The NFL has finally caught up to Tim Tebow. It’s copycat league, they say. The read option. The pistol. Whatever you call it, the NFL is beginning to adopt college style offenses designed to work with mobile, dual threat quarterbacks ... quarterbacks like Tim Tebow.
We saw plenty of it this year, didn’t we? Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and even, to a lesser degree, Andrew Luck, used their feet and their arms to befuddle NFL defenses. College coaches were consulted, offensive game plans were put in place to capitalize on the unique skill sets of today’s modern quarterbacks. The teams that implemented plays utilizing these talents found great success in the 2012 season. The 49ers made the switch to Colin Kaepernick mid-season and rode him all the way to the Super Bowl.
This is exactly what we all saw the Broncos do last season. Josh McDaniels pioneered the offense of right now. John Fox installed it, but only because he had no other choice. Fox made the switch only after 2011 had begun to look like a lost season. He dusted off the playbook that McDaniels had left behind just in time for the Broncos to turn it all around.
Josh McDaniels had drafted Tim Tebow on the advice of his mentor Bill Belichick. Belichick, who’s best friend is Urban Meyer, Tebow’s coach at Florida. Belichick might have gone after Tim himself had he not already had a Hall of Fame QB named Tom Brady piloting his offense in New England. The type of offenses we are seeing in pro football today were visualized long ago by Belichick, who shared his insights with Josh McDaniels.
Had McDaniels lasted in Denver, the Broncos would probably be running a college style offense today ... under Tim Tebow. But, after that harrowing and exciting 2011 season, John Elway opted to pull the team back toward tradition, trading Tebow away and bringing in Peyton Manning, a QB who’s skills Elway could better relate to. Elway was convinced that Tebow’s style was not going to work out in the long run.
Other teams, however, the Niners, the Seahawks and Mike Shanahan’s Redskins thought differently. To them what Tebow did in Denver had some legitimacy. They drafted guys that they felt could do what Tebow had done in Denver, only better. They installed modern offenses and found success.
Was Tebow ahead of his time? What if he were coming out in the 2013 draft instead of in 2010? Would he be more highly coveted? Would he perhaps be the top quarterback taken in the draft? Could he possibly even be the number one overall pick? The upcoming QB class is nothing to write home about. Wouldn’t the great Tebow be considered a prize?
Assuming Tebow were highly coveted, would he be a no-questions-asked, locked-in starter moving forward?
Would the success that GMs have seen mobile QBs have since the “Tebow era” in Denver increase Tebow’s own value? Did what he accomplished in Denver simply open a hole for future draft picks? Was Tebow ahead of his time?
I can already the Joel Klatts of the world saying “No. Tebow can’t throw”. But that wasn’t the knock on him coming out of Florida. Tebow was the only player in NCAA history to run and pass for over twenty TDs in a season. Many scouts praised the accuracy of his deep ball. What I can remember draftnicks saying at the time was “he can make all the throws”. The knock on Tebow was that he scrambled too much, that his style wouldn’t work in the NFL, that he was too susceptible to injury.
Today, with the incredible success of many other QBs who play the Tebow role, Tebow might be seen as the ultimate mobile QB. He’s considered by many people to be the greatest college player of all time. It’s my guess that his downside from a draft perspective would be far less significant now than it seemed to be then.
It’s a copycat league, they say. My guess is that GMs and coaches would be foaming at the mouth to get their hands on Tim Tebow in the 2013 draft.