When former Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing caught the highlights of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow unleashing his unusual style on the NFL, it brought back memories.
Reesing, though more of a pure passer than Tebow, shared a lot of characteristics with the former Florida Gators standout during his playing days at KU.
Tebow, who won a Heisman Trophy and two national championships at Florida, will begin his quest to repeat that kind of postseason magic in the NFL at 3:30 today, when his fourth-seeded Broncos (8-8) play host to No. 5 Pittsburgh (12-4).
The fact that the Broncos are even in this position speaks to Tebow’s leadership. After handing the starting quarterback job to Tebow in Week 6, Denver went 7-4 down the stretch and won the AFC West. Although the run-first QB struggled during the past three weeks and was criticized throughout the season, Reesing said neither fact changed the bottom line.
“It’d be unfair to say that he doesn’t bring something to the table that a lot of other players don’t have,” Reesing said.
That “something” typically is measured in intangibles, and, because of those, Tebow has become one of the most polarizing figures in all of sports. Most football followers either love Tebow’s game or hate it. There’s not much in between. Reesing, however, falls in the middle, saying he doesn’t necessarily root for or against Tebow. He does admire him, though.
“He’s just a true competitor,” Reesing said. “He gets enough flak and grief for all the other things off the football field, it’s hard to take anything away from him on the field.”
The Tebow intangible that impresses Reesing the most rests inside his helmet.
“He is so mentally tough that he can go 3-of-16 in the first half and then bounce back and go 16-of-24 in the fourth quarter and lead his team to victory,” Reesing said. “The fact that he’s done it week after week when he continues to be scrutinized for his passing mechanics and not being able to complete a high percentage... at the end of the day, he finds a way to win.”
Reesing knows a thing or two about being scrutinized. Throughout his playing career, the Austin, Texas, native was criticized for being too small or too slow. All he did was use the doubt as fuel for a record-setting career at KU, where he served as a catalyst for one of the Jayhawks’ best football stretches of all-time.
As for his career beyond college football, Reesing did not get an opportunity in the NFL. In fact, he barely got a chance at all. The Saskatchewan Roughriders, of the Canadian Football League, picked him up for a few days, only to send him home after they wound up with a surplus at the position.
Since then, Reesing, who now works in client relations at the recently opened Vancouver branch of Dimensional Fund Advisors — owned by KU alum David Booth and based in Austin — has thought a lot about football.
“It’s pretty much done and behind me at this point,” he said. “I had offers for Arena ball and overseas and stuff, but it really wasn’t going to progress anywhere so I figured I’d just move on to the next chapter and get started with work.”
Does he miss the game?
“Every day, man,” he said. “It would’ve been fun to continue to play, but, hey, we went out with a couple of good years at Kansas and I’ve got nothing but fond memories. I’m not leaving the game with a sour taste, which is probably more than a lot of people can say.”