Next, imagine that he also weighs 236 pounds, evades tacklers, but relishes contact. These multiple skills allow him to run the option whenever he wants, not just as a trick play. His team leads the NFL in rushing yardage by a huge margin, approaching 160 yards per game while others hope for 100.
Of course we don’t need imagination. Tebow walks among us. His passer rating (83.9) is above the NFL average (82.1) and better than Michael Vick’s career mark (80.0). His 480 yards rushing in eight starts is a pace for 960 yards in a year. Vick had more than 902 yards only once.
By accident, Tebow’s odd skill set exploits current NFL trends. Spread pass offenses beget smaller, quicker defenders and four to six defensive backs that average 200 pounds a man. The Denver Broncos brute is often as big or bigger than eight of the men trying to tackle him. He tromps ’em.
The Broncos’ offense, molded to Tebow’s talents, is weirdly wonderful. Defenses built to stop the pass must now face something akin to a 1930s single wing, constructed for smash-mouth, with a huge tailback doing Knute Rockne spinners and cross-bucks except when he’s running a veer-option scheme out of the 1970s. The league burned all the books on how to stop any of that.
On top of this, he’s left-handed, always a slight edge (he has the “wrong” blind side). Finally, our man is a natural leader who inspires confidence in others because he has almost unshakable belief himself.
If this quarterback also had God on his side, it would obviously be unfair. He’s far too good to need divine intervention. If anything, a decent deity might sympathize with the other guys just to even things up.
If people keep believing Tebow’s success is a mystery, or that he can’t continue to be an effective NFL quarterback, or that “all he does is win” but not for any reasons you can identify or project into the future, I may have to quit my job and bet on the Broncos for a living.
Denver has been fortunate and resourceful for two months. A paltry 164-162 point differential seldom generates a 7-1 record in this world or the next. Field goals from 59 yards aren’t always arrow-true. But the ratio of luck-to-skill is far smaller than Denver and Tebow are given credit for.
Before Tebow, the Broncos had Mr. Average at the helm: Kyle Orton, career record 33-33 as a starter with an 83.2 rating the last five seasons. Talk about an ideal scientific experiment: Is Tebow better or worse than average?