GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18: Quarterback John Skelton #19 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates on the bench after a defensive stop during the NFL game against the Cleveland Browns at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Browns 20-17 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
A lot of media hype has been directed towards Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos this season, particularly for his ability to lead his team from (what seems like) any deficit and carry them to victory in the fourth quarter.
The weird thing is, Tebow isn't the only quarterback in the NFL that has played especially well in the final 15 minutes of his games. Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton has been superb in the final period and he has arguably been the best fourth quarter signal caller in the NFL over the past few weeks. The difference? Nobody is talking about John Skelton.
According to Coldhardfootballfacts.com, "John Skelton is the first quarterback in NFL history to have 6 wins decided with fourth quarter/overtime scores in their first 11 games." Both Skelton and Tebow have five comebacks and five game-winning drives a piece this season. Also, Skelton is perfect in his fourth quarter comeback attempts. He boasts a record of 5-0, which not even Tebow can flaunt.
Both of these quarterbacks are uplifted by strong defenses and some timely special teams plays, there is no doubting that. Both Tebow and Skelton have their fair share of ugly plays, but that is to be expected given the youth of each of these players. Their teams started out with dismal records, but through perseverance they have pushed back to post decent records. So one has to wonder: why is it that Tebow gets so much more attention than the Arizona Cardinals and John Skelton?
First of all, Tebow was a star coming out of college. He won a Heisman and two national championships, so there were obviously going to be plenty of lights on him as he stepped onto the big stage. His first round draft pick status only fueled that fire. Cardinals fans have seen this before, as Matt Leinart also had some of the college accolades that Tebow had when he entered the NFL.
Then there are Tebow's religious beliefs. No matter what side of the fence you stand on with that issue, it is a huge conversation piece and it is often seen as something controversial. The media takes any opportunity it can to catch Tim 'Tebowing'.
John Skelton does not have the same type of star power that Tebow does. His play has not been recognized by the national media because he is not a household name, plain and simple. He went to a relatively small university and was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL draft. He is a quiet and conservative guy, he doesn't seek out the camera after his victories because he would rather just celebrate victories with his teammates.
But it is Skelton's play that should be receiving recognition. He is a much better passing quarterback than Tebow and he arguably plays with just as much heart. Skelton plays within the offense that was set up for the team, not an offense that was built around him. Every win the Cardinals have managed to chalk up this season has come via a fourth quarter comeback and/or a game-winning drive. Six of those seven wins had John Skelton under center for the Cardinals.
There is no difference between their last minute drives or their unlikely victories. They are both quarterbacks that get wins and it is about time that one of them gets as much credit as the other.