March 19, 2012
With Peyton in, Tim Tebow-ing out of Denver
By JOHN KRYK, QMI Agency
As sure as his knee drops to the turf and his bowing chin hits his fist at the end of a game, Tim Tebow is no longer going to be a Denver Bronco.
Signing Peyton Manning means the Broncos no longer have to worry about starting, defending, over-praising or otherwise enduring the craziness surrounding the enigma that is Tebow.
And, really, that's what Tim Tebow is -- an enigma.
He can't throw accurately, except when the game is on the line.
He has maybe the worst arm in the NFL, except when you leave his intended pass target open late in a close game, however deep or short.
All he can do well is run, except when teams dare him to throw.
And if you play him to pass, he'll kill you on the ground.
Except when he can't do any damn thing right, which is most of the time.
Tim Tebow is an enigma, wrapped inside a riddle ... sorry, I can never remember how that line goes, but he's that.
Tebow did accomplish a lot last season, which started with him holding a clipboard or signaling in plays (choose your cliche). He revived Denver's season, with one heroic last-minute victory after another. Then he led the Broncos into the playoffs, where he engineered a high-drama, comeback, upset victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime in a wildcard game.
In the process, Tebow became a North American pop-culture sensation. Not just for all his inexplicable comeback victories in a non-traditional, run-focused spread offence, but perhaps more so for his unabashed demonstrations of his devout Christian faith, which seems to shape his every thought and action, on and off the field.
Can I write that? Nobody ever seems to spell it out that plainly, but that's a big part of his mass appeal. And, yes, derision.
More than any other athlete in recent memory, Tebow is the athlete North Americans either love to love -- or love to hate. There's no in-between with the guy.
When my dear grown niece, who knows almost nothing about football, tells me she's a big Tebow fan -- probably because everybody at church has become a big Tebow fan -- it underscores for me just how huge an impact he has had on our society.
And why so many of his fans think so highly of him.
But Tim Tebow's travelling salvation show is folding its tents and moving on from Denver. Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies -- everyone goes. Or however that Neil Diamond lyric went.
But to where? Good question.
Denver "already has sniffed around to determine the kind of trade value" for Tebow, the NFL Network's Albert Breer said Monday.
And it won't only be the teams still looking for an upgrade at starting quarterback who'll be interested in Tebow, Breer said. Teams looking to make Tebow a "complementary piece" -- that is, an occasional run/pass threat from the shotgun or pistol -- probably also will be in the hunt.
On the other hand, another NFL Network analyst, Michael Lombardi, doubts there will be more than a few teams interested in Tebow. He might not even be worth a fifth-round draft pick. And if the Broncos can't trade him, they'll likely just dump him.
So who wants him?
The Jacksonville Jaguars? Probably, if they hadn't paid Dolphins castaway Chad Henne $6.75 million late last week to battle Blaine Gabbert for the starter's job. Now, probably not.
The Miami Dolphins? If ever an NFL owner and his GM were desperate to sign any kind of buzz-worthy player to mollify just part of their fanbase, it's Stephen Ross, Jeff Ireland and the Dolphins. Tebow would put plenty more bums in those vacuous Sun Life Stadium seats.
All we know is that Tebow very likely has taken his last snap as a Bronco.
Just 24 days before Manning chose Denver as the second stop of his NFL career, Broncos front-office executive John Elway said this of Tebow at a Scouting Combine news conference:
"We're hoping that he's going to be the guy for a long, long time."
In Elway's defence, he did not specify for which NFL team.
BRONCO EXCITED ALONG WITH FANS
Star pass rusher Von Miller summed up the feelings of a lot of Denver Broncos fans.
"I'm excited," he said about Peyton Manning's decision to throw in with Denver on Monday. "And I'm sure Bronco Nation is excited, too."
But if that means that last year's hero, quarterback Tim Tebow, must move on to another NFL club, well ...
"I hope not," Miller told the NFL Network on Monday afternoon. "I'm hoping that there's some way, or somehow, that we can keep Tim. And if he can just get one or two things from Peyton, then (in the future) I think he can be one of the (best) quarterbacks in the league.
"I love him, on and off the field. I hope there is some way that we can work it out."
Would Tebow accept such a demotion?
"I think there can be a co-existence," Miller said. "I can't speak for him ... With Tim's personality, and his work ethic, it doesn't matter who comes in -- he's going to compete."