This post was inspired by something that the Orlando Sentinel reported earlier today:
“People keep asking me about Tebow,” Bowden said. “You know, is he the best ever? I don’t know if he’s better than Charlie. I don’t think he runs better than Charlie. I don’t think he throws better than Charlie. And Charlie only played [quarterback] two years for us.”
So it got me to thinking about whether Charlie Ward was, in fact, better than Tim Tebow. I tried to dig up all of Ward's career statistics at FSU but all I could find, on his Wikipedia entry no less, was his basic passing statistics, so I'll have to settle this debate with what I have in front of me.
Since Ward only played quarterback for the Seminoles for two seasons (1993-94) and Tebow has been starting for the Gators for two full seasons coming into this one, I'll compare them based on those years.
Let's start with each quarterback's first season as a starter, shall we?
In 1992, Ward completed 204 of his 365 pass attempts (that's 55.9% completion rate) for 2,647 yards, 22 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
In 2007, Tebow's first season at the helm, he completed 234 of 350 passes (66.9% completion rate) for 3,286 yards, 32 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
So let's get this straight, Tebow completed more passes, in fewer attempts, for more yards and more touchdowns, while throwing fewer interceptions than Ward did in each player's first full season as a starter? Not to mention Tebow also ran for 895 yards and 23 touchdowns that season, en route to becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.
I believe Tebow takes gets the nod for each player's first season as a starter.
Now, let's take a look at each player's second season as a starter:
In 1993, Ward completed 264 of 380 passes (69.5% completion) for 3,032 yards, 27 touchdowns and 4 interceptions en route to winning the Heisman and leading FSU to the school's first National Championship in football.
Last season for the Gators, Tebow completed 192 of 298 passes (64.4%) for 2,746 yards, 30 touchdowns and 4 interceptions while leading Florida to the team's second title in three years. Add in the fact that he also rushed for 673 yards and 12 touchdowns, and that's another great season that resulted in being named a finalist for the Heisman again.
It's tough to argue which player had a better season out of those two, because both were phenomenal. It's also tough to adequately compare them without being able to find Ward's complete college statistics. But based solely on their passing numbers, I'd have to say that Tebow gets the edge.
If you want to compare each player based on win-loss record, Ward compiled a 23-2 record in his two seasons at FSU while Tebow has accumulated a 35-6 record in three seasons, including a 22-5 record as a starting quarterback. So in that sense, Ward would get a slight edge over Tebow.
One must also take into account Tebow's superb leadership, which is interesting, because Bobby Bowden was once quoted saying this:
"...Tebow’s the best leader I’ve ever seen. I mean, he is a leader. Charlie did it for us like follow him. Charlie did it on the field. This kid does too. But he jacks those guys up if they aren’t doing what he wants them to. You can see him in their face. Charlie would never do that. (Chris) Weinke might have. But not Charlie.”
So when Bowden said this week that Ward was a better player than Tebow, was he right?
In short, yes, Charlie Ward is better than Tim Tebow... at basketball, and probably tennis and maybe even baseball. But when it comes to football, I take exception to Bowden's comments, because Tebow is a better player than Ward, and he's still got this season to go.