Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mandel: Tebow Will Be Greatest Ever

Stop what you're doing and read this column from Stewart Mandel, who dives deep into the numbers to create the case that Tim Tebow will finish his career as the greatest player ever.

When I did a similar analysis for the Gators book I contributed to, I went beyond Mandel's formula, which was based entirely on fantasy-football-style individual stats.

You have to consider team performance and the player's role on that team. So: Tebow didn't just lead Florida to a national title in 2008; he was arguably the MVP of the '06 team in a sub role. Obviously, the 3rd title in 4 years -- affirming the "Tebow Dynasty" -- would close out the category.

And there is one other extremely important factor to "Greatest Ever": Mythology, that ethereal combination of on-field (non-quantifiable) moments and off-field legacy-building, in no small part helped by media coverage.

The quantitatively minded may shudder, but we like our "Greatest Evers" to be rounded out by myth -- see Muhammad Ali. See Michael Jordan. See Babe Ruth.

Vince Young was awesome, statistically. He led Texas to a title. But it was the myth of VY -- saving his greatest performance for the biggest game -- that catapulted him in the minds of fans.

This is where Tebow rules over anyone else in college football history -- already. I don't need to recite the various "mythic Tebow" moments -- just check the archives of this site.

But Tebow's individual stats (captured by Mandel and certain to be added to this season); his leadership of championship teams; and his mythology all combine to create "Best Ever."

Fascinating read, and you can see from this week's SN coverage and this week's SI coverage -- the "Is Tebow the greatest college football ever?" meme is ramping up.

Just remember who was there first... (Kidding. More like "Just remember who talks about this topic more than anyone else....")

1 comment:

  1. I really think it's unfortunate that everyone thinks we need to win the National Championship for #15 to be considered the greatest player ever. If we go 10-2 and he has 60 TDs, and our losses come by way of miraculous kicks or absurd officiating or disastrous fumbles, it shouldn't tarnish his legacy.

    Of course, I moved to LA from FL at the start of the Pete Carrol era and have been dreaming every year of seeing the Gators in the Rose Bowl ...