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Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 01/09/2012

Ask Boswell: Tim Tebow and the NFL playoffs

As part of Thomas Boswell’s weekly chat (Mondays at 11 a.m.), he answered a questions about Tim Tebow and the NFL playoffs. The complete transcript of Boswell’s chat can be found at http://live.washingtonpost.com/ask-boswell-010912.html.

Q: I’d personally like to see a 49ers-Ravens Super Bowl, but feel we’re going to see the Packers and Patriots. Any chance that won’t happen? Yes, I know Tebow had a good game, but beating the Patriots after losing last time? Could happen, but I wouldn’t put money on it (even in states where it’s legal).

Boswell: I’ll go with Ravens/Packers.

As for the Pats/Broncs, their 1st game wasn’t that one-sided. The 41-23 score was deceptive. Everybody moves the ball on the Pats. Tebow was 11-for-22 for 193 and rushed for 93 yards on 12 carries. But that was in Denver. I assume the Pats will handle them in New England.

Denver has to game-plan toward Tebow instead of away from him, as if they think he just can’t play. The last weeks of the season, they looked like they were thinking, “Don’t let Tebow lose it.” Where is their faith (in him?) I don’t think they had much until yesterday. Now that you’re in the playoffs, if you aren’t going to let Tebow run a dozen times and throw deep a half-dozen times off play action — and do it early enough in the game that you aren’t playing catchup — then you aren’t giving him a prayer.

All in all, I’d say I’ve moved down a notch in my evaluation of him from a month ago. He ended up losing six fumbles (a risk with the option) and throwing six interceptions. To be more than a pretty good (novelty) quarterback in the NFL, he has to keep his turnover very low, which I thought he might be able to do. (He protected the ball very well at Florida.) His “0” turnovers were very important yesterday.

Q: I wonder if Elway thinks Tim “pulled the trigger” yesterday. An amazing performance from Tim Tebow, especially when compared with his passing performance throughout the year...and against a great defense, too. One thing I am wondering: Given Elway’s supposed dissatisfaction with Tebow, what were Elway’s numbers like his rookie year in the NFL?

Boswell: Nice question.

This is Tebow 2nd season. Elway was 4-6, then 12-2 as a starter his first two years. His QB ratings (which tended to be quite a bit lower in the ‘80’s, were 54.9 as a rookie (!!) and then 76.8. His TD-Int ratios were 7-14, then 18-15.

Tebow still has a big windup and throws a ridiculous ugly-duck ball at times. He’s getting better at looking the safeties off his primary receiver, but that big windup gives them an extra instant to get back in the picture.

Q: The most fascinating thing to me is how offended people seem to be over Tim Tebow kneeling after a score or a win, praising God for the gifts He gave him. I wonder...is Troy Polamalu vilified for blessing himself with the sign of the cross before every single play? Why does Tim seem to be singled out for ridicule when, quite frankly, many professional athletes praise God on camera as well?

Boswell: The day my views on life’s most serious questions are influenced by a pro athlete’s actions is the day that all you nice chatters come down and take me off to a padded cell.

H.L. Mencken’s “Treatise on the Gods” is smart fun, if you can still find it. “There is no purpose here to shake the faithful, for I am completely free of the messianic itch, and I do not like converts,” Mencken wrote in ‘46. “Let those who believe, and enjoy it, heave this book into the dustbin...The world is very wide, and there is room amidst its dermatitis for all of us.”

Q: Is listening to the sports pundits on ESPN shout at each other over this guy. Why does he bring out so much emotion from the guys who are called analysts? Doesn’t seem very analytical.

Boswell: With ESPN football analysts you have to realize that these are actually profound religious debates __because to them, the proper way to play QB in the NFL IS a religious debate.

To an NFL “expert,” Tebow is the anti-Christ. He calls every element of their football faith into question. That’s why I enjoy him so much.

By Washington Post Editors  |  04:00 PM ET, 01/09/2012

 
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