Many people around the country have been enamored with Tim Tebow. One of the reasons has been his late game heroics and comebacks when his team was seemingly down for the count and in danger of losing the game. However, this week Tebow and the Broncos travel to New England to take on another quarterback known for comebacks himself, #12, Tom Brady. So, let’s take a look at both quarterbacks and see who is more likely to produce late game heroics that will lead his team to victory.
Tim Tebow starred at the University of Florida under Urban Meyer, where he won two National Championships as the starting quarterback. But how many 4th quarter comebacks or game winning drives did he have in that role? Not as many as you might think. While Tebow was a Gator he engineered only 2. The first came in the SEC Championship game against Alabama during the 2008 season. The second comeback came against Arkansas in a regular season match up during the 2009 season. For a quarterback who is said to have divine intervention, one would think he would have done it more often than just twice in a 3 year career that spanned from 2006 to 2009.
Tom Brady wasn’t always considered a starring quarterback, but that was one of the driving forces that motivated him to prove others wrong. Unlike Tebow, nothing was given to Brady, yet he produced more 4th quarter comebacks, including as many as Tebow did in his entire career, in his final 8 games in his senior year.
In Brady’s senior season, his coaches had decided they needed to play Drew Henson the famed Michigan two sport athlete more. They were concerned that if they did not play Henson more, he would quit and go play professional baseball with the New York Yankees, where he had been signed as a young prospect. They also felt that Henson’s upside was much higher than Brady’s simply because of his stronger arm and quicker feet. This was despite the fact that Brady had led the Wolverines to 10 wins the year before and was the captain of that team, not to mention a senior. They couldn’t have been any more wrong and it showed.
Brady had to come in and rescue the situation multiple times. In the Michigan State game under Henson the Wolverines fell behind 17 points. Brady was responsible for trying to bring them back. Brady threw for 241 yards in the final 18 minutes and nearly brought the Wolverine’s back.
A few weeks later against, Penn State, Brady’s engineered his first most memorable comeback. With Michigan trailing 17-27 and only 3:35 remaining, Brady brought the Wolverines back to a 31-27 victory. On this day the legend of the “The Comeback Kid” was born. However, his finest comeback was yet to come.
Brady saved his best college performance for last in the 2000 Orange Bowl against Shawn Alexander and Alabama. The last time he took the field as a Wolverine, Brady shined. Michigan were down 14-0, when Brady brought them back to tie the score. Then the Wolverines found themselves down 14-28 and Brady again brought them back to tie the score yet again. Then Brady threw to his tight end, Sean Thompson, to put Michigan up by 7 in overtime. Alabama scored on the ensuing drive, but missed the extra point. The Wolverines won the game in overtime 35-34 and the fifth year senior provided the NFL with a glimpse of what was to come.
They’re NFL careers were also very different, with Tebow becoming a first round pick of the Denver Broncos with the 25th selection in the 2010 draft. Brady on the other hand slipped to pick 199 in the 6th round. Tebow had been drafted as the Broncos future, while Brady had been drafted as a possible back up to the all pro quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
When Bledsoe went down with a serious injury in the 2001 season, Brady got his chance and he never looked back. During the 2001 season Brady engineered a whopping 5 comeback or game winning drives. Including victories against the San Diego in their 5th game, the New York Jets in their 12th contest, the Buffalo Bills in their 14th match up. Two of those came on the road in the regular season. In the post season Brady continued his magical run as he came back in the infamous Snow Bowl game in the Wild Card round against the Oakland Raiders at old Foxborough Stadium. However again, Brady’s best performance was yet to come. In the Super Bowl, against the supposedly unbeatable Rams, known as “the greatest show on turf”, with only a little more than a minute remaining, Brady led a game winning drive and propelled the New England Patriots to their first Super Bowl title in franchise history.Yet, Brady did not get the accolades Tim Tebow is getting now.
The following season Brady continued his amazing comebacks. During the 2002 season Brady engineered more late game heroics that produced 3 more comebacks or game winning drives against Kansas City, Chicago, and Miami. However, the Patriots fell short of the playoffs on the final game of the regular season.
During the 2003 season Brady really shined. He added 7 more comebacks or game winning drives against 6 different opponents including two against Tennessee, and one each against Miami, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, and Carolina. Two of those came again, in the playoffs with another one coming in Super Bowl XXXVIII. This brought Brady his second Super Bowl ring along with his second Super Bowl MVP honor. People were finally starting to take notice.
In the 2004 season, Brady continued to shine. He led his team back or won the game on the final drive twice. Again, his greatest moments were saved for last. In the Super Bowl, Brady again engineered a game winning drive producing his third Super Bowl title.
in 2005 and 2006 Brady added another 8 such victories. Although they did not produce an championships.
In the 2007 season, Brady produced another 4 comebacks or game winning drives en route to another AFC Championship. However, Brady and the Patriots fell just short of a perfect season in the final seconds of the Super Bowl. Brady had again led the Patriots back from a 10-7 deficit with a touchdown in the final minutes to Randy Moss. This brought the score to 14-10 in the Patriots favor. However, on a miracle catch by David Tyree and subsequent touch down by Plaxico Burress the Giants robbed Brady of his fourth Super Bowl title and another fourth quarter comeback.
Brady would engineer no comebacks during the 2008 season due to a torn ACL in the opening moments of the first contest of the season against Kansas City. However, from 2009 through 2011 Brady would engineer another 6 total victories in the same manner. This brought his immense total of game winning drives to 34 including 24 fourth quarter comebacks, which is a mind-boggling number.
In 2010 Tim Tebow only played in 3 games during his first year in the league. He managed just 1 fourth quarter comeback vs. Houston. The Broncos were terrible that year after, starting the season 6-0 under Kyle Orton. They ended the season 8-8 and missed the playoffs, the same mediocre record they produced this season that allowed them to make the playoffs due to tie breakers.
In 2011 Tim Tebow again did not start the season as the starter due to terrible passing skills. By week 4 the Broncos were 1-3. In week number 5, mid-game, Broncos coach John Fox made the switch to Tebow, but they still lost that contest to the San Diego Chargers to drop to 1-4.
Then week 6, Tebow’s first start of 2011, he got his first comeback against Miami. He would go onto to produce 5 more fourth quarter comebacks or game winning drives. The next 4 came in the regular season against New York in their 10th contest for his first of four consecutive such victories. The other 3 came against San Diego, Minnesota, and Chicago in their 11th, 12th, and 13th contests of the season. His final comeback during the 2011 campaign came against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Invesco Field during the Wild Card playoff game this past Sunday. This brought his total to 7 such victories and 6 on the current season.
While it is true that Tim Tebow has more comeback victories this season than Brady does with the score being 6-2, in their first two seasons playing in the NFL Brady beats out Tebow. Tebow had a total of 7 such victories while Brady had a total of 8. This is only stated so as to even the argument for those who might say that Brady has more because he has played longer.
However, in totality, Brady has a whopping 34 to Tebow’s 7. Further, Brady has engineered late game heroics that produced 6 playoff victories and 3 Super Bowl titles. Tim Tebow has only 1 in total. Therefore, it is clearly evident; Tom Brady is the true master of late game heroics and the real Comeback Kid.