There are a lot of things I don't understand, but the hatred for Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow really baffles me.
I'm not talking about the armchair quarterbacks who disparage his qualifications as an NFL signal-caller because he has a long, slow delivery and isn't very accurate. I get that, although he seems to be getting better every week. What truly puzzles me are the personal attacks.
This is a player who, by every account, works as hard as anyone in the game at his craft and at being a professional and a great teammate. He's a model citizen, a selfless performer with a conscience, and a person dedicated to helping those less fortunate than himself.
By every definition of the word, Tebow is a winner on and off the field. He'll be looking to run his record as a starter to 7-1 when the Bears come to the Mile High City this weekend, but he's still a lightning rod for the haters, the cynics and the naysayers of the world.
Because he's always done the right thing? Because he's honest? Because he's different?
I just don't get it. With all the lowlifes and criminals in the game, you would think someone like Tebow would be a galvanizing presence; someone everyone could agree is a credit to the game.
Is he a little over the top with the religious references? Sure, and that can be annoying. But if that's his greatest flaw, then he's still a better person than most.
As for the argument that he's a bad quarterback, that's ridiculous. Just because he doesn't fit the NFL mold of the classic, drop-back pocket passer doesn't make him a bad quarterback.
Even if he looks awkward throwing the ball, takes too long to get rid of it, doesn't have a strong, Jay Cutler-like arm and doesn't read defenses particularly well, Tebow is getting the job done better than almost any NFL quarterback.
Anyone who's ever played or coached in the league will say the truest and most accurate measure of a quarterback is wins and losses. Tebow has gone 6-1 this season, including the current five-game win streak, with a team that started 1-4 under Kyle Orton. The Packers' Aaron Rodgers is the only quarterback in the NFL with a better win-loss record.
True, the Broncos' defense has played extremely well in most of the seven games. But it allowed 32 points to a bad Vikings team Sunday, and Denver won again, as Tebow played his best game yet, compiling a 149.3 passer rating, the second-highest passer rating in the NFL this season.
Including last season as a rookie, he's now 7-3 as a starter, and five of those victories have included fourth-quarter comebacks. Tebow has played his best football in the fourth quarter, another excellent indication of a winner. His fourth-quarter passer rating of 109.7 is the third best in the NFL.
With 10 TD passes and just 1 interception, his passer rating has risen to 87.9, 10th among all NFL quarterbacks who have throw at least 100 passes. His TD-to-interception ration is the best in the league. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder is also the Broncos' No. 2 rusher and is averaging 5.7 yards per carry. No one with at least 70 carries has a higher average.
"Denver is playing great football," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "They have a unique athlete at quarterback. He's big enough, can really run over you, and of course can throw the ball. He poses a lot of different problems. There will be some challenges with this offense."
The biggest challenge will be stopping Tebow. That, I understand.
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