The Cardinals had some of the worst quarterback play of anyone in the league, splitting time between Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley. Tebow was seen training in Arizona in the offseason at Paradise Valley Community College, adding to speculation that he might get traded to the desert.
Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but since the Cardinals were so bad on offense last season, there's a chance Tebow could have made the team better. In 2011, Tebow led the Denver Broncos to a division title and a playoff win, but the Jets completely marginalized him and left him on the sidelines in favor of Mark Sanchez and he was passed over to start at quarterback for third-stringer Greg McElroy.
Had he gotten a chance to start, there is no telling what might have happened, especially in Arizona, where the Cardinals went just 5-11 for the second straight year and fired head coach head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
The team started off 4-0, but eventually dropped 11 of the last 12 games while ranking 32nd in the league in rushing and 28th in passing while averaging just 15 points per game, second worst in the NFL. The three quarterbacks never were able to connect with Larry Fitzgerald, who had one of his worst seasons with 71 catches for 798 yards and four touchdowns.
Obviously no one can truly know how Tebow would have done in Arizona, but after the play of Skelton, Kolb and Lindley, there is no doubt it would have been an improvement. Here is a look at some of Arizona's games and an analysis of whether Tebow could have helped the team.
Bills 19, Cardinals 16 OT
The Cardinals got 128 yards and one touchdown with one interception on 14 of 26 passes from Kevin Kolb. He was sacked five times and also was knocked down for a safety. Tebow likely would have been better than this and since he is usually so good in close games and overtime, there is a chance the Cardinals could have won this game. The team fell to 4-2, and had lost two games in a row after starting 4-0. The team went on to lose nearly all their games after this and if Tebow could have snuck a win in here, the season may not have been lost. Tebow played against Buffalo while with the Broncos and had a rough day, throwing for 185 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions.
Vikings 21, Cardinals 14
John Skelton played in this game and threw for 262 yards and one touchdown with one interception. The Vikings defense isn't stellar in the passing game and Tebow could have given the Cardinals an extra element in this game, which was their third straight loss after starting 4-0. Tebow had past success against the Vikings, winning 35-32 while starting with the Broncos and throwing for 202 yards and no interceptions with two touchdowns. He also added four rushes for 17 yards for the fifth win in a row for the team. Tebow is a master at improvisation and that could have helped the Cardinals greatly here.
Jets 7, Cardinals 6
One of the most pathetic games for the Cardinals came right in front of Tebow on the sidelines and he likely would have been excellent against his own team if he was playing for Arizona. This was the game where McElroy came in for Sanchez, likely making Tebow even more mad than he was sitting on the bench all year. Lindley completed only 10 of 32 passes and threw for 72 yards and an interception with zero touchdowns.
Tebow led the Broncos to a win against the Jets in 2011, winning 17-13 after throwinf for 104 yards and rushing for the game-winning touchdown as well as 108 total yards on the ground. Lindley showed how bad the team was on offense, and apart from one game with the Broncos, Tebow never had that bad of a pass completion day.
Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0
Tebow likely wouldn't have helped in this game, but there is no doubt he would have been better than Ryan Lindley, who went just 8-of-17 for 59 yards in relief of John Skelton, who passed for 74 yards and four interceptions. The team only gained 111 yards through the air and were dominated in every phase of the game. While Tebow wouldn't be able to defeat the Seahawks all on his own, he likely would have provided something of a spark to the team, much like he did against the Miami Dolphins last season when he led dramatic comeback victory after being down 15-0 in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter.