In a strange way, Tim Tebow‘s heroics led to his demise. If he doesn’t direct the Denver Broncos to even one of their comebacks, the Broncos don’t make the playoffs and Peyton Manning probably doesn’t sign with a team fresh off a losing season.
Of course there were others who helped in this narrative. A missed tackle by Von Miller or a wide-left field goal by Matt Prater take us to the same disappointing page in the choose your own adventure story that was the Broncos’ 2011 season. But linebackers and placekickers aren’t the recipients of helicopters over Dove Valley and entire theme-hours of SportsCenter – quarterbacks are.
Tebow has just been traded to the New York Jets. As if the media firestorm wasn’t ferocious enough in Denver. What’s the over/under on games it takes before Mark Sanchez is surrounded by 70,000 chants of “TE-BOW! TE-BOW!”? Kyle Orton got less than a half of football this season without the clamoring. Are Sanchez and Orton that far apart talent wise?
That’s for Rex Ryan to figure out. Denver Broncos fans already get it.
When John Elway stepped back into the organization’s fold, he quickly tackled an issue that was very troubling to the team and to anyone who has grown up a fan of the Denver Broncos. By the end of the 2010 season there were tens of thousands of empty seats. For a home game. For the Denver Broncos. There was an unprecedented loss of interest an organization that had been dragged through the mud by a hurricane of a coach that nearly left the team in shambles. This season looked like a carbon copy. No life. No energy. No Mile High anything.
We know the history. John Fox puts Tebow in at the half of a game against the Chargers. He nearly wins the game. Named the starter, he brought the Broncos back from a 15-0 deficit to force overtime and eventually a Broncos’ win.
If you went to the fair with this guy and you played that game where you have to throw the ball through the hole….. he may never get it through the hole, but he’s still gonna be walking away with all the stuffed animals! -Deon Sanders
Four weeks later it was Tebow’s 20-yard run against the Jets for the go-ahead score.
There was a whole lot of shakin’ going on at the stadium — literally…About 70,000 people were thinking: ‘In Tebow we trust.’ They stomped their feet and made the stadium shimmy. -Woody Paige, The Denver Post
Chase that run with comeback wins versus San Diego, Minnesota, and Chicago in the subsequent weeks, and the Denver Broncos were back to relevance and back to having a visibly vocal fan base…which is as oxymoronic as what Tebow was doing in the first place.
For all the questions of mechanics and all of the naysayers’ rhetoric about what could not be done, it was Tebow who set the stage for Elway’s goal of bringing the greatest fans in the league back to life. With one 80-yard slant over the middle, Tebow administered atropine into the hearts of Broncos fans. The connection with the fans as restored exactly like Elway had envisioned; though it was maybe not how he planned it.
In all these years of standing on football fields, I’ve never seen or heard or felt anything quite like it. -Dave Krieger, The Denver Post
Three cheers for Tim Tebow and his short time as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos! We’ve never seen or heard or felt anything like it.