There’s no question the hype surrounding Tim Tebow is overblown. He won’t be a franchise’s savior (pun intended) nor is he the worst quarterback to ever throw a pigskin. As a person, he’s obviously an easy guy to root for. Sportswriters claim to not have a stake in what happens in the sports they cover, rooting for the best story for them to cover. The Tim Tebow circus that’s played out since his draft has only intensified since Peyton Manning announced he’d be signing in Denver and two of the biggest football stories in the past year have formed to create a two headed monster.
Sports reporters and ESPN personalities have their story now that Tebow has been officially traded to the Jets. His relationship with Mark Sanchez and the hot air balloon that is Rex Ryan will be at the top of SportsCenter’s lineup as often as we’re updated on Peyton’s health.
The real best story would’ve been if Tebow had been sent to the bench in favor of Manning rather than all the way to Gotham. Clearly, the Broncos are in a better situation at quarterback now that they have a future hall of famer under center. What’s been ignored in this whole story, though, is that the Broncos would probably be even better if they kept Tebow to back up Peyton.
John Elway is being wrongly congratulated for making these two deals. He deserves recognition for bringing in Manning, that’s awesome for Denver fans and the team probably won’t have to come back from the brink like they did last year. With that signing alone they’re easily the favorite to take the AFC West. But Elway acted with his ego in mind instead of the amount of thinking about how the Broncos can win the most games. It’s no secret that Tebow was Josh McDaniels’ draft pick and at the time was considered to be taken far too high. Heck, at the beginning of the year he wasn’t even the starting quarterback but by the end of the year his unifying presence was largely responsible for the Broncos not only making the playoffs, but beating the big bad Steelers once they were there. Elway was finally able to run Tebow out of town and reinstate himself as the big man on campus by making his own move to bring in Manning.
A few months ago Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King said the other Broncos players loved Tebow. He’s not a typical quarterback but the ire he drew from outside the locker room made the team rally around him. Even if the defense was primarily responsible for making the playoffs, they weren’t playing like that before Tebow was getting the starts. Imagine the headaches the Broncos would’ve been able to give opposing defensive coordinators with Manning in the pocket and Tebow ready to run a wildcat offense. An 80/20 split is not only reasonable for an older quarterback and a young one who could be a tight end, it’s obvious. The Broncos might’ve not only had the most exciting offense in the NFL, but perhaps the most dominant. Unfortunately it’s just another example of a coach and management playing it safe.
Peyton Manning is not the quarterback he once was. Period. After throwing nine interceptions in 2006 he threw 12 in ’08 and then 16 in 2010. Oh yeah, and he’s had multiple major surgeries on his neck but for some reason those have barely been mentioned. Would Tebow not have been the perfect insurance policy if Manning’s health faltered? It’s ludicrous to suggest his play won’t his play won’t taper off over the next few years, although you’d never think that if you’ve been following this story.
Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com made a great case on Monday for keeping Manning and only Manning as a Bronco, most notably that it would be difficult to design an offense for Manning and then throw Tebow into the fire overnight. That’s fine, but will anyone really be able to step into that role? Kerry Collins and two other quarterbacks faltered in Manning’s place as the quarterback of the 2011 Colts. The Broncos were all but done when they threw Tebow into the mix and he was able to succeed in an offense originally designed for Kyle Orton. John Fox said he had to reengineer the team’s offense for Tebow to pull off those last minute victories. Isn’t that his job? So Fox was being passive aggressive with his QB because he was popular and winning games?
Too much of the national media has acted as little more than fluff in the biggest story in the biggest American sport this year. ESPN’s Colin Cowherd had an opinion typical of what his contemporaries were saying. Cowherd’s explanation for Denver getting rid of Tebow was this, “John Elway. Stanford educated, dad was a coach, 30 years in the league knows what he’s doing…This is the right move to make. I know you’re going to argue but John Elway is not a dope.” That explanation literally means nothing. Elway may not be a dope but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a jock did something arrogant.
It’s “…the right move to make” and “…John Elway is not a dope.” There isn’t any concrete reasoning or insight in what Cowherd said. He also said, “Under Eli Manning, Big Ben, Brady, Brees, Philip Rivers he could be a very good situational player.”
The difference between Peyton Manning and the other elite quarterbacks is…what exactly? Tebow could do exactly the same thing for a team he already had chemistry with if Elway and John Fox weren’t so eager to flex their ego muscles.