I promised myself I would never write an entire article based solely around Tim Tebow. I've always tried my best to stay neutral with him. Be a fan but a critic as well. However I was reading through a couple of comments in the front page article on Mr. Craft's quote about Tebow and the comments were calling Tebow a catalyst. At first I was like "yeah Tebow sparks this team, he is definitely a catalyst". Then that pesky thing called a brain decided to turn on and it got me thinking... is Tim Tebow really a catalyst?
So I figured why not do a case study on the guy to find out (because this has never been done before right?). First a little background about myself before we dive in. I'm currently finishing up my 3rd semester at the University of Calgary and I am majoring in Pure Mathematics. Yep, I'm a math nerd but before you attack me on being a stats and numbers guy let me explain something. I hate stats, I hate it, hate it, hate it. I hate being given a formula and just told what it does and without knowing why. As a Pure Math major my job is to figure out why that formula works, not just how to use it. I also have a fair background in Chemistry, Physics and basically any science that's not programming or biological based. I also took an english course my first year and I got a B on the paper I had to write in it. The feedback I got from it was that it was insightful and highly intelligent but that they couldn't give it an A because it didn't stay on topic...
Anways back to the topic at hand, is Tebow a catalyst? Let's first look at what a Catalyst is. Webster defines Catalyst two ways:
First definition is a substance that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions than otherwise possible. This is a little technical but it so far it holds true to Tebow. Second definition, an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action. Seeing how much change the Broncos have gone through since he took the starting job, a logical conclusion would be he sparked it, therefore this definition fits Tebow perfectly.
However anyone who knows anything about chemistry knows this. A catalyst DOES NOT change the end results. In chemistry, a catalyst lowers the amount of energy required to spark a reaction by adding steps in the middle which allow the reaction to flow more fluently and efficiently. The end products are still going to be the exact same as had the reaction gone to completion (or equilibrium) without the catalyst. The Broncos are winning so I think a safe conclusion is that the end results are different from what they used to be so by this Tebow is not a catalyst.
Well now we're at a crossroads. By one definition he is a catalyst, by another he's not. If this were a calculus problem you'd say Tebow is a discontinuous function at a point somewhere near the end of the 4th quarter. That point being where the Broncos somehow manage to find a way to win. The only way to figure out where that point is would be to take Tebow's limit but what is his limit? Does it even exist? Stat's guys try to quantify what he does with formula's and put those results into spreadsheets but those results rarely make any sense and are often times wrong. Tebow could just be an exception to all the rules. Einstein came up with his special theory of relativity to compliment his general theory and to validated everything we knew about physics before hand by basically saying they were exceptions to his theory because they were studied objects which moved too slow relative to universe around them to fit into his theory completely.
So I recite the question again... Is Tim Tebow a Catalyst? He sure as heck behaves like one but he is able to do what a catalyst can't. He is able to change the end product or the end result. He also can't be quantified mathematically and heck I've yet to see an equal and opposite reaction oppose him. So what is Tim Tebow?
The only conclusion I can come up with is that he's an anomaly and one which cannot be explained by either his fans or his critics. He isn't predictable or understandable. He is who he is and us football scientists shouldn't be trying to figure him out without gathering as much facts and evidence as possible. We need to just sit back, take notes, and observe the anomaly that he is. The final conclusion doesn't need to be made until he has played his last game and all the evidence has been gathered. Till then enjoy the beautiful ugliness that is Tim Tebow and just let him play.
Go Broncos... Orange Crush FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!