clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Assembling the Tim Tebow Puzzle

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 23: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos heads off the field after the game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 23: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos heads off the field after the game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Getty Images

One of my guilty pleasure is assembling jigsaw puzzles. Every christmas, my family would get a jigsaw puzzle and we'd all sit down around a fold up table in the living room and get to work. After a few hours, I would find myself alone at the table. I just couldn't walk away until it was finished, usually between 12 and 24 hours later. It stands to reason that I like solving problems. I am in engineering school, after all...

I think of Tim Tebow as a jigsaw puzzle. Love him or hate him, he'll sit on the pop-up table until either the picture is completed or someone throws the whole thing in the trash. Since the pieces haven't been layed out for very long, the puzzle still looks like a jumbled mess. We haven't finished the edges and some of the pieces haven't been flipped right side up, yet. It'll take a little bit of time, but we'll eventually figure out what "the Tebow Thing" is. Some people are ready to flip the table over, already. Still others have a premeditated image in their head of what they think the puzzle will look like. Can't we muster an ounce of patience and let some pieces come together, first?

The way I see it, there are two possible outcomes for the Tebow puzzle:

1)The puzzle is completed and we see the picture (for better or worse).

2)Someone gets impatient and throws the pieces in the trash.

Personally, I prefer to wait until the picture is revealed. It may take some time to let the pieces come together, but I'm willing to wait, at least until season's end.

In non-metaphorical terms, I am not going to solve the Tebow problem after just four NFL starts and neither should you.

So, if I can't figure out "The Tebow Thing" in one week, how can the ESPN pundits or people across the twittersphere figure it out?

They can't. If someone tells you that they know the future of Tim Tebow after only 4 NFL starts, they're lying to you or are very self-assured. They may think that they know, but they don't know with absolute certainty. There's something awful and amazing about Tebow. He really shouldn't win games, with his delivery the way it is and the incredibly awful accuracy displayed, at times. What makes the Tim Tebow argument so interesting, however, is that both "Pro-Tebow" and "Anti-Tebow" sides are correct at different portions of the game..

His delivery is bad. He misses open receivers. He was antsy in the pocket, quick to run and slow to read the defense. He doesn't read multiple receivers like Kyle Orton could. For 55 minutes, Tebow was bad.

On the other hand, for 5 minutes, he was lights out. He extended plays, evaded defenders, hit receivers across the middle, threw down and away in the endzone where only Demaryius Thomas had a chance to catch it. In addition, he was able to audible to a run right for the 2 point conversion. It was pure magic.

With that said, the numbers tell us that Tim Tebow is on his way to being something special. On twitter today, I decided to do some number crunching (something most engineering students would do during machine design lecture).

I discovered that Tim Tebow has a 3 to 1 touchdown to turnover ratio.

Troy Hufford
48.7 completion %, but he threw 8 TD and 3 INTs + 1 passing fumble. 7 Rushing TD and 1 rushing fumble.

Troy Hufford
3 to 1 Touchdown to turnover ratio. Pretty good.
I was asked, politely, by 303Wes to compare those stats with Peyton Manning. So, I did.
Troy Hufford
Peyton Manning 399 Passing TD 17 Rushing TD = 416 TD. 199 INT, 37 pass fumble, 20 rush fumble. 416:256, 1.6 to 1

Tebow's 3 to 1 touchdown to turnover ratio is almost twice as good as Peyton Manning's 1.6 to 1 touchdown to turnover ratio. That's not necessarily a production stat because it doesn't take into account the number of opportunities that are given a quarterback to score points. For instance, a quarterback might have a 5 to 1 TD to turnover ratio, but that's because they throw the ball away or take a sack instead of putting the ball in a dangerous situation.

Sayre put it, this way:

Sayre Bedinger
Protecting the ball =/= scoring production.

So, how do you account for scoring production, statistically? Touchdowns per game. Easy enough. I pulled out my handy TI-83 and discovered:

Troy Hufford
Touchdowns per game... Manning 2, Tebow 1.67.

As of right now, Tim Tebow is not on pace with Peyton Manning with regard to touchdowns per game. This is to be expected, as Peyton Manning is a future Hall of Fame quarterback. Although, as a person who is very interested in statistical comparisons, I was a bit shocked that Tim Tebow's touchdown to turnover ratio is so high, given the amount of flack that he receives for being a risk-taking scrambler.

For all that we know about Tim Tebow, with every pass attempt, there's still so much we don't know. Before this Tebow puzzle starts to take shape, I'm trying to stay in the middle and be cautiously optimistic about the success of Tebow. However, it seems like the vast majority of pundits/ex-players/fans are going all in on Tebow hatred or Tebow love. What they fail to realize is that there's a beautiful sea of gray, in the middle. Let's wade around, for a while, until the sample size is large enough to make a fair determination, for better or worse.

This is where the big question lies, in my opinion. How many starts will be a reasonable sample size to solve the Tim Tebow puzzle?


Follow me on Twitter!
Like me on Facebook!