Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Statistical Comparison of Tim Tebow and Charlie Ward

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.


  1. i think ward is better at badminton

  2. A)Tebow has never faced a team as good as Ward faced in

    1992 Miami, 1993 Florida, 1993 Notre Dame or 1993 Nebraska

    B)Like Bobby stated, Ward only played 2 seasons thus his career stats are skewed by his freshman season hence the INT's. But comparing them at their best - Heisman season vs Heisman season.

    Wards is statistically better and he didn't lose 4 games and fail to win a bowl game.

    I had a nice laugh at Tebow "superb leadership", how does one measure such a thing? Obviously not by career record as a Stater because Ward blows Tebow out of the water.

    Ward: 92% winning percentage as starter
    Tebow:81% winning percentage as starter

  3. In case you missed that paragraph after the "superb leadership" line, Bowden himself professed to Tebow being the best leader he's ever seen. And I would say it is measurable in the sense that he lifted up his team after an embarassing loss to Ole Miss last year, excepting full responsibility, and then leading the team through a scorched earth-like march through the SEC and National titles.

    Also, you say Ward's stats were skewed by his freshman year... but he only played as a junior and senior on the football team.

    I also wouldn't necessarily say that Tebow's Heisman season was his "best" season as he was clearly a better player last season than he was as a sophomore, despite a slight drop in numbers.

  4. Unlike Ward, Tebow had the good sense not to be a Seminole.

  5. That's the point, Charlie didn't have to parade in front of the media and make some silly speech after his loss. He did it in the locker room and showed it on the field. No need to put on a show in front of the country, especially after you lost at home to Ole Miss (haha).

    Charlie wasn't even a Quarterback until his junior season, he was a WR and Punter before that.

    Well whatever season you choose to be Tebow's best, Charlie's Heisman season is superior thus Ward at his best > Tebow at his best.

  6. KEGster, I don't see why you are arguing that Ward was a better leader when Bowden even said Tebow is the best leader he's seen?

    I also find it comical that nearly everyone agrees that Tebow could very well end his career as one of, if not THE best college football players of all time, yet we are having this debate about him and Ward. Ward was certainly one of the best all-around athletes, but it's hard to argue that he was a better football player than Tebow.

  7. The only thing tebow does better than ward is market himself. I know Ward and he is still a great leader of men, but he does not feel the need to tell everyone like tebow does

  8. So Tebow should be punished in this debate because the media is obsessed with him and he knows how to carry and present himself in a public forum?

  9. I think you will see a huge drop in tebows stats without harven on the feeled.Lots of what he has done is because of the d formation that teams ran to try and stop harven

  10. While I know that it will be near-impossible to replace Harvin on that roster, I believe Addazio and the rest of the coaching staff will be able to fill in the voids that Harvin left, to a certain extent. Harvin is a once in a decade talent, but UF certainly has other skilled players that can try to duplicate (as a unit) the numbers that Harvin put up.