Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tim Tebow: the next Bobby Anderson?

I'm back to blogging again after a busy two months of travel. The biggest sports story in my absence was the Broncos drafting of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in the first round. This move has been discussed and dissected by sports columnists and fans across the nation. "Brilliant move!" say some. "Major reach!" say others. Here's my take:

Tim Tebow is so compelling because of his character. He is a role model to many after his stellar career at the University of Florida. No doubt this played in a big part in the Broncos drafting him. This brings to mind another former #1 bronco draft pick. Flash back to 1970. No athlete was more admired in these parts than the hero of the University of Colorado, running back Bobby Anderson. Anderson had a great senior season for the Buffaloes, capped by a 254 rushing yard 3 td performance in the Liberty Bowl against Bear Bryant's famed Alabama defense.

Anderson also had great character. I remember him speaking to the youth group at my church. I was excited at the prospect of having my college football hero in Anderson playing in the backfield with my favorite pro player, Floyd Little!

What happened? Anderson had an injury plagued four years with the Broncos and never amounted to much as an nfl player. Years later I attended a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe Nevada where several big stars were present (Michael Jordan, John Elway, and others) Bobby Anderson was also one of the celebrity golfers. "Who is that?" said a guy standing next to me as I watched Anderson on the putting green. Anderson's stellar college career had long been forgotten. Anderson was and continues to be a great guy (he still is a part of the radio broadcast for the cu buffs) but he didn't succeed in the NFL.

I'm rooting for Tim Tebow and I think he does have a chance to become an effective NFL quarterback. I especially like his running ability, a quality lacking with last year's starter Kyle Orton. Denver's offense also features many short, quick passes - passes I think Tebow can handle. Still there are doubts from many pro scouts on whether Tebow can be an nfl qb. "After breaking down the film of Tebow, we cannot help but think he will struggle to succeed in the NFL unless he continues to improve. His offseason work helps, but Tebow must prove himself against competition," says Russ Lande, former pro scout writing in the Sporting News.

While Tebow's off the field activities are admirable, character alone does not make for a good NFL player. It didn't for Bobby Anderson, and it won't for Tim Tebow. I'm hoping the Broncos haven't placed too much emphasis on Tebow's winning personality in drafting him so high.

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