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My turn on Tim

January 16, 2012
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor ( , The Herald-Star

I find all of this hulabaloo about Tim Tebow rather amazing.

There seems to be no middle ground with him.

Many think he is a terrible NFL quarterback.


He is a terrible "prototypical" NFL quarterback.

Tebow is not Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, John Elway, Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Warren Moon, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman or Steve Young.

At the same time, he is not Ryan Leaf, Heath Shuler, Akili Smith, Todd Marinovich, Joey Harrington, Tim Couch, Kyle Boller, J.P. Losman, Matt Leinart, JaMarcus Russell, David Carr, Patrick Ramsey, Rick Mirer, Cade McNown, Dave Brown, Jim Druckenmiller, Andre Ware, Dan McGwire or David Klingler - all quarterbacks taken in the first round.

It's not his fault he was taken a good 50 spots before all the experts thought he would go.

One man - Josh McDaniels - thought Tebow was a first-round selection.

Because of that one choice, No. 15 is expected to be the end all.

Not a chance.

He is a quarterback whose legs are better than his arm.

He is a quarterback who went 8-5.

He is a quarterback who led Denver to a 29-23 win over Pittsburgh a week ago.

He is a quarterback who completed 46 percent of his passes this season.

Not good.

Tebow threw for 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Terry Bradshaw completed 51.9 percent of his passes for the Pittsburgh Steelers, throwing 212 touchdowns and 210 interceptions.

He's in Canton after playing 14 seasons.

Drew Bledsoe completed 57.2 percent of his passes for three teams, throwing 251 touchdowns and 206 interceptions. He played 14 seasons.

Jim Plunkett completed 52.5 percent of his passes for four teams, throwing 164 touchdowns and 198 interceptions. He played 16 seasons.

Vinny Testaverde completed 56.5 percent of his passes for seven teams, throwing 275 touchdowns and 267 interceptions. He played 20 seasons.

Kerry Collins completed 55.7 percent of his passes for for four teams, throwing 208 touchdowns and 196 interceptions.

Tebow is a second-year quarterback who will find competition staring at him when training camp begins in August, as he should.

Just because he is the starting quarterback and will begin next season as the starting quarterback does not mean Elway and the administration should not draft or bring in other quarterbacks to help the organization get better.

At the same time, since there will not be another lockout, I like Tebow's chances with an offseason full of work under the coaching staff.

Story is Tebow is the main reason the NCAA passed a rule prohibiting putting messages on eye black, as he did in the 2009 BCS championship game with John 3:16.

I claim there are seven elite NFL quarterbacks - Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning. That's less than 25 percent of the league, with the last three I mentioned being drafted the same year.

That means there are 25 other quarterbacks with the following on the cusp of elite - Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Matt Schaub, Jay Cutler and Cam Newton.

Then there are Alex Smith, Matt Cassell and Joe Flacco.

There are four veterans who will never be elite - Michael Vick, Tony Romo, Matt Hasselbeck and Carson Palmer.

That's 19 quarterbacks and leaves 13 other quarterbacks.

Tebow is one of those others and he has a lot of work ahead of him.

It doesn't mean he can't be good, elite or somewhere between.

Tebow is polarizing because of his faith and the fact he doesn't hide it.

He prays.

He plays.

One is not exclusive of the other.

Regardless of where he is and what he is doing Tebow is always in the mission field, doing stuff more important than football. That doesn't mean he takes football lightly.

He seems to be the consumate team player and team leader.

His faith in God has not wavered despite his successes and failures as a quarterback in the NFL.

That is his platform.

Unlike many athletes in our society, he sees the bigger picture and his world does not completely revolve around how he performs on the football field, although he fully understands the importance of that same game.

He is great for football but even better for society.

And, here is why.

Tebow spent each week during the season hosting a special person and their families.

Hosting meaning he picked up the tab for everything - food, rental car, tickets to the games. This was done home and away.

This was done whether he went 5 for 26 or 10 for 21 for 316 yards and the game-winning 80-yard score in overtime.

Last week it was Bailey Knaub, a 16-year-old who has endured 73 surgeries for Wegener's granulomatosis.

Yes, after that brilliant win, a win no one saw coming, he spent time with Bailey and her family.

"It is special to have the platform of playing football, because I have the opportunity to affect people," Tebow said in front of a ton of media after the victory. "I was very excited to have Bailey Knaub at this game, and this is a girl. ... Football is amazing, we love it, we're so passionate about it as you could see right there. But the real win, at least I would say today, is being able to comfort a girl who has gone through 73 surgeries before the game and get a chance to go hang out with her now. That's the biggest win of the day.

"They're both exciting, but that's what I'm even more proud of."

Knaub responded in story by Mike Brohard in the Loveland, Colo., Reporter Herald.

"He told me he was glad that I came, and that I was such an inspiration for what I was dealing with and being so positive even though I've been through so much," she said. "It was all too exciting.

"I didn't think I had that much effect. Now I realize how big a part I could play in the future. I can do something more."

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be reached at

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