Tebow Shouldn’t Play

We are verging on Tuesday and Tim Tebow has not yet been cleared to play for the Gators against LSU on Saturday.

I think this is a situation where this man’s long-term health is way more important than the outcome of a game.  He has already lost thousands of brain cells as a result of his concussion.   Is it worth it to put him at risk of permanent damage?

I also think that Florida can beat LSU without Tebow.  I’m sure John Brantley will be more than adequate.  He was recruited to Florida for a reason. 

I know Tebow is the ultimate competitor, but I hope he and the Florida staff make the right decision based on his long term health.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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23 Responses to Tebow Shouldn’t Play

  1. sandymex October 6, 2009 at 6:22 am #

    Heisman Pundit said:
    “He has already lost thousands of brain cells as a result of his concussion. Is it worth it to put him at risk of permanent damage?”

    Thank you Dr. Pundit for your medical opinion. We lose hundreds of thousands of brain cells a day. So if a reader spends 10 minutes on your website he might lose thousands of brain cells. Concussions require serious people who know what they’re talking about. People who don’t make irresponsible off-the-cuff pronouncements based on no information.

    Remember how you insisted that the Heisman voters in the south were going to leave McCoy and Bradford off their ballots to throw the Heisman to Tebow last year? Remember how the results proved that was false and that Tebow finished with the most #1 votes but was left off many ballots in the southwest and west? That’s an example of an off-the-cuff and irresponsible pronouncement, but at least the Heisman is a subject you know something about.

  2. HP October 6, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Apparently only you can take a post meant to express concern for a player’s health the wrong way.

    A simple Google search on concussions will tell you about the serious damage they do to brain cells, so making such a statement should hardly be considered a stretch.

    As for your last point, no, I NEVER wrote that Tebow was going to win the Heisman last year, nor did I write that Bradford or McCoy would be left off of Southern ballots, thus throwing the race his way. You must be thinking of some other web site. I would never make such a superficial Heisman analysis. In reality, after the loss by Texas Tech to Oklahoma, I predicted Bradford would win and that’s what he did.

    We have this wonderful thing called an archive. Here is the post where I not only predicted Bradford would win, but that Tebow would lose despite getting the most first-place votes. Thanks for playing.


  3. ChloroxingTheGenePool October 6, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    Does Florida get a mulligan if they lose to LSU because Tebow cannot play or if he does, performs poorly? Urban Meyer would not risk a player’s well-being, especially, when as it relates to a head injury, imo. He’s just not that type of coach.

  4. sandymex October 6, 2009 at 11:10 am #

    I have no problem with you expressing concern about Tebow’s health, but you’ve gone well beyond sending Tebow a get well card. You are explicitly and unconditionally stating that Tebow should not play. Yet you don’t know the specifics of his condition.

    I also have a problem with you suggesting that the doctors charged with making this decision would not act in Tebow’s best interest. You know less than me about concussions and you know much less than the doctors who are treating Tebow. What I resent the most is that your comments put the worst possible spin on the story if Tebow is cleared to play.

    Last year Heisman Pundit said: “If Bradford is seen as the threat to Tebow, voters [in the south] will either pick Bradford third or leave him off their ballot altogether.”

  5. jeremy October 6, 2009 at 11:22 am #

    re: Gene pool – do voters factor in star players being unable to play as a result of injury in order to mitigate a loss – probably subconsciously I’m guessing. Maybe HP could ask some of your buddies (Mandel/Feldman, etc?) to see if they factor that in when voting. It’s already been an issue this year with big time programs, Oklahoma with Bradford, USC with Barkely/Mays. My guess is that most of the big time programs get the benefit of the doubt while the not so national programs probably don’t.

  6. HP October 6, 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    As far as the injuries go, one game is MAYBE acceptable, but it depends on the circumstance (the game). Voters want to see the player in marquee matchups and if they are denied that, it hurts the player.

    As for you sandymex, I know that Tim Tebow suffered a concussion. That is public knowledge, as is the effects of a concussion. I happen to have a friend who is a brain surgeon and he told me that there is no way he would advise Tebow to play. This is big time sports and do not be foolish enough to think that guys don’t risk injury and further injury all the time, or aren’t pressured into it (either by themselves or by overeager coaches). Did you not see the recent study about ex players and dementia?

    Finally, yes, I posited that Bradford might get left off some ballots IN THE SOUTH region, but I never once suggested that it would throw the race to Tebow. So, before you start lecturing me about concussions, you should get your basic facts straight on other things first.

  7. sandymex October 6, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

    LOL, yes you never said voters in the south would SUCCESSFULLY rig the vote for Tebow, you just said they’d try. Like I said, results show your vote-rigging allegations might have been better placed in the southwest and west.

    Regarding concussions, I have done extensive research in this area, but I wouldn’t begin to substitute my judgment for those who are monitoring Tebow’s condition. The fact of the matter is that there is an enormous range in the severity of concussions and recovery times.

    One NFL linebacker I know was recently back in contact drills 5 days after his second concussion. Rutgers starting qb was scrimmaging 9 days after being knocked unconscious. Scot Brantley (John Brantley’s uncle) was a Gator all-american who was advised to never play football again. Moses Jenkins (also hurt in the Kentucky game this year) is recovering more slowly than Tebow. Every situation is different and requires objective clinical evaluation of the patient to make a decision.

    Since your doctor friend is willing to give opinions about patients he’s never seen, how many weeks does he claim are necessary before Tebow can play or scrimmage?

  8. CloroxingTheGenePool October 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm #


    This is actually quite an interesting discussion (I don’t think HP meant anything malicious and was talking in too general of terms, e.g., what the neurosurgeon friend of his relayed). Fun to think about what defines a concussion, what is the type of damage taking place in the brain (are there really tens of thousands of cells being turned over in the brain each day?, what the risk of reinjury and resultant, lasting debiliatory effects are, etc., etc. Are you a physician specializing in sports medicine or neurology? I assume if you’re a pure researcher, then you’re focusing upon neuroscience. It’d be interesting to see some of your work as this is an interesting, relevant topic to many people.

  9. Heismanpundit October 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    sandymex, I never called the vote for Tebow, as you claimed. I called the race for Bradford but predicted Tebow would win the South. Both happened. Period. You were wrong. I was right.

    As for the concussion issue, I don’t doubt your credentials as a researcher. However, I doubt you have been around a big-time football program like I have. There is an enormous pressure to rush guys back from injuries before they are ready and it happens a lot. Players are so competitive and so much money is at stake, perspective is often lost. Sometimes, as in the cases you cite, guys get out of it okay, but there are plenty of other instances where guys come back and get reinjured. This is the sentiment I was expressing in hoping that Tebow would make the right decision.

    BTW, my doctor friend said if it were his kid, he wouldn’t let him play for at least four weeks.

  10. sandymex October 6, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

    I never said you called the vote for Tebow. Read what I said. In the final weeks of the race you asserted that voters in the south would try to throw the race in Tebow’s favor by leaving Bradford off. Talk about tossing a grenade into the process! The results showed Bradford got a large total from the south… so you were dead wrong on this. The results also showed that Tebow got left off a lot of ballots in the southwest and the west.

    You’re saying that Tebow is being rushed back based on your general knowledge of how programs work. That’s like saying Percy Harvin received hundreds of thousands of dollars based on what happened with Reggie Bush.

    Based only on what you know about Tebow’s condition, how many days or weeks should Tebow be held out of practices and games? If you don’t have an opinion on this, what does your surgeon friend think? If neither of you have an opinion on this why on God’s green earth did you insist Tebow shouldn’t play and that he’s being rushed back prematurely?

  11. sandymex October 6, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    Interesting that your doctor friend said that Tebow shouldn’t play for 4 weeks after you opined that Tebow would drop from the front runners if he missed two games. Coincidence? I think not.

  12. CloroxingTheGenePool October 6, 2009 at 7:49 pm #


    Could you please post the title of or link to one of your peer reviewed journal articles? Just want to read about what you’ve worked upon. Lot of neat things being done in that area right now.

    But back to the topic: the only way Tebow was going to win the Heisman Trophy this year is if he led the team to another national title (it would take that type of performance to sway voters into having another two time winner). Second, I know that Urban Meyer would never do anything that would jeopardize a player’s health and future life. I think HP got jaded being around Pete Carrol’s program, to be frank. Meyer is not the same type of person or coach.

  13. HP October 6, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    The great thing about the comments section is that we can see what you wrote earlier, which was:

    Remember how you insisted that the Heisman voters in the south were going to leave McCoy and Bradford off their ballots to throw the Heisman to Tebow last year?

    I never said anyone was going to ‘throw’ the race to Tebow. In fact, I predicted that Bradford would come in third in the South, with McCoy second. As it turned out, Bradford got 250 points in the South and McCoy got 247, so I was within one vote of predicting the correct order. Meanwhile Tebow got 382 points in the South and the gap between Tebow and McCoy was the largest gap between the No. 1 and No. 2 guy out of all the regions. Despite what you think, it wasn’t only Tebow that was left off of some ballots; both McCOy and Bradford were left off of ballots as well.

    You have no way of knowing which ballots from which region any of the candidates got left off of as the Heisman trust does not reveal that information, so you are speculating.

    Finally, what does the medical opinion of my doctor friend have to do with the Heisman race? It’s his opinion and it’s not like me regurgitating it is going to affect the race’s outcome. So, me saying that Tebow shouldn’t play is hardly the conspiracy you imply it is.

    Oh, and right now it looks like Tebow may not play, so maybe I was right, huh?

  14. Perry October 7, 2009 at 6:43 am #

    HP – I really enjoy your website but…

    My BFF won a Nobel Prize for treating occipital lobe concussions in football players named Tim and he said…


    Here’s the latest:

    “Tebow didn’t receive partial clearance to return to the field until he met with a team of athletic trainers and doctors, including a concussion expert from the University of Pittsburgh, during a pre-practice evaluation Tuesday.”

    Would they fly down an expert from Pittsburgh just for show? I think they are being careful about this. He’s been tested everyday. Also, it’s not like Bud Kilmer is running the show in Gainesville. Everyone knows Urban and Tebow are close. At least in this case, I think Urban will be able to put Tebow’s interest above his own.

  15. CloroxingTheGenePool October 7, 2009 at 7:28 am #


    Urban Meyer would never risk Tebow’s or any player’s health and future life by playing said player(s) before properly healed. Meyer’s program isn’t akin to the one being run in South Central Los Angeles or the 32 NFL franchises, i.e., Meyer actually does care about his players’ well-being more than the fame or lucrative contracts derived from winning. Lets face it: Meyer will still be beloved and have job security regardless of how this season plays out (underachieving in terms of personal awards and honors and team goals may be frustrating but the Gators have done pretty damn good the last few years under Meyer’s lead); so, choosing to play or sit Tebow isn’t based on winning or losing.

    But to a Southern Cal fan, a Florida loss, of course, would help the Trojans have a better shot at making it into the national title game. To them, from their viewpoint, IT IS ALL ABOUT THE WINNING OR LOSING. And I’m sure there’s a lot of worry, angst about Meyer clearly proving, with another national title (2 : 1.5 is good but 3 : 1.5 is better) that he’s the best (as if he hasn’t already, being successful and never fired from any head coaching job he has ever held), knocking Pete Carrol from the throne. What better way to relieve those pent-up feelings than to take potshots at Meyer’s integrity, behind the feigned concern about Tebow’s health? You aren’t still on the USC payroll, are you, HP? Just kidding…sort of.

  16. sandymex October 7, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    You continue to misread my comments even when I point out how you’re misreading them. Let me add a phrase in parentheses since you haven’t understood any of my previous attempts to correct you.

    You said the reason voters in the south would leave Bradford off their ballots was [in an effort] to throw the Heisman to Tebow. My meaning is identical with or without the phrase “in an effort.” I never said Tebow actually won, I pointed out that you targeted voters in the south and wrongly assumed the worst about their motivations. You never made a similar comment about the two regions that most snubbed one of the three major candidates.

    Regarding Tebow… I think the decision should be left to the doctors who are monitoring his condition. They had a plan in place before the season started for clearing him to play in the event of a concussion. I’m not advocating that Tebow play or even predicting that he will… I’m telling you it’s irresponsible to opine about this without all the facts. Had your surgeon friend made a similar off-the-cuff 4 week recommendation about Scot Brantley he could very well be dead right now.

  17. HP October 7, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    Who is Scot Brantley. No clue.

    As for being irresponsible to opine without the facts, come on now.

    The man had a bad concussion. If I had said “He definitely should play anyway”, then that might be irresponsible. To say he should play it safe is hardly irresponsible, even if you don’t agree that the risk is all that great.

  18. HP October 7, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    Listen Clorox and Perry, I think you are being a bit naive about big time college football. You are Gator fans so you think Urban Meyer is a saint. I get that. I never said he would rush Tebow back and risk his health. I actually pointed out that I was worried more about TEBOW’s competitiveness and that he would rush himself back. But you can’t deny that at every major school there is an unspoken pressure to play because so much is at stake. I hope they keep things in perspective, but if you even wonder why guys play hurt, then you know what I mean.

  19. CloroxingTheGenePool October 7, 2009 at 4:49 pm #


    I am not a Gator fan.

    I have, however, directly talked to players who have played for Urban Meyer. He is respected and liked, not needing pretentious, cheesy, and narcissistic features upon 60 Minutes or self-produced Youtube videos to let people know what he is about. And he’s smart. In sum, he’s completely different than Pete Carrol and the program run at Southern Cal. I know that you and other Trojan fans are having trouble dealing with your program’s underachievement (where art thou, Norm Chow?) but there’s no need to attack someone who does it right & better.

    Am I so naive as to think an elite performer won’t push themselves to and beyond what’s safe? No. To paraphrase, T.S. Elliot, only by going too far can one find out how far one can go. Do I think coaches or even team physicians may push not-quite-ready-to-play athletes to go? Sure. But to assume it’s taking place at Florida is presumptuous at best, slanderous at worst. Given your motivations, I’m thinking it tilts towards the latter.

  20. sandymex October 8, 2009 at 4:39 am #

    It is irresponsible to question the motives of those charged with Tebow’s care. It is irresponsible to set an arbitrary return date without examining Tebow or evaluating his progress.

    Scot Brantley was an All-American linebacker for the Gators who suffered a concussion. One of the keys was that this was not his first (like Matt Leinart’s multiple concussions at USC). The doctors charged with Brantley’s care at Florida advised him never to play again. If your buddy had been arm-chair doctoring, he would have just blurted out four weeks and Scot Brantley might be dead.

    Where were your articles demanding that Leinart sit in 2005? He missed a whopping 2 days of practice after his last concussion at USC. I guess you were more worried about winning than dementia when the concussions were happening to your quarterback. Apparently “it works both ways” for everybody but you and USC.

  21. skigator93 October 8, 2009 at 7:08 am #

    Come on folks – lets put down the rocks and play nice.

    It is pretty well documented that a Meyer-coached team will not rush players back into action before they are ready. Just last season, Percy Harvin sustained a high-ankle sprain and despite all efforts to get him back on the field, it was determined the day of the SEC Championship Game that he wasn’t quite ready, so he sat against Alabama.

    In the BCS title game, it was rumored that Cornelious Ingram was possibly ready to play after returning (obviously too quickly) from a torn ACL. He didn’t dress for the BCSCG.

    If Tebow is ready, he’ll play. If not, he’ll sit. Florida’s defense is strong enough to give the team a solid chance to win even without Tebow playing.

    Doctors have told Meyer when Tebow’s healed, he’s healed. Sitting him out additional weeks after he’s healed doesn’t decrease the chance of further injury. Anyone who hasn’t treated Tebow the past 2 weeks knows zilch about his condition. That includes all of us, regardless of how much research we’ve completed on the topic and how many friends we have who went to medical school.

    We all have the right to make predictions and state our own personal opinions, but there is no need to try to convince others when we are all just guessing.

    I’m looking forward to Saturday.

  22. HP October 8, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    sandymex, this is my last comment on this subject. What’s the point debating this further with an insufferable homer rah rah such as yourself? Who else would take an innocuous post where I hope for Tebow and Florida to exercise good judgement and turn it into something malevolent?

    As for Leinart, had I known he had a concussion at the time, I would’ve recommended he sit. As I recall, the concussions weren’t revealed until later. Besides, he did not suffer the high-profile hit that Tebow suffered along with the subsequent vomiting and post-game hospital stay. So there was a difference.

    Finally, if you think this blog is one that treats USC with kid gloves, you clearly haven’t been reading very long.

  23. sandymex October 8, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    You’ve said Tebow should sit for 4 weeks based on no first hand info about his condition. You’ve suggested Tebow’s doctors would be placing winning above his health if they clear him to play this week. I’ve never said when Tebow should play, I’ve said we should rely on the doctors who are monitoring his condition.

    Regarding Leinart he was motionless on the field after a hit in the first quarter of the ASU game. Like Tebow, it is possible that Leinart didn’t lose consciousness. Unlike Tebow, this was not his first concussion. USC put him back in after 1 play. He took some hard hits over the next few series and even the commentators noted that he wasn’t himself. Leinart later said: “I don’t know if I was all there the whole game, but I just battled.”