Over the years we have seen the evolution of the Quarterback position in the NFL. Otto Graham was the first to really dominate with the pass. Bart Starr was the typical dropback quarterback. Roger Staubach and Fran Tarkenton introduced the idea of a running quarterback in the league as they were two of the original quarterbacks to really emphasize the scrambling nature of the position and the ability to extend plays. In the 1980’s, Randall Cunningham moved the marker again with his tremendous athletic skills and ability to run the ball. Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young showed how a mobile quarterback could become elite with his running skills.
Tim Tebow and Cam Newton have again moved the marker. No offense to Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick but both of them play from the pocket and run as a second option. Tebow and Newton have introduced the option offense into a league that said that players on defense were too fast to run the option effectively, but what has changed is the athletic ability at the quarterback position. There is no doubt in my mind that Cam Newton is the better thrower at this stage of the game, but Tebow is the better runner and as a result he creates a bigger threat. Let us not forget that Cam Newton transferred from Florida because he couldn’t supplant Tebow as the Quarterback for the Gators. It ultimately worked out for him as he was able to showcase his true abilities at Auburn and win the national championship at Auburn like Tebow did at Florida.
Both players are exceptional athletes and both bring an element to the NFL that has never been seen before. When each of them augments their skills by enhancing their weaknesses, i.e. Tebow throwing from the pocket, and Newton running the option more effectively, I think we may ultimately see them playing each other in the Super Bowl. They are both only 23 or so.
As a fan of the greatest team game on earth, I cannot wait to watch the evolution of these two young men. I have been critical of Newton and didn’t know if Tebow could make it happen, but the force of will of the both of these two special young men has proven me and the nation wrong. Let’s all sit back and enjoy it for the next ten or more years.