Saturday, August 8, 2009

Start the Debate: Is Tim Tebow The Greatest College Football Player Ever?

You know it's a topic near-and-dear to this blog, perhaps the nearest-and-dearest. The question that underscores the entire premise of the blog and what makes this season so insane:

Is Tim Tebow the greatest college football player ever?

Four days into the season, the St. Petersburg Times' Antonya English wastes no time putting the topic of "Tebow-as-greatest-ever" front-and-center on Sunday morning.

The fact that he is even in the discussion is monumental enough. When was the last time we had a player in the the "greatest ever" discussion?

Actually, Matt Leinart was a contender in 2005 -- until Vince Young ripped it away from him. I would put VY up there.

But while VY has one national title -- and in the most impressive way, mind you -- he didn't win the Heisman (although many think he should have).

There are others in recent memory: Reggie Bush was certainly awesome, as was Herschel Walker. Orlando Pace was about as dominant a player as most of us have ever seen.

If you read the Gators Gridiron 2009 cover essay I wrote on the topic of "Greatest college QB ever?", you will see that I have a couple of criteria you can also use for "Greatest player ever":

*National championships.
*Individual awards.
*Statistical dominance.
*Mythology.

I would argue that, based on that widely accepted criteria, Tim Tebow is already in the conversation for "Greatest Ever," even before this season starts. NOW let's start talking...

Layer in another national title and another Heisman, and I don't think it's close. I think he needs the national title (ideally unbeaten) -- rather than another Heisman -- to secure the status.

What I don't get is the way the so-called "experts" hedge about it. "Oh, he could be..." Why not at least concede that he is ALREADY on the short-list of the greatest ever. (Danielson does.)

At this point, he is playing for "best player ever" (even if it isn't a personal goal for him). That superlative is the biggest reason this season so fascinating -- and why I launched the blog.

As I have put it before: When was the last time we got to follow along with someone who might very well be the greatest player of all-time... in real-time?

(My only complaint: Antonya! How could you not interview me for this article? Who has done more thinking and heavy intellectual lifting on this topic than I have? And I give good quotes!)

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