The coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, is a football genius. His secret is simple: value. He sells overvalued older players, like Richard Seymour, who are on the downside of their careers, and buys undervalued players, e.g., Randy Moss, whom others have discarded. Sometimes, as in the cases of Seymour and reciever Wes Welker, the separation is painful, with the player feeling unloved and underrespected, and grumbling his way out of town. Doesn’t matter. Belichick is deaf to sentiment. When it comes time to make player decisions, he is Big Blue, an unemotional super-computer, computing all the odds and deciding who can best help his team win.
Which is why you can expect Belichick to trade Tom Brady and start Tim Tebow.
1. Brady is overvalued. Brady has been a solid quarterback for the Patriots. However, he’s on the downside of his career. His QBR (passer rating) dropped from 106 to 99 last year, and plummeted to 85 in the playoffs. His rushing yards were down, as were his touchdowns and completion percentage. Tebow is undervalued. New England doesn’t need to worry about other teams trying to poach him.
2. Old vs. young. Brady is old. He just turned 36. He’s increasingly injury prone. After missing almost the entire 2008 season, he now has problems with a knee injured in this preseason. Tebow is a young stud, in superb shape, who like all football players has had injuries, but not missed games because of it. In college, Tebow broke his right thumb and played the entire game. He is a warrior, he could probably break his left (throwing) arm and his accuracy would be the same.
3. Tebow was a better college player than Brady. When Brady was at Michigan and that team won a national championship, it did so with Brady on the bench behind journeyman Brian Griese. Tebow won a national championship AND a Heisman.
4. Tebow is a winner. Since New England got caught illegally taping competitor practices, New England has not won a Super Bowl under Brady. Tebow won at Denver, and would have won at New York if allowed to play. During this preseason, he’s led New England to two victories despite predictions they’d struggle after the loss of key team members in the off season. In the first game, Tebow threw for 55 yards and rushed for 31, and in the second, he completed a pass in only seven attempts, despite playing with the second team, for only a one yard loss. He also rushed for 32 yards, an astounding 8 yard per carry average.
5. Tebow is a leader, Brady is not. Tebow is famous for his leadership qualities. At Florida, Tebow mentored Aaron Hernandez and kept him eligible for all four years. Indeed, at Florida, Hernandez only committed assault and an alleged shooting. Under Brady’s mentoring at New England, Hernandez is believed to have committed three murders. Brady is not respected by his teammates. Randy Moss once said Brady had hair like a girl. In the macho world of football, being compared to a girl is not a compliment.
6. Tebow is a better athlete. He’s shorter, but weighs almost ten pounds more. Also, at the NFL combine he ran the 40 yard dash in 4.7, nearly as fast as the top defensive tackle prospects, while Brady only managed 5.2 at his combine tryout.
7. It will be easier to replace Brady with a popular player. As we saw with Brett Favre, it’s always tough to replace an older player who’s become a fan favorite. The replacement comes in under a barrage of criticism, with their every move being picked apart and critiqued. Tebow is wildly popular and would be immediately accepted by a significant portion of the fan base. Were he to struggle, which he won’t, his fans have shown a willingness to look past performance and facts and focus on the big picture.
8. Tebow is a better role model. Tebow is a practicing Christian. Brady is Catholic. Tebow is a virgin. Brady has had a child out of wedlock (with actress Bridget Moynahan). Brady is married to a foreigner. American girls apparently just aren’t good enough for Tom Brady.