End of the Tebow era/error

Mar 212012
Authors: Jesse Benn

The signing of Peyton Manning, and the trading of Tim Tebow, has been met with a mixture of celebration and angst on Facebook; and the angst I’m afraid, couldn’t be more misguided.

First, let’s look at the facts. Fact: Tebow is a terrible quarterback. Fact: Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks ever.

Just take a look at the Broncos and the Colts last year.

The Broncos made it to the playoffs –– in spite of, not thanks to –– Timmy Tebow.

The Colts, on the other hand, went from a Super Bowl contender to one of the worst records in history, purely due to the loss of Peyton.

Really, though, it’s not even fair for me to compare the two –– unless we’re talking jersey sales. But the Tebow faithful don’t seem to be quickly letting this one go.

Some of my Facebook friends went so far as threatening to disown the Broncos entirely. How dare they replace schoolyard ball player Timmy with a real quarterback!

And that’s just the thing: Tebow will never be a real quarterback. He will not be a starting quarterback more than a season or two –– mark my words.

Worst. Quarterback. Ever.

I know, I can hear every coach I ever played for: “It’s the ‘W’ that matters!” And Tebow got some W’s.

Unfortunately for Tebow’s believers, however, the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective pretty convincingly uses statistics from AdvancedNFLStats.com to demonstrate that the Tebow miracle effect was really just a lot of the right place at the right time (aka luck).

The HSAC uses two types of stats to evaluate the Tebow effect: Expected Points Added, which measures the expected number of points to come from the plays made by particular players, and Win Probability Added, which measures how much a player plays contribute to the odds of their team winning.

Generally these stats are similar for players as they measure correlating things, scoring and winning. The big difference being that WPA takes into account the indescribable “clutch-factor.”

Because of the way the WPA accounts for said clutch-factor, it’s a better measure of the value of an unconventional quarterback like Tebow; it accounts for a player’s presence on the field. (Plus, pointing to Tebow’s 47.3 percent completion percentage is too easy.)

As you might expect, Tebow’s WPA is significantly higher than his EPA, but with only one season to go off, this means very little. Tom Brady’s WPA started off higher than his EPA too, but they eventually evened out, and Tebow’s no Tom Brady.

And even though Tebow’s WPA was higher than his EPA, Kyle Orton finished the 2011 season with a higher rating in both categories.

It was hard to watch the Tebow mania last season, as a combination of luck, coincidence and one of the worst divisions ever propelled the Broncos to the playoffs –– and Timmy got all the credit.

Even my friends who should have known better were blinded by the light of Tebow. Imagine how much better we could have been if we kept a quarterback capable of throwing a spiral in, like, say, Kyle Orton? Now imagine how much better we’ll be next year with a legend like, say, Peyton Manning.

And Vegas odds-makers seem to agree; the odds of the Broncos making the Super Bowl jumped from 50:1 to 12:1 the minute Manning put pen-to-ink.

While my colleague Allison worried in her column this Tuesday that bringing in Peyton was only a temporary fix to a bigger problem, and she may well be right –– I don’t care. And here’s why, Tebow wasn’t the answer to our long-term QB problem either, and now we are instant Super Bowl contenders.

Meanwhile, there is nothing stopping the Broncos from finding our QB of the future. It only means we won’t waste the next few years hoping Tebow learns basic fundamentals, and instead we move forward fully aware of our limited time with Peyton.

After watching my beloved Broncos blow every trade since we got Champ Bailey –– throwing away talents like Jay Cutler, Brandon(s) Marshall and Lloyd for nothing; and McDaniels throwing away draft picks for the unnecessary first-round grab of St. Timothy, all I have to say is that it’s about time.

So, welcome to Denver, Peyton, one of the finest football cities in the world. It’s going to make a great home (hospice) for the twilight of your career.

Jesse Benn is a senior political science major who is rooting for the Buckeyes tonight. OH! His column runs Thursdays in the Collegian. Send letters and feedback to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:48 pm

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