All We Are Saying, Is Give Tebow a Chance
Jordan Raanan, Comcast Sports
Fri Aug 12, 3:37 AM UTC
Tim Tebow has never failed at anything in his life. Seriously, find me evidence to the contrary. The guy is a living, breathing, human Picasso; every stroke of his being another feathery branch of perfection.
The linebacker-turned-quarterback was twice named Florida's High School Player of the Year. He was a Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Florida. He’s a two-time national champion, a two-time first-team All-American and the 25th overall pick by Denver in the 2010 NFL Draft. Tebow had a QB rating over 100 in his starting debut. He helped the Broncos rally from a 17-0 halftime deficit in his second career start and accounted for three TDs in his third and final start of his rookie season.
There's no doubt about it, Tebow's the quintessential winner, on and off the field. As if this dime isn't sufficient evidence; he doesn't talk trash, his father is a pastor, grandfather a well decorated army colonel and, well, Football Jesus is cleaner than a well-buffed Escalade.
Tebow has it all, from the perfect pedigree to the undeniable results. Everyone in Denver seems to see it, except John Elway and John Fox, the new Broncos' decision-makers. They're the only ones missing the obvious — that Tebow, not Kyle Orton, should be Denver's starting quarterback. Elway and Fox are looking at the cosmetic warts instead of the internal beauty.
Tebow waited his turn. He's said all the right things. And while the Dez Bryants of the world refused to do the easiest of chores, Timmy was open to playing the fool. He acceptingly sported the world's worst 'do and sat the bench with nary a complaint his rookie season, all while patiently waiting his turn on a horrible team.
To this point, the kid has done it all right. He's the football anomaly. At 23 years old, he even has a New York Times bestseller to his name. Imagine that, a young football player as a literary demigod. It's as awkward as a quarterback taking his offensive line to a tofu restaurant. As we know well, football players aren't known for their stunning intellect … or beauty.
But Tebow seems to have it all. His resume is a success manual so finely edited that it reads to perfection: incredible achievements, only a few mistakes, even fewer losses and no sign of illegal or irresponsible behavior.
It's apparently so flawless and unique that Elway and Fox are flummoxed by its brilliance. How else can you explain their refusal to install such a fine football player and leader as their starter, especially after rebounding from a slow start to complete six of seven passes in Thursday night's preseason opener against the Cowboys?
This is the question that plagues the Broncos and their future. Despite an offseason of never-ending trade rumors, Denver has made its decision. With Elway now the team president -- the Hall of Famer was not part of the previous regime that drafted Tebow -- the Broncos have decided to ride with the veteran Orton after an offseason trade to Miami dissolved. It apparently doesn't matter what happens this preseason.
That leaves Tebow playing backup to the backup on a team full of backups. It's as flawed a decision as we've seen since Al Davis handed JaMarcus Russell $31 million guaranteed.
Let's be honest: Kyle … Orton! All you can do is accompany those two words with a befuddled head shake.
Orton would be good with the '85 Bears. He'd manage with the ‘00 Ravens. With the '11 Broncos? It could be a repeat of the '10 Broncos when they finished 4-12 with a below-average offense.
Best case scenario, if everything unfolds as planned, Denver could get to 8-8. Bleh. Whipped cream on spit.
And Vegas isn't anywhere near that optimistic. They have the Broncos' season win total at a measly 5 1/2. Clearly, there aren't a lot of Bronco believers.
This column isn't meant to bash Orton. He's a fine quarterback (at this point much more refined than Tebow) and by all accounts a fine man. When all is said and done, he's going to have a nice 15-year career and make enough money to keep the future Ortons content.
But Orton's nowhere near a difference-maker. He's 32-30 in his career as a starter. The Chicago Bears, as desperate a franchise as there has been in the last two decades to find a competent quarterback, happily shipped him to Denver in exchange for Jay Cutler after yo-yoing him in and out of the starting lineup for several seasons.
Orton will be 29 after the current campaign with zero career playoff wins. The Broncos are not going to win a Super Bowl with him at quarterback. Not this year or any other. So why not give football's Mr. Wonderful a chance? What do the Broncos, in the midst of a rebuilding phase, have to lose? If it goes oh so wrong, they'll be perfectly positioned in the Andrew Luck Lottery.
Sure, it's possible that Tebow might not live up to his pre-pro resume. Lots of players and Heisman winners don't, especially running quarterbacks. But the jury is still out. There is a chance Tebow is the special one, the one run-first QB who can take several hits from Ray Lewis or Brian Urlacher and not need a wheelchair or GPS to get back to the huddle. He could be the one with the funky, inaccurate throwing motion who proves the pundits wrong.
And there are plenty of detractors, chief among them Merril Hoge, who recently blasted Tebow on Twitter:
"Sitting watching tape off bronco offense from last year! Orton or Tebow? It's embarrassing to think the broncos could win with tebow!!"
Hoge couldn't be more wrong. We don't know yet if anyone in the NFL can win with Tebow. We already know the Broncos can't win with Orton. And until there is evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume that Tebow will continue his success streak in the NFL, if the Broncos ever give him the chance like they should.
Jordan Raanan has covered the NFL since 2005. Follow him on Twitter at @JordanRaanan or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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