I have no idea whether Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Florida Gators and Heisman Trophy winner, will be any good in the NFL. The kid has a lot of talent and desire so it’s always a possibility. Former NFL coach Jon Gruden, however, thinks the kid will revolutionize the pro game. Why does he think this? Because Gruden thinks Tebow can run the option in the NFL.
Jon Gruden has lost his mind. The option works in college and high school because it allows one kid (the quarterback) who is far more talented than the other kids to match up well on a one-to-one basis. Typically they’re good enough athletes that they can beat the other team’s defense on their own. In the NFL, this isn’t the case.
I’ve noticed that running QBs tend to get beat up in the NFL. This leads to them slowing down a step and eventually they have to stop running first and rely on their arm. Why do they get beat up? Because eventually the pack will get you.
A good analogy for NFL defenses would be a pack of dogs. When a runner moves to the outside on a play like the option, he’s not playing one-on-one anymore. He’s has to beat the linebackers, a cornerback, and the safeties. This is at least 5-6 players. Add that defensive ends are getting better at playing the run and it could be upwards of 7 opposing players who are zeroed in on one player. Add to this that each of these defensive players were once likely the best athlete on their high school or college teams, and it goes from one superb athlete (the QB) running against a bunch of normal kids to a contest of equals.
Most one-on-one plays work in the NFL due to either a mismatch (speed vs. power) or misdirection (blocking and play fakes). The option has a little bit of both, but relies too much on one player being better. Tim Tebow might be better, but just because he’s big, as Gruden points out, doesn’t mean he’ll be effective. Eventually he’ll get hit hard over and over again.
Essentially if Gruden is right, Tebow is a glorfied Kordell Stewart (aka Slash) who was eventually replaced by the likes of Kent Graham and Tommy Maddox, neither of whom I’d call particularly talented or revolutionary in the NFL.