Before rookie QB Tim Tebow joined the Denver Broncos in 2010, Bronco fans were reeling from what seemed like almost nightly arrests of Broncos for shootings and drunken bar fights -- not to mention paternity claims. The joke was that the Broncos were forced into the “no-huddle” offense because so many Broncos had parole officers who would not let their parolees meet with other known criminals.
Initially, Tebow-mania engulfed the handsome, Jesus-praising, Heisman Trophy Winner. Tim’s No. 15 jersey set the NFL sales record. But then Tim and his mother, Pam, appeared in a 2010 Super Bowl commercial, showing Pam’s happiness that she chose childbirth over abortion. In the TV spot, Tim asks, “Do you still worry about me, Mom?” Pam Tebow responds, “Well yeah, but you are not nearly as tough as I am.” Some pro-abortion feminists felt Mom Tebow was suggesting that they weren’t tough enough to endure childbirth. After that 30-second TV spot, Tebow went from sports-media darling to NFL wannabe whose throwing motion wasn’t the way certain media pundits decreed it should be.
Used only sparingly in 2010, Tebow still rushed and threw for three touchdowns. In his first NFL start, he threw a 33-yard touchdown pass, and set the NFL record for the longest touchdown run for a first-start NFL QB and became the first NFL QB to rush for a touchdown in each of his first three career starts.
Tebow began the 2011 season on the bench. But after five games, he became the starting QB and lifted up his teammates to a series of heart-pounding, fourth-quarter, comeback victories that put the Broncos into the NFL play-offs for the first time in five seasons. In the first round of the NFL playoffs against the powerful Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow threw for 316 yards, defeating the Steelers with an 80-yard touchdown pass. Not bad for a QB who supposedly can’t pass.
Despite the Bronco’s Tebow-inspired successes, Bronco VP John Elway and Coach John Fox could not handle Tebow-mania. They looked for the only QB who could replace Tebow without setting off a fan revolt and found free-agent, Peyton Manning.
Making sure no good deeds went unpunished; they sent Tebow to the NJ Jets where Tim completed 75-percent of his passes, with zero interceptions. Used mostly in desperate fourth-down situations, Tebow still earned an 84.9 QB rating. But Tebow’s willingness to put team before self did not register with the Jet’s calorie-challenged and brain-dead coach.
Meanwhile, Manning’s sterling character kept Bronco behavior from regressing to Peyton Place. Manning took the Broncos to the NFL play-offs. But, unlike Tebow, whose passing won a post-season game for the Broncos, Manning threw two interceptions and fumbled once, losing to Baltimore. Ironically, the Broncos went further in the 2011 NFL post-season with the $9.5 million-dollar Tebow than they did in 2012 with the $96 million-dollar Manning.
Unfortunately, NFL stats don’t record how much Tebow’s upbeat leadership resonated with fellow-believers in the Bronco’s locker room. We do know the Police Blotter no longer led the Bronco’s news coverage. We don’t know what Tebow said in the huddle as he inspired his teammates to make all those winning, come-from-behind, fourth-quarter drives. But we can assume Tebow never had to ask: “Is it okay with your parole officers that you are in this meeting?”
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.