What-if Tebow started for the Jets in 2011?

What-if Tebow started for the Jets in 2011?

Our friends over at WhatifSports simulate the Jets 2011 season if Tebow, not Sanchez, was under center for the Green and White.

It took less than 24 hours for John Elway to officially announce the arrival of Peyton Manning and jettison Tim Tebow to, of all places, New York in a trade with the Jets. Tebow could be Elway's son-in-law, but he will never be his quarterback.

Now we all wait for the Jets to work a deal with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to send New York City's area code (212) to Wichita, Kansas for (316) and Tebowmania will reach its climax. Tebow, along with a seventh-round pick, were sent to New York in exchange for a fourth- and sixth-round pick in this April's NFL Draft. He joins the Jets nearly two weeks after the front office extended incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez's contract. The five-year deal is worth over 58-million dollars with 20.5-million guaranteed.

Sanchez threw for 3,474 yards and a career-high 26 touchdowns last season, but fans of Gang Green were not impressed with his paltry 56.7 completion percentage and 18 picks.

John Fox created a Tebow-friendly offense for his quarterback after he took over for good in Week 7. The run-oriented attack allowed Tebow to rush for 660 yards (5.4 yards per rush) with six touchdowns. His passing stats, not to mention style, were an eye sore for many. He finished 126-271 (46.5 percent) for 1,729 yards with 12 touchdowns, six interceptions, and seven fumbles. Despite the lack of confidence Elway and the Broncos' coaching staff had in Tebow's ability to lead their offense, it will only take a few bad starts for Jets' fans to turn on Mark Sanchez and set their clocks for Tebow Time.

So, using our NFL simulation engine, we promoted Tebow to starting quarterback of the 2011 New York Jets. To account for a different offensive scheme with Tebow behind center, we adjusted the team's playbook to a 60-40, rush/pass distribution, took some carries away from Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson, and gave those touches to Tebow. The schedule was simulated 251 times.

Sanchez vs Sim Tim Tebow
PlayerSim W / L2011 W / LSim Avg PPG (Actual)
2011 Mark SanchezNA8-8NA (23.6)
2011 Tim Tebow w/ Jets7-98-816.6 (23.6)

The grass isn't always greener on the other side. By swapping out Sanchez for Tebow, the Jets finished the 2011 simulation season 7-9, a game worse that their actual record last season. With Rex Ryan forced to use his quarterback as a third running back, the opposition's end zone was a foreign land. The Jets averaged 16.6 points per game, which would have ranked 28th in 2011, while Sanchez's offense scored a touchdown more per game (13th).

Sanchez vs Sim Tim Tebow
2011 Mark Sanchez56.734742618
2011 Tim Tebow w/ Jets57.42026108

With the exception of a slightly higher completion percentage (57.4 percent), Sanchez's stats compared to Sim Tim's stats were what we expected.

Sim Tim's rushing statistics were a tad more difficult to simulate and project. Because of the way the simulation engine is built, projecting Tebow's rushing touchdowns, as a starting quarterback, was difficult. Once the Jets' offense moved inside the red zone, Tebow, in real life, has a much higher chance of running the ball in for the score.

In our 251 season simulations, the computer projected 4.5 rushing touchdowns for Tebow. To account for this skewed result, we tacked on a few more scores in line with his 2011 stats.

Sim Tim Tebow Rush Stats
2011 Tim Tebow w/ Jets2098718

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