Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/15/11

The greatest detractors of Tim Tebow say that the Broncos are winning because of their defense and that Tebow’s impact has been overstated. But these same people ignore that the Broncos lost 22 of their last 28 games with someone other than Tebow as their starting quarterback, with many of the same surrounding players that Tebow has had.

Joe Flacco’s greatest detractors say that his 42-19 regular season win-loss record and 4-3 postseason record is a product of the Ravens’ excellent running game and defense, and that Flacco is more a caretaker than a playmaker. These same people conveniently ignore that the Ravens missed the playoffs five of the nine years before Flacco became the starter, with a 5-11 finish the year prior to Flacco’s draft selection, while enjoying much of the same ground and pound success that Flacco has benefited from.

Those who discredit Mark Sanchez and his 31-19 combined regular season and postseason record point to the Jets’ success as being in spite of Sanchez, though the Jets missed the playoffs each of the two years before Sanchez was drafted, with their starting quarterbacks in those seasons being Chad Pennington; who has the all-time NFL record for completion percentage; and Brett Favre; who has just about every other career quarterbacking record.

When I think of the criticism Tebow, Flacco, and Sanchez have endured, I’m reminded of Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger early in their careers. In Brady’s first season as the Patriots’ starter, New England was coming off a 5-11 record and lost their first two games of the 2001 season with Drew Bledsoe under center. Behind a strong defense and an offense that was making just enough plays, the ’01 Patriots rattled off win after win. Many were impressed by Brady, while others claimed that New England’s defense was carrying them and that eventually Brady would get exposed when he was forced to carry the team. Three Super Bowl rings and two MVP awards later, there aren’t too many people who disrespect Brady’s quarterbacking.

In Roethlisberger’s rookie season of 2004, the Steelers leaned on an imposing running game and defense, with a dose of Big Ben, en route to a 15-1 record and a berth in the AFC Championship Game. A popular sentiment here was also that Pittsburgh was winning in spite of their quarterback and that once Roethlisberger got exposed, so too would the Steelers. Two Super Bowls and three conference championships later, it is understood that Roethlisberger is much more than a game manager.

The point is that if a quarterback wins a lot early in his career, you can generally count on that signal-caller winning and playing at an elite level for the majority of his tenure in the league. If you haven’t seen Tebow, Flacco, or Sanchez fail for any prolonged stretches at the most difficult stage of their careers, the odds are that you never will.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LaVar Ball refuses to thank Donald Trump in CNN interview

DeMarcus Cousins elbows Russell Westbrook in head, gets ejected

WATCH: Hornets' Cody Zeller hilariously rejected by the rim

JR Smith shovels no look-dime to Dwayne Wade for bucket

WATCH: Mohamed Sanu hauls in tough one-handed TD

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rams lose Robert Woods for a couple weeks to shoulder injury

Bears TE Zach Miller finally at home three weeks after traumatic leg injury

Jerry Jones reportedly wants secret ballot in Goodell's contract talks

Baker Mayfield stripped of captaincy, won't start vs. WVU

Lawyer representing Uber driver insists Jameis Winston was only one in car

Broncos tried to trade Demaryius Thomas?

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

Winners and losers from NBA's first month

MLS conference finals predictions: Who will advance to play for Cup trophy?

Should the Broncos make Tyrod Taylor their next quarterback?

15 mid-majors you need to know before you hear about them in March

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

The Saints flipped the script to revive their season

The 15 best and 15 worst MLB signings of the last decade

14 things we hated about 2017 college football season

Vikings' unnecessary quarterback conundrum is Mike Zimmer's doing

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

NFL Week 11 injury report

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

15 mid-majors you need to know before you hear about them in March

The 'An I, Tonya for an eye (or knee)' quiz

Should the Broncos make Tyrod Taylor their next quarterback?

The 15 best and 15 worst MLB signings of the last decade

The 'It's a major award!' quiz

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker