A Statistical Irregularity: Remembering Tim Tebow’s Legendary “3:16 Game”

NFL Wild Card Weekend is over, and one can only try to fathom all of the irregularities that took place in the past two days. Tom Brady sealed the Patriots’ loss to the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on Saturday by throwing a pick six — and the Minnesota Vikings defeated Drew Brees and the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Both of these were major upsets that relatively no-one saw coming.

Irregularities are what makes the NFL Wild Card Weekend so much more fun. One of the most uncanny moments happened almost 8 years ago to a 25 year-old quarterback making his post-season debut.


It was January 8, 2012. The Denver Broncos were facing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Invesco Field at Mile High. Pittsburgh was heavily favored to win the game after recently winning two Super Bowls with their machine of a quarterback, “Big” Ben Roethlisberger (one in 2006 and 2009).


On the opposing side was a young quarterback that wasn’t the greatest passer, but his incredible athleticism certainly made up for it. Because of his age and lack of experience, analysts did not expect him to come out clutch and ready to win. They were dead wrong.

That young quarterback was Tim Tebow, and in this AFC Wild Card matchup he had the game of his life. He threw a game-winning pass in overtime to Demaryius Thomas — who then ran it back 80 yards for a touchdown!


It wasn’t until after the game though that Tebow and the world found out about the irregularities of the event…duh, duh DUH!


According to Tim Tebow, he made his way into the post-game press conference as the quarterback would any game. Tebow shared that he and a reporter then exchanged conversation about these…irregularities.

“He says, ‘Timmy, did you realize what happened?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, we just beat the Steelers. We’re going to play the Patriots.’ And he was like, ‘No, do you realize what happened?’”

This is when it got really interesting:

“He said, ‘No, I don’t think you realize what happened. During the game you threw for 316 yards, your yards per completion were 31.6, your yards per rush were 3.16, the ratings for the night we’re 31.6, and the time of possession was 31.06…


This game happened exactly three years after he wore “John 3:16” under his eyes for the 2009 College Football Playoff National Championship. Eerie right?


It is games like these that are remembered throughout NFL history; games like the “Minneapolis Miracle,” or the “Butt fumble” are iconic games that will always remain in the hearts of fans. Coincidence or not, this will be forever remembered as one of the greatest and iconic mysteries to ever occur in the sports world.

Photo Credit:

“Nicely Done”byJeffrey Beallis licensed underCC BY-SA 2.0