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Thursday, December 15, 2011
Updated: December 30, 6:51 PM ET
Take your pick

By Rick Reilly
ESPN.com

Tom Brady/Tim Tebow
When Tom Brady takes on Tim Tebow in Denver, it will be a tale of two very different quarterbacks.

This story has been corrected. Read below

Tom is righty. Tim is lefty.

Tom is 34. Tim is 24.

Tom is second in passing yards among NFL starters this season. Tim is dead last.

Tom is third in completion percentage. Tim is dead last.

Tom has won five games in a row. Tim has won six.

Tom swears like a teamster who has stubbed his little toe. Tim says "Gosh!" and "Golly!" and calls reporters "Sir." (I hired a lip reader to monitor Tim in Week 13. The worst he said was an impassioned, "Let's go!")

Tom has a QB rating of 106.0. Tim's is 83.9.

But in the fourth quarter, Tom's is 91.0 and Tim's is 99.6.

Tom is a national sex symbol who's had two children, one out of wedlock with a stunning actress and the other with his wife, a Brazilian supermodel. Tim is a national sexless symbol, a proud virgin.

Tom has won 77 percent of his games as a starter. Tim has won 73 percent.

Tom throws spirals that could slide into a mailbox from across a cul de sac. They nestle into receivers' arms like babies returned to new mothers. Tim throws chevrons of mallards. He has more overthrows than the Arab Spring.

Tom has the seventh-best-selling Fathead poster in the NFL this week. Tim has the best-selling one. And the second-best-selling one. And the 10th-best-selling one.

Tom is the ultimate pocket quarterback. He's as comfortable in it as Sarah Palin in mink. Tim treats the pocket as an electric chair. He bolts it like it's on fire.

Tim Tebow
While Tom Brady relishes the pocket, Tim Tebow can't wait to rush out of it.

Tom runs like he's wearing ski boots. Tim runs like he's wearing ACME jet packs. In his entire career, Tom has rushed for 697 yards. Tim could very well run for that many this season.

Tom has lost games this season scoring 31, 20 and 17 points. Tim has won games scoring 18, 17, 17, 16 and 13.

Tom is aided by the NFL's leading receiver, Wes Welker, and a touchdown-gobbling tight end, Rob Gronkowski. Tim is helped by God, according to his pastor, Wayne Henson. "God favors Tim for all his hard work," the pastor says.

Tom is in his 12th season. Tim is in his second. Tom finished his second season with a passer rating of 86.5. Tim's passer rating is about the same, 83.9.

Tom was born in San Mateo, Calif., to an insurance consultant and has three siblings, all girls. Tim was born in Makati City, Philippines, to a Baptist missionary, and is the youngest of five.

Tom went to the prestigious Catholic high school Junipero Serra, where Barry Bonds and Lynn Swann went. Tim was homeschooled.

Tom was mostly unknown in college. He sat on the bench his first two years. Tim was one of the most famous college athletes in history, a cinch for the College Football Hall of Fame, winner of two national championships, claimer of one Heisman and finalist for two more.

Tom was a sixth-round draft pick. Tim was a first-rounder.

Tom did not start a game as a rookie. Tim did.

Tom has won three Super Bowls, two Super Bowl MVPs and two league MVPs. He owns the NFL regular-season records for TD passes, best TDs-to-interception ratio, consecutive home wins and consecutive playoff wins. Tim is a favorite of Skip Bayless.

Tom is Goliath. Tim is David. A 6-foot-3, 235-pound David who can bench 350 and flatten cornerbacks into peanut brittle.

Tom has 24 fourth-quarter comeback victories in his 11 years as a starter. Tim has six in, basically, one.

Tom has no jokes going around about him. Tim has this one: Tebow asks for an audience with the Pope, who grants it. Tebow flies to Rome and the Pope gives him a tour of the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, everything. But it's Sunday morning and now the Pope needs to deliver Mass to the 50,000 people waiting in St. Peter's Square below his window. "Come with me to the window and see for yourself," the Pope says. The two of them go to the window. Down below, an Italian guy says to his buddy, "Hey, who's the guy in the pointy hat next to Tebow?"

Tom has made 17 Sports Illustrated covers. Tim has eight, one more than Drew Brees.

Tom has 19 books for sale about him on Amazon.com. Tim has six.

Tom is the namesake of the NFL's Brady Rule, which prohibits hitting QBs below the knees. Tim is the namesake behind the NCAA's Tebow Rule, regarding athletes wearing messages on their eye black.

Tom is on a greeting card. Tim is on a Christmas card.

Tom has been named his team's QB of the future. Tim has not.

Tom is 1-5 versus Tim's team. Tim has never played Tom's team.

Bradying is not an acknowledged English word, according to the Global Language Monitor. Tebowing is.

Both men would chew through a cement embankment to win a football game.

They play Sunday.

Who do you like?


A Dec. 15 ESPN.com column incorrectly characterized when Tom Brady's children were born. His first child with Bridget Moynahan was born in 2007, after the couple had split up. The second, with Giselle Bundschen, was born in Dec. 2009; the couple was married in February 2009.

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Rick Reilly is the 11-time National Sportswriter of the Year. He contributes essays and commentary to "Monday Night Countdown," "SportsCenter," and ESPN/ABC golf and tennis coverage. He's also the host of "Homecoming," ESPN's unique, one-hour interview show set in the hometowns of legendary athletes. For more Rick, check out the archive.


Feel like taking a detour from sane sports? Try Rick's latest book, "Sports from Hell."