Under normal circumstances, who outside of Colorado or Minnesota would want to watch Sunday’s Broncos vs. Vikings game? Who would want to see a two-win team without its star running back and a rookie QB take on a middle-of-the-road team that has let go of Jay Cutler, Tony Scheffler, Peyton Hillis, Brandon Marshall and Brandon Llyod in the last few years?
According to my twitter feed, EVERYONE was watching the Broncos/Vikings game on Sunday, myself included.
Just like he has over the last several weeks, the Broncos controversial quarterback entertained, thus watching the Tim Tebow Show today made NFL Sunday Ticket worth the money.
To briefly recap, Tebow and the Broncos dug themselves another first half hole yet managed to claw their way out of it in the second half resulting in a 35-32 victory over the Vikings via a game-winning field goal.
Here are a few essential facts when examining the Tim Tebow Experiment:
-The Broncos are 6-1 this season with Tebow as their starting QB. Denver was 1-4 with Kyle Orton starting under center.
-Tebow led fourth quarter comebacks in five of his ten career starts.
-The Broncos have won five straight games and are now tied with the Oakland Raiders atop the AFC West with a 7-5 record, also tying Denver with the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC wild-card. The Broncos own the tiebreakers against both teams.
As Tebow himself might say, this is a blessing. People love Tebow because of his winning ways as a Florida Gator while others hate him because they say he can’t throw. Many adore him because he wears his religion on his sleeve (and jersey and everywhere else) while others resent him for the exact same reason.
This is the best kind of “controversy” any professional sports league could ask for. It’s not about players being arrested for DUI or assault, or being suspended, or coaches driving naked through the Wendy’s drive-thru. It’s not about the referees blowing calls, or the lack of instant replay wrongly deciding a game.
It’s about a high profile college player who is now a “non-traditional” quarterback in the NFL. It’s about a player who millions of fans can flock to while simultaneously compelling the non-believers to watch him, in hopes seeing their criticisms justified. Love him or hate him, football fans can’t take their eyes off Tim Tebow.
“I’m enjoying this guy play football, win games, and i’m watching him improve,” said former head coach and current analyst Steve Mariucci on the NFL Network’s program NFL GameDay Highlights. “The things we criticized him for early, that he cant throw foam the pocket, he’s doing that more often now in games, from the pocket. Mike McCoy is doing a great job as his offensive coordinator calling plays and bringing him along as a professional quarterback. I’m having a ball watching him.”
That comment is coming from guy who is admittedly in love with Brett Favre, the ultimate quarterback’s quarterback, a future hall of famer. The truth is that Mooch is right. Check out this table I saw on ESPN.com which tracks Tebow’s progress through the air during Denver’s five-game winning streak:
Of course, every Broncos victory was a total team effort with the defense bailing Tebow and the offense out plenty of times. But the fact that Tebow has only one interception in seven starts this season is remarkable, especially considering the hoopla over his passing ability, or lack thereof.
“The dude lit us up. I guess we didn’t let him run, so that’s a plus,” said Vikings defensive end Jared Allen after the game. “I would have bet my paycheck he would not have beat us passing the ball. Hats off to him. … Kudos, I guess.” Good thing players betting on games is illegal. :)
The telecast showed Allen and Tebow chatting on the field in the final minute of the game as an injured player was being tended to. The exchange seemed friendly and lighthearted. I wonder if Allen gave Tebow props right then and there. After completing 10 of 15 passes for 202 yards and a career-high passer rating of 149.3, it is time to give credit where credit is due.
Deion Sanders did just that on NFL GameDay Highlights. “We need to stop measuring him in normal terms, because he’s a winner. Lets just measure him in that aspect… John Elway has a real problem on his hands,” Sanders said.
Baby steps Elway, baby steps. Based on his improvements each week, it would be unfair to write off Tebow as the future of your franchise just yet. Yes, John Fox has incorporated a college-like spread offense with options up the wazoo, but Tebow’s arm and accuracy are still managing to get better within that system. Who knew?
Could I do without Tebow’s obligatory Jesus shout out after every win? Yes. Would more than ten complete passes make a game more enjoyable to watch in it’s entirety? Certainly. But the uncertainty surrounding an underdog and all around genuine guy makes Tim Tebow the most intriguing storyline of the year and Broncos games must-watch for casual and die-hard fans alike.
For a good game recap from the Denver Post, click here: http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_19469264