Tim Tebow & Coaches Who Fail to Study History

Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them. (Paraphase of a George Santayana quote from “The Life of Reason, Volume 1:  Reason in Common Sense”)

When all is said and done, will the two Johns — Fox and Elway — be counted with  Howard and Meyer or with Dorminey?  Meyer, of course, is fomer University of Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer.  Who, pray tell, are these Howard and Dorminey fellow?  Outside of rabid Florida high school football fans or those who have read (or, like me, have started reading) Tim Tebow’s autobiography, “Through My Eyes,” no one has probably heard of Coach Craig Howard or Coach Verlon Dorminey.

You see, Coach Dorminey was the Head Coach of Jacksonville’s Trinity Christian Academy.  After a young, 8th-grade Tim Tebow led Trinity’s JV football team to an undefeated season as their QUARTERBACK, it was Dorminey who would tell Tebow and his family that Tim should play, not quarterback, but rather linebacker, at Trinity.  As only Homer Simpson could say, “D’oh!”

In what Tim Tebow describes as “position by stereotype,”  Dorminey was of the philosophy that Tebow’s build — not withstanding the obvious facts of an undefeated JV season staring him in the face — suited him to play linebacker like his older brothers.  I do not know the Tebows personally, but I would venture to say that God has created each of the Tebow boys differently.  One should not make the mistake, as did Dorminey, to believe that Tim Tebow was gifted to play any position other than quarterback.

Thankfully, Craig Howard, Head Coach of Nease High School, the public high school in St. John’s County, FL where Tim Tebow would get the chance to start at quarterback, saw things differently than Coach Dorminey.  Not only would Tim Tebow start at quarterback, but he would lead Nease to a 4A State Championship in his senior year, beating Armwood High School 44-37 in the state finals played at the Miami Dolphins’ Sun Life Joe Robbie Statium.  Of couse, this stadium was the place where Tebow and the Florida Gators won a National Championship against the Sam Bradford-led Oklahoma Sooners and where he would lead the only Broncos’ team to ever beat the Dolphins in Miami in a stunning come-from-behind overtime victory in his first start of the 2011 season.

After a 4-1 start, Tim Tebow looks to be the future quarterback of the Denver Broncos.  However, John Elway, the former Broncos’ great and now V.P of Football Operations for Denver, apparently can’t bring himself to “buy into” Tim Tebow as the long-term solution to the franchise’s football woes at quarterback.  Elway, who seems to give a lot more interviews than any other V.P. of Football Operations of any NFL franchise, had the following exchange with a local Denver radio station on Monday:

“Any closer to feeling if you have your quarterback on this team?”

Elway flatly answered “no.”

“I think obviously [Tebow is] making progress week in and week out. When you look at our third down numbers, those have to improve. I mean, that’s the bottom line,” Elway said. “We can’t go 3-for-13 [on third downs] and win a world championship. Those are the type of things we have to keep improving.”

Talk about a ringing endorsement of the Broncos’ current starter.  I’m not sure how Elway could be more tepid in his support of Tim Tebow, although the pained expression on his face while gingerly clapping after Tebow’s game-winning run against the Jets last Thursday might would rank up there.  Did anyone — including the great John Elway — honestly think that the Broncos could compete for a play-off spot this year, much less a world championship?

Common sense (which seems to be in short supply in the Tebow debate) would tell us that Super Bowl champions would need a better completion percentage than 3-for-13.  However, the facts tell us teams that are in a rebuilding mode with a second-year quarterback named Tebow and a young offensive line can and do win football games, even with low 3rd down completion percentages.  But, why let facts get in the way of feelings.  After all, we are a feelings-oriented culture.

I expect the Merril Hoge’s and Cris Carter’s of the football world to continue to move the goalposts on Tim Tebow.  However, I do not expect the V.P. of Football Operations for the Denver Broncos to keep changing the standards by which Tim Tebow is judged.  And, to give such a pathetically lame answer to a question that he should have known was coming either shows that Elway really does not want Tim Tebow as the quarterback of the future or he is not as good a front office man as he was a field general.  Neither one is an attractive option.

For the record, I believe that Tim Tebow needs to improve his skills as a professional quarterback.  Of course, Tim Tebow would tell you that as well.  But, why is Tim Tebow held to a different standard than any other NFL quarterback with similar playing/starting experience?  At this point, I think that the answer to that question is obvious, but I’ll let the readers decide for themselves based on the facts that are before us.

Funny thing is, that the football facts — the good, the bad, and the ugly — regarding one Tim Tebow are right in front of us.  Similar facts, albeit with a much younger Tim Tebow, were before Coach Dorminey and Coach Howard.  More refined facts were before Urban Meyer.  Still more facts — including a 4-1 starting record since he took over for the now waived Kyle Orton — are staring John Fox and John Elway in the face.

Tim Tebow is not your conventional, stereotypical quarterback.  Never has been.  Never will be.  Craig Howard and Urban Meyer had the vision to see it.  John Fox wants to.  John Elway may never see it.  Here’s hoping that the two Johns don’t end up in the same sentence with Verlon Dorminey, but instead end up alongside Howard and Meyer.

I have my doubts about the two Johns, but not about Tim Tebow.  Those who don’t study his history are doomed to get run over at some point by the strong-willed young man who knew he was destined to be a quarterback since he was six.  If we only could see through his eyes!  Maybe somebody needs to get John Elway a certain book for Christmas.

14 comments for “Tim Tebow & Coaches Who Fail to Study History

  1. Scott Shaffer
    November 23, 2011 at 6:10 AM

    I hope you’re correct about Tebow’s future in the NFL. A question and a comment for you:

    1. Do you really think the announcers, Elway, and Tim’s high school coach purposely singled him out for criticism or held him to a higher standard just because he is a Christian? If so, that makes them liars that care more about bashing someone’s faith than winning football games, or in the case of Hoge and his cohorts, analyzing players, teams, and games.

    2. I could argue that Elway and the NFL announcers DO know their history, and NFL history tells them that quarterbacks with Tim’s mechanics don’t have long, successful careers.

    Happy Thanksgiving! Go Cowboys!

    • November 23, 2011 at 6:30 AM

      Scott,

      Since we share the same name, I’ll try to be as gracious as I can be to a Cowboys fan on the day before Thanksgiving 😉 Unlike some, I don’t think that every criticism of Tebow is without merit or based solely on his Christian faith. However, it seems to me (others can disagree) that there is an underlying component to some of the criticism that cannot be explained apart from some type of bias (perhaps latent) because of Tim Tebow’s off-the-field conduct and/or beliefs. If former NFL players like Chris Collinsworth and Randy Cross can perceive this, then I think the anti-Christian bias angle cannot be summarily dismissed.

      As to Elway and the NFL announcers knowing their history, I would simply say that Tebow is perhaps unlike any other player who has ever played at the quarterback position in the history of the NFL. That seems like an unbelievable statement to make, but when you have fellow teammate Champ Bailey, along with Kurt Warner and others, saying that they have never seen anyone quite like Tim Tebow in their entire careers, then you may have to throw out the history books and the conventional thinking when it comes to Tebow. I don’t know whether or not Tim Tebow will have a long, successful career as an NFL quarterback, but based on his past performances and history, I believe that he will confound his critics and even his friends along the way. Thanks for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving as well! God bless,

      Howell

  2. Scott Shaffer
    November 23, 2011 at 7:43 AM

    I hope you’re right. He’s fun to watch and is a great competitor. I just cringe when he throws the ball though!

  3. November 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Here’s my thought process as I watch Tim Tebow play QB in an NFL game.

    Oh, boy – the critics were right.
    That was bad.
    Ooops.
    Not good.
    Missed that one.
    Maybe Merrill Hoge knows what he’s talking about.

    Wow! Look at that. Amazing. How’d he do that?
    Broncos win.

    I am pulling for Tim Tebow and I hope he can make it happen. Every time I watch him, I cringe and look away, right up until that point when he makes an amazing play that wins the game.

  4. November 23, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Scott and Dave,

    After a long (but good)day at LegoLand Florida with the family, I have finally made it back to a computer. I have to admit that I have cringed,looked away, yelled at the tv screen and even changed the channel over the past three weeks as I have watched Tebow play. Does he have to improve his passing game? No doubt. I think that will come with both practice and game time experience. The fact that he is winning is a testament to his competitive spirit. Hasn’t hurt that the Broncos’ defense has been playing great, thus allowing Tebow and the offense to stay close.

    Although Dave, I would disagree with you on at least one point — Merril Hoge has shown himself to be so irrational when it comes to Tim Tebow that I would not give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he is talking about 🙂 Have a great Thanksgiving and God bless,

    Howell

  5. November 23, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Dave Miller hasnever made much sense to me. Suffers from Loggorhea or something.
    Can’t figure how one has blogged about a son who was considered at MIT but remains an apologist for the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC.
    That Said, Tebow is an incredible athlete; but like his former pastor Jerry Vines, maybe a little histrionic and overcooked.
    Maybe he will get tenure at Shorter College.
    I would hope Scott Howell would google the Rome News Tribune and follow the letters and columns there in the Opinion Pages.
    It is an incredible travesty the havoc the world of Al Mohler and Dave Miller have created. The latest firestorm.

    • November 23, 2011 at 7:28 PM

      Stephen,

      I agree that Tim Tebow is an incredible athlete. I’m not sure that it is the histrionics that come from Tebow himself as much as it is the media who love to play up the religion angle for their own purposes. If you watch any of Tim’s interviews, he first thanks his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He then thanks his teammates and continues with the interview. As far as I have seen, he has never brought up his faith in an overt way later on in the interview unless someone asks him a specific question about it. The media know a ratings winner when they see one, even if it creates controversy along the way. Have not seen the Rome News Tribune, but will try to peruse it this week. Hope you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. God bless,

      Howell

  6. Sam Morgan
    November 23, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    Another great commentary…Thanks. Tebow is branching out…Saw this in the news today: “A filly sired by 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus will run with the most heavenly name this side of Gabriel and Michael. “Tebowing,” they’ll call her.” Sounds like a sure bet! Go Broncos!
    Sam

  7. November 24, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    Howell,

    I just got to Florida last night. Man, I am staying in Kissimmee. text me 7049059345 if you have some free time and want get together

    Tim

  8. November 25, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    I looked at Tebow’s autobiography briefly today. Tony Dungy endorses with a blurb and Urban Meyer.
    Would be interesting to see Tebow’s handicap of the Republican Presidential field, especially his thoughts on letting the Bush Tax cuts expire.
    Maybe he and Peyton Manning can weigh in in the off season.
    Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson Commission Report in light of Old and New Testament teachings about a Just Society.
    What do they think about the 9 per cent approval of the Tea Party Congress?

  9. November 25, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    Click on my name to go to great oped by former Miami U QB George Mason and his thoughts on Tebow.
    And do read the comments at this ABPnews opinion.
    Mason says it well

  10. November 26, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    And click on my name with this post for the intro to a Malcolm glidewell piece in the New Yorker which should tweak everyone’s thinking on Tebow’s prospects.
    To date I think Mason has does the finest job;

  11. December 6, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Just so everyone is aware, it is not true that Coach Dorminey held Tebow to another standard because he was a Christian. Trinity is a Christian school, after all. Just responding to the comments. 🙂 Also, in their defense, Trinity didn’t use their QBs on the varsity for much of anything but handing off to future division I running backs. Should they have taken Tebow and changed their system? Absolutely. But there was a reason for alternating him out. In Dorminey’s view, he wasn’t going to do a thing as a QB because of their system, and why waste the size?

  12. December 17, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Couldn’t read very far into this because of the lack of study on football history! Coach Dorminey doesn’t throw the ball… Their current QB is the #2 high school football recruit in the nation… FOR CORNERBACK! The QB position is pretty much a back up running back position. They pound the ball and occasionally work a bubble screen. It would have been foolish and very impractical to change a whole system that won them, and continues to win them, multiple state titles. (Even when Tebow was at Nease..)

    Either way, Tebow made a good choice, and so did Dorminey. Don’t try to mix theology and highschool football!

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