Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The NFL's Tebow Experiment

Great piece by SI's Tim Layden on the NFL's "Tim Tebow Experiment." (Layden should know: He is working on a book about the history of the NFL through its greatest playbook innovations.)

Money quotes:
The NFL is fascinated with Tebow because he represents a potential evolutionary step in offensive professional football. (Emphasis here on potential because it's all a guessing game at this point.)

...

Slowly, however, rigid old rules are loosening. There is no movement afoot to install the Air Force flexbone in the NFL, but there is absolutely an interest in using option principles to complicate defensive preparation. "Somebody, someday is going to run the option in the NFL,'' says Gailey, "and when that happens, all bets are off.''

...

As I quoted Belichick in the Dec. 1 issue of Sports Illustrated, "It's going to be very interesting to see what happens when Tebow comes into this league. There aren't many players who can run and throw."

[D.S.: Feeds my "Pats-Will-Draft-Tebow" Theory.]

...

The challenge for NFL thinkers is how best to use Tebow. Can he be a full-time quarterback? (Not likely, unless he is re-made as a pocket passer). How many times can he carry the ball, making himself a threat without getting, as Belichick says, "broken in half?'' (Maybe 10 times a week? Maybe only five?). Can an NFL offense function effectively with two quarterbacks. Say, Tyler Thigpen for 40 snaps and Tim Tebow for 20? What would this do to your salary structure? Is a Super Bowl worth paying two quarterbacks NFL-starter money?

No answers here. Not yet. But know this: The questions are being asked by the people who write the checks. The Tebow Experiment is forestalled for a year, but it will absolutely take place.

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