The impossible has happened: Last week an NFL team won a game without a Quarterback! The Denver Broncos had only two receptions in the whole game (out of only 8 attempts) and yet somehow won the game.
Every analyst has ripped Tim Tebow apart as a Quarterback in pointing out he has a terrible release, and can’t look off the Safties. They bashed the Broncos when they gave into the fans’ demand to put Tebow and saying that all front office managers are going to ruin their careers for this spineless move. But something interesting has happened: The Broncos are actually winning games!
The Broncos were dead in the water with a ugly record of 1-4 when they made the switch to Tebow, and now are 5-5 and a game away from the division leading Raiders.
Currently his career record is 5-3 and during that time when he didn’t start they’re 4-14.
This phenomenon is what I now call “The Tebow Effect” which basically is the value of a winner. As with many things in life, we try to produce consistent mathematical formulas to intagible elements. We try to evaluate players based on indicative statistics: how fast was his 40 yard dash? what was his passing competion percentage? etc. But Tebow defies the stats as well as the eyeball test: He can’t do a simple dropback and has a long release.
But he has something that we can’t exactly quantify: He’s a winner. That’s it! plain and simple!
I’ll just make this a quick summary for those who don’t want to spend time reading.
Leadership is beyond numbers, its psychological. Stats don’t show the capability of a single individual being able to make those around perform better. Tebow himself looks bad, but for some reason has propelled the entire team to play up to their maximum potential. It’s a leadership quality that mostly remains hidden and most people are unaware of.
I’ll give another example of this on the football field: My Junior Varsity team during my sophomore year. (just to clarify, this isn’t all about me so hold judgement!)
At the beginning of my sophomore year, I somehow was able to convince my coaches that at least deserve playing time at QB even though I was competing for the shortest player on the team and was left-handed. Eventually it lead to the point that I entered the season co-starting at QB with Anthony Crimi.
If you know anything about team chemistry, the kiss of death is when the coaching staff decides to split the leadership duties between two QBs. Division almost always takes place, its a “team Edward/team Jacob” in the locker room. But that is the crazy thing: We were united.
For some crazy reason, Crimi and I complemented each-other with my strengths being able to sell fakes and confuse the defense, and Crimi had the arm to make the critical passes and as well as a nasty juking ability when he ran. For some reason the team embraced it, we were completely dominating our oppenents. We were undefeated for probably the first 5 games, when remember a Myspace conversation I had with Crimi where we were trying to predict the score of the upcoming game against Bonney Lake. The score was about 45-0 when we joked that they would have a negative score at the end. This isn’t the communication of two people competing for the commanding role of a team.
The evidence of our team was maximizing it’s potential is when the equalibrium was put out of place. Lets just say somebody new came into the picture that displayed all the proper features of the QB: Tall, Strong arm, Great release, Great accuracy, and very decisive. The coaches placed him as the sole starter of our team, and lets just say that Bonney Lake game ended up like 10-6 with us barely getting by. We lost I think 2 of our last 3 games. (I don’t remember exactly, but we did at least lost to Franklin Pierce, and Auburn, and tied with Mountain View). The next two years was full of division and controversy.
Just to clarify, I don’t want to be blaming individuals, but to point out that just the fact that the chemistry was lost. Nothing personally against anyone for that.
In order to be a leader that is able bring the overall team’s production up, you need to have chemistry with your teammates. This isn’t anything new or profound, but different types of leaders work better with different types of people.
The QB for the Broncos that was over Tebow was Kyle Orton, and he is so much better than Tebow. But for some reason his leadership didn’t connect with those players in Denver and Tebow has. Seeing how Orton has played on two teams and the rest of the team hasn’t improved when he is in the lineup shows that maybe he doesn’t have those intangibles to propel those around him.
I want make it clear this isn’t just about being a leader. Some leaders lead by leading the charge and the followers rallying behind in unity; This however is the leadership ability to push everyone else up, even if this doesn’t make the leader shine.