UPDATE: October 23rd 2011: Tim Tebow leads the Broncos to a comeback over Dolphins in 1st game as starter in 2011.
While it wasn't a pretty game at all for the new starter of the Denver Broncos, the lightning rod led the Broncos to 15 straight points in the final six minutes of the game to tie it, and the Broncos won it in overtime with a field goal.
There are still questions about Tebow's long term feasibility, but I think he's going to make it. He's got a lot of work to do, and he's got to get better at recognizing blitzes and things of that nature. However what he's got in spades is heart and will. He will never give up, he will always do his damndest to win on that field and do whatever he can to help his team. And that kind of guy is who you want on your team.
He'll get better. The first 58 minutes of this game was not exactly highlight reel worthy, however in the end he did what winners do. He led his team to a win. Now this was the Dolphins so don't get all excited and think he's arrived, but he did what winning players do.
Now he needs to build on this, and develop with his team and really take this team to more wins.
ORIGINAL POST BELOW:
Today the Denver Broncos made the official decision to bench Kyle Orton and move second year player Tim Tebow to starter. Tebow is clearly the crowd favorite, even if he's not the management's favorite, and has shown in the few moments that he's had, that he can provide a spark to the team's offense. And that's definitely something the Broncos need badly.
They are currently 1-4 under Kyle Orton, although in last week's game, Tebow nearly brought them back at the end of the game after coming in for Orton. A lot of people have been clamoring for Tebow's being made starter, including fans who put their money towards a billboard that advocated this. Throughout the season though, the management, including John Elways, has stated that Kyle Orton was their man, publicly, and privately have mocked Tebow and suggested that he was actually a 4th stringer, behind a rookie QB they just drafted.
This leads me to believe, even though they have elevated him to starter above Brady Quinn and their other QB, that they do not really want him to succeed. They did not draft Tebow, and there appears to be many in the organization that does not believe Tebow can be a successful QB in this league. The guy who drafted Tebow, former coach Josh McDaniels, is gone and many felt Tebow would be on the way out as well. Instead they kept him and while the Broncos kept floundering, the Tebow fans have been clamoring for him to get the starting job, based on the spark he has brought to the team in the short times that he's been in there.
I have said before that I think Tebow deserves better. He deserves to be with a franchise that will help him develop into a capable QB in this league and who can help him. I think a great situation would have been him getting drafted a few rounds down, and then coming in behind a quarterback like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or Drew Brees who can mentor him and show him the ropes, tell him how to do things, how not to do things, and then when they step down two or three years down the road, Tebow would be ready to step in and really take off. During that time, they would have been able to evaluate him properly and seen what works, what doesn't work, and tailor an offense to his abilities. Tailor the defense to protect him and things would have been great.
As a Patriots fan I wanted the Pats to draft Tebow, but the Broncos jumped up and grabbed him in the 1st round. Due to him going in the 1st round, there's a target on Tebow's back in a lot of people's eyes. People have continued to downplay him and ridicule his chances, and now they are invested in that. If Tebow succeeds, they are made to look like a fool. So anytime Tebow makes a mistake, they will highlight it and magnify it.
I firmly believe that Tebow is in a unique situation in which he has an enormous group of people who love him and an enormous group of people who hate him. And both groups love and hate him for the EXACT SAME REASON.
MORE AFTER THE BREAKThose that love him do so because he is perceived (and portrayed in the media) as a wholesome individual. Someone who is very outspoken about his faith and how his faith in God is what drives him. He uses biblical verses on his eyeblack, he cried at a press conference while apologizing for a loss and promised he would make up for that for the fans.
He was one of the all time great college football players, winning the Heisman, as quarterback for the Florida Gators. Both on the field and off he was portrayed as a perfect person, even though we all know no one is perfect.
And his supporters look at all of that and they love it. It's a great story. They are tired of hearing about all the criminal athletes who monopolize the news cycles. They're tired of greedy athletes, they're tired of people beating up their wives, having six kids or more and not supporting them. They're just tired of all the hypocrisy and that kind of thing.
With Tebow you have none of that. You have someone who is representing himself and his faith in a proper light. He seems to be a genuinely good person and someone who is sincere. He doesn't come off as a fake.
Yet for all those reasons which cause people to love him, those exact same reasons are why so many people hate him. They don't like all the media attention that Tebow gets. They don't like his being portrayed as a perfect person, and constantly wait for him to fall so they can point out and laugh at anyone who thought he was perfect.
They don't like the fact that he is very outspoken about his faith. Some of those people feel that way because they do not believe in God, and so they don't really like anyone expressing a faith of any kind. Others simply don't want ANY faith to be involved when it comes to sports. And others just do not like any and all religions, for their own personal reasons, and so anyone that is espousing Christianity gets their blood boiling, and so they do not like that. So they automatically are rooting for him to fail, so they can get some type of satisfaction out of it.
This leads to seeing so many people almost reveling in the hopes that Tebow fails in the NFL. I've seen some people discussing this and they have almost no sense of common sense or decency. They openly seem to be PRAYING (and this is an ironic term, I get, considering the circumstances) for him to fail. You have those mocking him saying that he'll never make it as a QB and that he'll have to switch to half back or tight end. And moving to those positions would somehow validate their constant criticism of him as not having what it takes.
I think Tebow understands that his openly embracing his faith and being very vocal about it is going to turn some people off. However I think probably the vast majority of the criticism against him falls into those categories of reasons. His faith or the media hyping him up because he has a great story to him.
There are those minority who simply don't see his style as being feasible for the NFL, and is more of a college style, however those people are mostly reasonable. It's when they seem to take joy in every incompletion, ever sack, every three and out, that it crosses over from simply making a prediction, into some kind of sick enjoyment of someone's misfortune.
And with those things in mind, which makes Tebow such a controversial figure, I look at this situation with Tebow being made the starting QB, and I wonder whether or not the Denver Broncos front office really wants him to succeed or not. If he goes 6-5 the rest of the way, will they jettison him? Will anything be enough that they will not draft a QB with their 1st available pick next year?
I personally wish Tebow the greatest success and I think he will be a success in this league. He may not have the career of a Tom Brady or Brett Favre or the Bronco's own John Elway. However I do think he will have a good solid career at the NFL level, because he is someone who will give everything he's got. He will never half ass it, he will never be a disruption. He will do what he's asked to do and he will do everything in his power to do it the best he can.
And this is the kinda player you should want on your teams. The Denver Broncos do not deserve a player like this, considering how they have treated Tebow up to this point. We'll see how the season goes, and even though I'm a Patriots fan, I will definitely be pulling for the Broncos and Tebow to succeed this season.