Commentary

The NFL's clutchest QB

How is there really a debate that Tim Tebow is more "clutch" than Aaron Rodgers?

Originally Published: December 1, 2011
By Chris Sprow | ESPN Insider
Aaron Rodgers and Tim Tebow Getty ImagesAaron Rodgers and Tim Tebow are a combined 16-1 this season as starting quarterbacks.

A debate recently broke out in these parts about who you'd rather have at quarterback when your team is down or tied late, with just one drive to decide a football game -- Tim Tebow or Aaron Rodgers? Tebow had shepherded yet another game-winning drive in an overtime win against San Diego, the fourth time he's led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime in his first nine starts, one short of the all-time NFL record for that span. And while it seems like sacrilege to not lay all offerings at the Rodgers altar, on the concept of clutch, Tebow backers could at least piece together a case:

• Tebow's fourth game-winning drive in his ninth start looks almost inspired next to Rodgers' five total game-winners in 58 starts. Check the list. Rodgers has been brilliant, but he's no comeback king.
• Relying on his legs might make Tebow a gimmick by critics' standards, but they serve him well late, when defenses are tired. His running performance in the fourth quarter is better than it is in the previous three quarters.
• Tebow improves as a passer during games -- perhaps as he grows more comfortable, or because defenses get tired as he extends plays, or as he and his receivers get on the same page. It can take awhile with so few throws; he still averages barely more than 20 a game.

Even the most ardent Tebow-jersey collector would never claim, though, that Denver's No. 15 is a better quarterback in almost any sense than Rodgers. But is Tebow really more clutch, and does he have some gift for it? If he isn't, who is the most regularly clutch quarterback in the league? (And how do we even measure it?)