Blog Entry

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:59 pm
Tebow is converting non-believers with each come-from-behind win. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Way back in in August, a week after the lockout ended and just days into training camp, ESPN analyst Merril Hoge spoke frankly about Tim Tebow's prospects as an NFL quarterback. Via Twitter, Hoge said "It's embarrassing to think the Broncos could win with Tebow!!" Later he added, "College credentials do not transfer to NFL raw raw [sic] speeches do not work! You must poses [sic] a skill set to play! Tebow struggle [sic] with accuracy!"

Tebow's response (also via Twitter): "Hey Merril, 'ppreciate that."

Four months later and not only is Tebow the Broncos' starting quarterback, he's 7-1 in the role, the team is on a six-game winning streak, and they're atop the AFC West by one game over the Raiders.

Turns out, college "rah rah speeches" do work in the NFL. And even Hoge can admit that now. During a Monday appearance on ESPN's Mike & Mike radio show, he owned up to his mistake.

"The lessons that (the Broncos) are showing (are) what sports are about. ... I've been obviously very hard on Tim Tebow, very critical of him as a quarterback and his skill set," he said.

"... I've been wrong on a lot of levels with (Tebow). I've lost the ability, or the opportunity, I should say ... to shed light on what an amazing story (about) how he has worked, persevered, changed -- his diligence -- all those things that you try to teach young people ... (what) sports are really about."

Tebow, we'd imagine, has already forgiven him.

As an analyst, it's Hoge's job to weigh in on players -- good or bad. And it's not like he was the only guy beating the "Tebow is really, really bad" drum. Just about everybody thought he had no chance to succeed in today's NFL with a style that is better suited for the college game. The widespread belief that Tebow was overmatched extended into November, after he was summarily dismantled by the Lions in his worst game of the season. The aftermath was particularly brutal.

An anonymous Detroit player told's Michael Silver that Tebow was "embarrassing" and "a joke."

The post-mortem also included this from Hoge: "Watching last week's tape, the thing that was most disturbing was his ability to not understand where the ball has to go. His [lack of] awareness is mind-boggling to me." And CBS Sports' Boomer Esiason said that what the Lions did to Tebow “…means that there’s no respect for Tim Tebow as the quarterback. And they want to make sure that when they play him, they want to show that to the world that Tim Tebow can not play in this league at this position.”

Such sentiments have changed in recent weeks, and those who continue to pan Tebow do so reflexively and irrationally because as's Gregg Doyel wrote Monday, "…We can't [explain it]. Nor do we have to. Whatever Tebow is doing, and however he's doing it, it defies description. Beauty usually does."

Returning to Hoge's original tweets one more time, even Broncos executive vice president John Elway, also one-time skeptic, admits that Tebow has the uncanny ability to motivate his teammates to greatness.

During a recent appearance on 102.3 the Ticket in Denver, Elway was asked why he thinks the team rallies about Tebow (via

“I think when you look at it I guess I just believe everyone believes that something good is going to happen," Elway said. "Tim’s been the guy that has led that thinking and he’s just such a strong believer. He’s got everyone else believing that if you stay strong, stay positive, that something good is going to happen. There’s no question that those things … that you really can’t explain that are happening are happening. It’s the power of the mind and the power of positive thinking."

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Since: Apr 12, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:18 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Tebow is a leader and a winner. I'd take hm as my quarterback and as a team leader. He has high character and brings out the best in his teammates. He also does not turn the ball over. He is progressing and let's not forget how bad his receiving core is. They traded away their best receiver the week they named him the starter and he's still winning. The defense is playing well and they are playing as a TEAM. It was a better team on paper with Orton but they could not win with him. Tebow helps make the difference and his humility goes a long way. The Broncos are playing cohesive football.


Since: Jan 19, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:57 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

I was one of those guys who thought the Broncos were a laughing stock to give the starting job to Tebow simply based on pressure from a portion of their fanbase.

For a young player just finding his way in the NFL, Tebow handles himself like a 12-year veteran. His ability to redirect praise (when he receives it) and address criticism (virtually every day), is nothing short of amazing. In the face of nearly insurmountable odds (like the end of the Bears game), he simply does not flinch. We've seen Peyton Manning flinch. Tom Brady has flinched. Favre has flinched. Maybe we'll see Tebow flinch, but he has been a rock for the past 8 weeks.

The defense may be more responsible for making plays in their wins, but Tebow definitely carries this team on his back, and motivates the entire team to believe in themselves and make great plays when it counts the most. I'll take that every time over classic tools like Jeff George or Ryan Leaf who had the physical abilities of a great NFL QB, and zero leadership skills.

Since: Oct 9, 2009
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:56 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Glad to see a talking head admit when he is wrong...Those who discredit Tebow (including Hoge) have maintained the Broncos D is the real reason they have had success, and this week we will see whether or not that is the case. I have no doubt Denver can score on the Pats, (although if Tebow doesn't get it going before the 4th quarter, they may be 5 touchdowns behind), and a strong showing by the defense to keep it close may bring an upset. The Redskins even took them to the limit, and they are pitiful. A win against New England also puts them in position to own a few tie-breaker scenarios with other AFC teams for home-field-advantage if it comes to that. Whoever gets the ball last in that game will win I'm guessing.

Since: Dec 7, 2010
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:50 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

We can all sleep better tonight knowing that Merril Hoge admitted he was wrong on Tebow......geez    this is the best story you guys got.....

Since: Sep 28, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:48 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Tebow still sucks. He has had barely one good drive a game against terrible, decimated teams. The one decent team they played spanked them by 35 points or did you fools forget that? The broncos are winning despite tebow, not because of him. Their defense has been the difference, not tebow. Guess it is hard to listen to logic when your nose is firmly jammed up someone's backside though, huh?

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:43 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

I think Hoge was in a no-win situation here.  If he continues to beat the drum, he looks ignorant, but if he does what he did here, he looks like a coward who can't stick up for his opinions.

Record aside, this QB hasn't proven that he can play the position in the conventional manner.  So for him to endure criticism is not only fair, but indeed necessary.  In fact, if he's anywhere near the type of player that the media insists that he is, he should take the criticism and use it to become a better player.

And lest we forget, the Packers are 13-0.  That's the bigger story this season. 

Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:34 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Yes were wrong. The kid is improving and his stats over the 11 games he has started, inculding this year and last, compare very favorably with many starting QBs', past and present, first 11 games. You rushed to judgement Hoge, not giving Tebow any opportunity to gain experience and improve. Now that he has, and his clutch performances have continued, your tune has changed. But hey, don't feel too bad about all that: many others did the same thing.

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:19 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Good maybe he'll shut up now.  Him and Dilfer judging quarterbacks makes me sick.  Rice and Young? Sure, Jaws, no problem.  He never knew what it took to win in the NFL so how would he even know it if he did see it?  Sounds like sour grapes to me.  Everyone knew he didn't have prototypical NFL mechanics before he took the starting job, so what?  He wins, and as he continues to win, he should be given the opportunity to continue winning.  At such point he no longer wins, he should be fired.  Just like every other person in the NFL.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:09 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Hoge should have just said "Yeah, my harping on him and constant beratement of him are what made him stronger today, and if it wasn't for me and everyone else bashing on him, he'd be a 3rd stringer still!"  I credit the Hoge for making tebow what he is today!

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