Throughout the 2012 season, when reporters were literally climbing over one another to yell all about Tim Tebow on the bench, we as fans were able to cut through a lot of the white noise (read: garbage commentary) to get to the heart of the debate: The deeply religious Tebow had won a Heisman and two national titles while at Florida, as well as a playoff game for the Denver Broncos, but could not throw his way out of a paper bag during Jets practices.
Yes, those who pointed to Tebow as some sort of religious beacon pointed towards his positivity as a role model as a reason he should be given a chance to start. That’s nice, of course, but many – more than most realize – religious athletes have fizzled at the NFL level without nearly the same type of publicity as Tebow has garnered.
Those who had supported him in Gainesville and Denver chose then to point to his hardware. However, again, plenty of Heisman winners have tumbled from the professional ranks without so much as a whisper from sports fans, let alone a phalanx of media members at every turn like in the case of The Chosen One.
Perhaps, however, no one had looked closely enough at the type of history Tebow was working against. As it turns out, as a Heisman Trophy winner in college, he was fighting quite the uphill battle towards postseason success:
Pretty mind-blowing stat.
For reference, here’s the list of the 16 quarterbacks to win a Heisman over the last 25 years:
2012: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies – Still in college
2011: Robert Griffin III, Baylor Bears – Poised to eventually win a playoff game in Washington
2010: Cam Newton, Auburn Tigers – Still has plenty of time to lead Carolina to the postseason and beyond
2008: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma Sooners – Starting in St. Louis, but has not quite shown enough
2006: Troy Smith, Ohio State Buckeyes – Bounced around the NFL, now with Montreal Alouettes
2004: Matt Leinhart, USC Trojans – Oakland gave up on him, out of the league
2003: Jason White, Oklahoma Sooners – Also out of the league
2002: Carson Palmer, USC Trojans – Surprisingly never won a playoff game in Cincinnati
2001: Eric Crouch, Nebraska Cornhuskers – Seen as so mobile that he was never quite given the chance at QB
2000: Chris Weinke, Florida State Seminoles – Two career NFL wins
1996: Danny Wuerffel, Florida Gators – For a religious Heisman winner who flamed out, look no further
1993: Charlie Ward, Florida State Seminoles – Played NBA basketball instead of entering NFL. Talented.
1992: Gino Torretta, Miami Hurricanes – Seventh-round pick never got a chance to start regularly
1990: Ty Detmer, BYU Cougars – Tough to get on field as ninth-round pick, sitting behind Brett Favre
1989: Andre Ware, Houston Cougars – First African-American to ever win it never came close to regular NFL starts