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."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.

Since: Dec 27, 2012
Posted on: December 27, 2012 6:43 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Merril shut your ungry mouth I hope you get a new job

Since: Dec 27, 2012
Posted on: December 27, 2012 6:38 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Merril shut your ungry mouth I hope you get fired

Since: Jan 8, 2012
Posted on: January 8, 2012 9:10 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Its time you shut up and retire Hoge.  youre a hateful person...and the for the 7 straight games Tebow won, you CLEARLY (we could hear it in your voice) were wanting this kid to fail---JUST TO PROVE YOU RIGHT.  Thats wrong dude...some even say its a sin.  Good people win!!!  Even today you still said "Tebow's in big trouble with that steeler defense...harrison and woodley are both in the lineup..."  That defense disgraced him, didnt they, Meril? 

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: December 15, 2011 8:31 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Iagree completely with you. The will to WIN and the BELIEF youwill win despite the circumstances around you cannot be rated in any statistic. What is happening is just like his faith, BELIEVING IN THE UNSEEN UNTIL IT COMES TO PASS. FAITH IN NUMBERS 22 +, IS LIKE HAVING A WHOLE CHURCH PRAY FOR YOUR ONE PRAYER. STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. If you can fathom someone believing in something that everybody else say's is crazy, then you can understand  why he is having the success with this team. This team reminds me of the Cleveland Indians team in the movie Major League. It was built to lose by design. But like in the movie, Tebow said to the team, " The only thing left to do is WIN the whole damn thing ( SUPER BOWL ) "!!!!! 

Since: Dec 14, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:55 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

I bet your nose would be up someones backside if the Lions ever make the playoffs again.

Since: Dec 14, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:36 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

Don't worry about it too much Merril.  My uncle has been a diehard Gator for many years and he thought it would be impossible for Tebow to make it in the NFL.  I had to remind him of a few things.  First , Tebow is the greatest college football player of all time and should have won at least two and possibly three Heismans if he were not competing with himself and his sophmore campaign.  Secondly, at the time of this discussion both Kerry Collins and Charlie Batch were still in the league, go figure.  Yes I am proud to be on the Tebow bandwagon.  I was born in Gainesville and was born  a Gator.  I jumped on the Tebow bandwagon the day he signed with the Gators and will be a fan of his even if he plays soccer.

Since: Aug 6, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:55 am

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

The only thing that I, I think, that Merril Hoge was wrong about is that he said that the Broncos won't win with Tebow.  It's a great thing that Tebow is doing for the Bronco's, don't get me wrong.  However, I'm still not a believer in Tebow or the QB needing to rush 15-20 times a game.  In time, Tebow, If he can't adapt to the NFL game, will be injured and/or defenses will figure him out.  One thing we do know, running QB's don't last.  The game is to fast and powerful for them to outrun.  No matter how hard the NFL tries to change the rules.

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 6:08 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

sparticuss, let it go, the kid is the real deal.

Twas the week before Christmas, when the Pats went to play,

 a team that had a QB, that played the ol fashioned way.

When his horses started out, they were one and four,

and now near the playoffs, they are busting down the door.

Some say it's his faith that makes him so great,

but most say it’s the defense, or opponents that let him win late.

Regardless of why, it has happened just so,

 and up at mile high, the wind will sure blow.

The white stuff will fall and cold it will be,

but when launched through the air, no catches to see.

On LawFirm, on Woodhead the team would rely,

but the Broncos would stop it, as the clock's ticking by.

Timmy T would tuck it and then he would run,

to the end-zone he’d go like being shot from a gun.

The coaches would yell,  when the game’s out of hand,

nd Tom’s only reply was to say "Go to -ell!"  as he makes one last stand. 

The 4th qtr is done as he's shedding a tear,

because the scoreboard says it all, and this he does fear.

Tim Tebow has won and it was quite a fight, and as you know, he exclaims,

 "God Bless you all, and to all Goodnight"


Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 5:59 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

I LOVE IT!  Nearly everybody, including his coach and GM, have taken shots at Tebow during this season but he just keeps winning.  Sure it's a team game but none of these guys gave the Broncos a chance to win with Tebow at QB! The Broncos benched Orton and traded Lloyd in their attempt to suck for Luck.  Tebow has thrown a wrench in thier plan!  It is so funny to watch.  I'm no Broncos fan but I am cheering for them right now because of TIM TEBOW!!!

Since: Jun 21, 2009
Posted on: December 13, 2011 5:25 pm

Merril Hoge admits he was wrong on Tim Tebow

The last post is correct, in that a writer or analyst admitting a mistake is not something that should be mocked or dismissed. We would all do better to admit when we are wrong rather than engage in endless rationalizations. It's true that Tebow isn't really doing things correctly, at least in terms of his skills, but he's leading the team to wins, which ultimately overrides his technical weaknesses. Fact is, if Tebow were a solid QB, the Broncos wouldn't need to pull these games out with miraculous comebacks- they're only in the position of needing 2 scores in the last 2 minutes because Tebow, in part, has been so awful the preceeding 58 minutes. He's been the equivalent of a .250 hitter in baseball who goes 0 for 3 then gets a base hit to drive in the winning run in the 9th inning. Can't complain much about that when it's happening, but it's not going to continue, no matter how much faith or positive thinking Tebow has.

What I find more interesting is that other teams are finding ways to lose. Anyone watching the Bears-Broncos had to be scratching their head, not because of what Tebow was achieving, but rather because of how Chicago stopped doing what had been so effective in shutting out Denver through the first 55 minutes. Barber running out of bounds was a bonehead play, but it only mattered because the Bears basically played 'prevent' defense at the end, proving once again that what the 'prevent' defense does best is prevent you from winning. It will be really interesting from here on out to follow the Broncos and Tebow because all of a sudden the opposition is going to be hyper aware of what they are doing in response to the Tebow, when really all anyone has to do is continue to pressure him like the Lions did and like the Bears did for 55 minutes on Sunday.

Even if the Patriots don't have a defense on par with Chicago or Detroit, it  probably won't matter in terms of the outcome of this Sunday's game unless Brady goes down with an injury early in the game.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or