about as a second or third round pick? So being the best college QB maybe ever and winning two National Championships wasn’t “good enough” to be selected in the first round of the draft… the throwing motion that led to all that success is somehow going to stop him from having success in the NFL? Who wouldn’t take that as a slight?
To me, that screams for a comparison to Michael Jordan, who, after being cut by his high school basketball team, took that as the motivation of his life and worked to be the best he could possibly be throughout his career. In fact, he even mentioned in his Hall of Fame speech how he still felt slighted by that experience and took it out on everyone in his way to reaching his full potential! Can’t you just see Tim Tebow working hard every day, doing anything he can to win football games, running over people for tough yards, jump passes, multiple pump fakes, anything it takes to win the damn game. I mean, the guy even improved his throwing motion in the short time before his pro day such that Bill Belichick said, “I think it’s obvious that within the last six weeks, that he’s worked on his mechanics and they’ve improved, which is a credit to him. He’s very coachable and he works very hard. I’m sure that whatever he feels he needs to do, he’ll work very hard at, whatever that is. Athletically, he tested very well at the combine, which you can see on the field.”
Also impressed with Tebow’s Pro day was Jacksonville GM Gene Smith who commented, “I know he’s been working at it, and if anybody can do it, it would be him. He certainly has a will to prepare. People say there’s always exceptions to the rule. If there’s going to be one at the quarterback spot, it will be him in terms of going against everything everybody has said negative about him with the long release. He’s out to prove everybody he’s certainly capable of competing at our level."
In conclusion, Tebow needs a team to go “all in” with him, to embrace him and do all they can to help him reach his vast potential. The Bills could do much worse than to draft Tebow and be the beneficiary of a guy hell-bent on becoming a Franchise QB, hell-bent on doing whatever is necessary to help the team win, hell-bent to be a leader, hell-bent on reaching his goals and potential, and hell-bent to prove his doubters wrong, doubters that feel that all of a sudden a guy who has won in every phase of his career up until now will inexplicably suffer some sort of drop-off because they don’t like how he looked while throwing for 88 TD, rushing for 57 TD and throwing only 15 picks. I can’t say with 100% certainty that Tim Tebow will become a Franchise QB, but what I can say is that if Benjamin Franklin were alive to know the former Florida QB, he may have revised his quote to read that the only things certain in life are death, taxes, and Tim Tebow’s commitment to reaching his goals. I’m excited to be a passenger and beneficiary of the Tim Tebow drive to excellence. Either your with him or against him. All aboard?
(In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a Florida Gators fan, am just a marginal college football fan, and up until this point really didn’t have a conclusive opinion on Tim Tebow’s NFL prospects. I guess I do now!)