Eyebrows were raised back in April with the announcement that Tim Tebow was in Philadelphia talking to the Eagles.
The fans reaction was, as is expected from the Eagles fan base passionate if not supportive of the move. Most fans couldn’t understand the meaning or the need for a player who has “failed” at this level and hadn’t been in the NFL for two years.
Chip Kelly isn’t a man without ideas and a vision, he took an unfancied school, albeit with a very good infrastructure and made the whole of the football world take notice. He brought in his own style of football to Oregon and it had such an effect that even the great Bill Belichick took notice. When Kelly came to Philly he was greeted like a hero and immediately made the Eagles contenders in their division taking them to the playoffs year one and just missing out year two. He brought his up tempo offense and made defences fear how long they would spend on the field. So why now go back to a player who has since the day he was drafted been told he cannot play Quarterback in the NFL?
The NFL meetings each year bring out some interesting points and this years most talked about rule change is the moving of the extra point kick back a whole 13 yards turning what was a 19yd kick into a 32yd kick. This change while statistically doesn’t change much, 99.5% of extra points were successful last year compared to 32yd kicks being made 93% of the time. So what you ask? It’s still the perfect time to hit the head or restock your beer and snacks. The aim of the rule change was to make more teams consider the two point conversion and consider the options. This of course makes the game more interesting and hopefully higher scoring brining more excitement to us the fans. The rule change has been mooted for a few seasons and could yet change again next year as the NFL offices tries to perfect their game.
So why Tebow? As I’ve said above Chip Kelly is a man that’s always on the cusp and often thought of as innovative in his coaching style. He’s not the Mad Scientist of Mike Martz but he is willing to try things to win games. Now Tebow is a player that many a coach has considered to be an All-Star level fullback or tight end but he has refused the chance to change position. Fans of the NFL especially here in the UK will remember seeing the Denver Broncos at Wembley in 2010 when Tebow was the back up QB. In this game, to me at least, we saw what made Tebow such a good college QB in that he was a great runner with the ball and is built to take hits and give back as hard as he gets. He was called in after a long pass put the Broncos on the 1 yard line; he took the snap and put his head down and run the ball in. Now under the new rule the 2 point conversion will still take place from the 2yd line and with the added (albeit 6.5% difference in chance) the 2 point conversion will be used more than ever in the NFL.
With the addition of Tebow to the Eagles has Chip Kelly laid out his stall? Has he brought in Tebow to be his two point specialist? He certainly has the ability to create options, he can pass the ball and with a solid line in front of him he becomes a legitimate 2 point threat. Don’t be surprised if you see Philly line up for two points conversions this season with 8 or 9 line men and Tebow taking the snap because at the end of the day Tim Tebow is a winner and he is willing to go out there and make the Eagles a better team then he will do it. Chip Kelly knows that he is close to the final push with the Eagles and if he could take advantage of 4 extra points per game that could be the difference between a Super Bowl ring or a quick trip back to college.