Tim Tebow and John Elway: A Comparison Through Their First Five Games

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Tim Tebow was bad yesterday, but John Elway was worse through five games

<p> Tim Tebow was bad yesterday, but John Elway was worse through five games</p>

Here's a little perspective for all the Tim Tebow haters out there, John Elway included: In Elway's fifth career start, he was 4-of-10 passing for 36 yards and no touchdowns, and he threw a pick-six before being yanked in favor of Steve DeBerg in a 31–14 loss to the Bears. The game dropped Elway's record as a starter to 2–3, and at that point in his career, he was 38-of-83 passing (45.7 percent) for 420 yards (84 yards per game) and one — one! — touchdown. His highest passer rating in any of his first five games? 58.8. I guess the Broncos should have declared the Elway experiment to be a failure and moved on to their "Suck for Esiason" strategy.

Here's a side-by-side comparison between Tebow and the man who will decide his future in the league (over their first five career starts):

                                    Tim Tebow                 John Elway
Starting Record                 2–3                              2–3
Att-Comp                     75-157 (47.7%)           38-83 (45.7%)
Passing Yards                     984                             427
TD-INT                                  8-4                              1-5
Rushing Yards                   327                               41

I'm not saying that Tim Tebow is going to evolve into a two-time Super Bowl-winning, Hall of Fame quarterback. What I am saying is that declaring Tebow to be an NFL bust, which seems to be the prevailing sentiment right now, is premature, and that Elway would do well to remember his own horrendous start when publicly assessing his current quarterback. 

There's no point in sugarcoating Tebow's performance yesterday; he was awful against Detroit in a 45–10 loss, completing 18-of-39 passes for 172 yards, throwing a 100-yard pick-six to Chris Houston and losing a fumble that Cliff Avril returned 24 yards for a touchdown. 

But this rush to judgment is ridiculous, particularly when you consider that Tebow's offensive line essentially put his life in danger, surrendering seven sacks to the Lions' ferocious offensive front.

Tebow is not the classic NFL prototype at the position that Elway was, and he may never be an effective pocket passer. But he brings attributes to the position that make him worth the risk, particularly for a team that's going nowhere and doesn't possess a better option. 

It's hard to play NFL quarterback; there are fewer than 32 guys on the planet who can do it competently. I may be crazy, but given Timmy's intangibles, I think this experiment could still work. The relentlessly optimistic Tebow agrees with me: "I'm just going to get up early and go to work and try to get better tomorrow and consistently improve and be the best person-slash-quarterback for this organization," he said. "We'll bounce back and have a great week of practice and get ready to go try and get a win next week."

Elsewhere…
• Ben Roethlisberger out-Brady'd Tom Brady, completing 36-of-50 passes for 365 yards and two scores in Pittsburgh's 25–17 win over New England and its NFL-worst defense. Brady dropped to 6–2 all-time against a team he normally dominates. 

• The Dream lives on. Philly kept hope alive with a 34–7 demolition of the Cowboys in a game that was over before halftime. LeSean McCoy had the sixth-best rushing performance in Eagles history (185 yards).

• Over in the AFC South, the Haves had their way with the Have-Nots. Tennessee toyed with the Colts, winning 27–10, while the Texans shut down the NFL's worst offense in a 24–14 win over Jacksonville. Houston (5–3) remains a half-game ahead of Tennessee (4–3) in what could become one of the better division races.

• Maybe it was the throwback unis. The Rams got their first win, and it was a shocker: 31–21 over the Saints. Steven Jackson got loose for 159 yards and two touchdowns, and A.J. Feeley — yep, A.J. Feeley — was the winning quarterback. 

— by Rob Doster

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