The Denver Broncos were 1 and 4 when he was installed at quarterback. The analysts and critics howled. He can’t throw. He is inaccurate. He has a long wind up and release. It takes too long. He can’t make the professional throws. He doesn’t have the skills to lead a team to the Super Bowl. No team has ever won running the option attack that best suits his strengths.
There was an explosion of criticism unlike any that’s ever occurred over a first round draft pick. The verdict seemed to be unanimous—he would fail, he wouldn’t last.
Set up to fail
The team was depressed. There’s nothing worse than being in a losing locker room. They had just lost 4 out of 5 games with Tebow installed as quarterback, in spite of the fact that they have mediocre talent and almost no receivers who can catch a pass because they had even traded away Brandon Lloyd who was their best receiver one a week before Tebow took the starting job. It seemed like Tebow was set up to fail.
Then something shocking happened
When Tebow went in he asked the team just one thing, “all I ask is that you believe in me.” They were energized by his excitement and intensity. They became filled with hope and their spirits renewed. They started playing inspired ball and 5 out of the next 6 games which gave the Tebow Era a 5 and 1 record. A dramatic and immediate turnaround, once Tebow took over at quarter back.
It was astounding because they won on the road—the toughest place to win. They did the unthinkable; they beat every one of their division opponents in their own stadiums. That almost never happens, certainly not with a rookie quarterback in his first start.
What the analysts missed
They missed the fact that a players impact and performance goes way beyond his skill set. It has to do with how few errors he makes. Does he throw interceptions? Does he fumble the ball? Does he make stupid decisions?
It also has to do with sprit and inspiration. Does he energize his team? Do they play better because he’s in the game and they believe in him? Do they feel like as long as he’s in the game they have a chance to win? And also how does he play in the clutch when the intensity and anxiety is in the highest? Does he fall apart or does he rise to the occasion? You can be a picture perfect passer of the ball, but if you panic during the game, you’re useless.
Tebow excels at all the intangibles
What the critics have underestimated are Tebow’s strengths. Just take a look at his stats. He makes great decisions plus he’s turning out to be one of the greatest running quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. He’s so dangerous and smart about his running that it has opened up the line for the other running backs to have huge games.
And in crunch time his passes are deadly accurate. The Denver Broncos have become very dangerous for the senses to face. And the other thing is he’s just now getting his first chance to play regularly and he’s improving every game.
That’s what the inexperienced players do. They improve when they’re given a chance. You can’t learn how to play and perform as an NFL quarterback until you get a chance to get experience in the game. Tebow is getting that now and is developing rapidly. But all of these things seem to fly right over the radar of the expert analysts. Maybe they’re not so expert after all.
The lesson for me and you
Don’t give up your dreams because you might not be as talented as someone else. You can win anyway. You can improve. There are a lot of ingredients that go into winning and talent is just one—and talent will only take you so far.