Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tim Tebow + Michael Vick + Denard Robinson = the NFL's Moneyball

This blog is about renovating extreme houses, but I like to listen to sports radio (see Appreciation for the Radio - Jan. 26, 2012)  while I'm working so the Tim Tebow story is once again in my head.  (See Tim Tebow Is Fascinating Us Because He's Doing the Impossible - Jan. 12, 2012.)

Some think my investments have been risky and they've tried to talk me down from the ledge.  Family, friends, and co-workers have made blatant attempts to get me headed in the other direction, to take a safer, easier course.  However, to the credit of the majority of those in my circle of influence, they've been excited for me when I've succeeded in turning the 'Pig's Ears' into silk purses.  They've been proud to tell people that I bought the worst house on the street and transformed it into the most valuable.

My wife isn't a big football fan, but she loves the Tim Tebow story.  For this reason, we talk about TT and his status with the New York Jets regularly.  Earlier this year she was following his dismissal from the Denver Broncos and wanted to know what I'd do if I was a decision maker for one of the remaining 31 NFL teams.  This question and the discussion that followed helped me realize that I am a bit of a risk taker.  I think there is some risk to bringing Tim Tebow into your club as a quarterback, but like the condemned or abandoned properties I've bought to rehab, I see a large, potential upside.  So, if I was a top shelf NFL guy, I'd pull the trigger on the Tim Tebow thing.  However, I wouldn't just go for it by plugging him into a somewhat traditional system or the often mentioned wildcat formation, I'd come at the challenge from a different angle and do something others weren't thinking about.  

When I was in High School, I was recruited to play college football.  One of my coaches suggested that I consider Denison University in Central Ohio, because they had a unique, old-school offense that had the center hiking the ball directly to a runner in the back field.  He thought this might be the school and the team for me.  Now I understand why he suggested it and I agree that the Big Red would have been a cool team to play for.

So all this wordiness get's me to the Tim Tebow Dilemma.  I like the idea of matching Tim up with a stable of other scrambling quarterbacks like himself with the throwback Denison U.-type offense.  Michael Vick is struggling in Philly so there's a potential match.  How about a team putting Vick and Tebow back there together and drafting some more college QB's that have had tremendous success, but little hope for an NFL starting spot because of their size.  For example, the University of Michigan's Denard Robinson.  He just broke Antwaan Randle El rushing mark (October) from when ARE was running and passing as the QB of the Indiana Hoosiers (before he went to the pros and played wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers without a shot taking snaps under center.)  Russell Wilson has gotten off to a good start as the signal caller for the Seattle Seahawks, but the jury is still out on him.  

I'd like to see an NFL team take the approach of replacing traditional running backs with proven scrambling QB's who can play differently than the traditional pocket passers.  Change it up.  I don't think a team should put all their eggs in one basket and rest the seasons hopes on one guy who's running for his life half the game.  (If he gets hurt, you have to have someone just like him to come in and try to duplicate his style.)  I am all for some NFL team thinking outside the box and doing something different with Tim Tebow in the mix.  (Like the Oakland A's did when they lost their star players to free agency and starting playing Moneyball in 2002 ...and winning.)  Who wouldn't tune in to to see Tebow, Vick, Robinson, and three or four other players who could run and pass switching in and out, down after down, as they march the ball down the field like no other team ever has?

I think it could work  because the scrambler with the ball creates exciting opportunities to hit receivers and people would love to see it... just like friends, family, and neighbors like watching me renovate an overgrown, abandoned property that no one else wants.  Teams don't want Tebow?  Folks think Mike Vick is at the end of his career?  We'd like to see some Billy Beane of the NFL emerge and show everyone how to win in a different way...with Tebow and talented quarterbacks like him.     

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