Tim Tebow and the Value of Using the Right Words

Mark Twain once said that the difference between the right word and the wrong one is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. The latest proof of Twain’s comment is the furor of Tim Tebow.

Let me say right from the start that I like and admire Tebow. I enjoy watching him play, and I’m enjoying the unconventional success Denver is having this season. It’s been fascinating to see the Broncos pull wins out when all looks lost.

The issue I have is with the “all Tebow does is win” folks. This is the same kind of reductive “analysis” that results in absurdities like measuring the full value of an individual player’s career by the number of championship rings he’s won. Championships is (and should be) a criterion.

Back to Tebow, when he plays poorly and the Broncos win, it’s not because Tebow is a “winner” or he has some mystical knowledge about how to win. It’s because he has good teammates — in particular a good defense.

I am not discounting some of the big plays he’s made late in games — those have been critical. But, those plays were necessary in part because Tebow played like crap earlier in the game. And, those plays were possible because Tebow’s teammates made countless other plays throughout the game to keep the game close.

Tebow doesn’t win — the Broncos do. Just like the Bears did with Rex Grossman a few years back. Tebow contributes. He’s an important leader and he makes some big plays. But Denver’s success this season is properly credited to the team, not one guy.


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